DJ Ashley “Shimza” Raphala paid it forward by sharing his personal hard-won insights and valuable advice with up-and-coming music artists and influencers.
“I’ve started a movement in my music career that will probably last another 100 years,” said Shimza.
Creating a unique and sustainable brand that inspires and excites people in the music industry can be a tough challenge, he explained, but you can achieve it if you learn from the wisdom and mistakes of the people who have made it to the top before you.
Born and bred in Thembisa, Shimza started out at the age of 14 by going to gigs and DJ competitions carrying only vinyls in plastic bags to play for R50. On the path from these humble beginnings to his current status as the owner of a successful empire, Shimza learnt the importance of maintaining your originality and relevance, and the power of having a survival strategy and proper financial plan in place.
Old Mutual launched AMPD Studios in May specifically to empower aspiring artists and help steer them through the tough obstacle course that the music industry can be. Each Masterclass offers life lessons from some of South Africa’s most famous artists to live audiences and those live streaming. Apart from the monthly AMPD Masterclasses, AMPD Studios also host live conversations between current stars and legacy artists about the art of becoming successful and overcoming challenges. These AMPD ICON Hero Conversations happen once a month and are broadcast live on Metro FM and on Old Mutual’s Facebook page as well as the big public screen in the Newtown Junction.
Thobile Tshabalala, Head of Brand at Old Mutual, says: “AMPD Studios is much more than just a music studio and stage. It’s also a platform for amplifying creativity and talent and provides networking opportunities and a professional working space (with free Wi-Fi) for meetings, events, exhibitions, launches and other constructive dialogues.

“The venue is a space for people to grow and learn and be inspired by the potential out there”, she says. “At the same time, it offers access to practical advice and mentorship on achieving lasting financial success and greatness.”
The latest event that just took place at Old Mutual AMPD Studios on Tuesday, 30 July 2019 was an inspirational and thought provoking ICON Hero Conversation which featured South African Afro-jazz pioneer Vusi Mahlasela and J’Something. It was broadcast live on Metro FM’s Centre Stage. Among the luminaries who have already lit up the AMPD Studios stage are in house mentor and coach Khuli Chana, Letta Mbuli, Thandiswa Mazwai, Hotstix Mabuse and Slikour.
For info on forthcoming events, go to Old Mutual’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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