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Wirral music producer mixes with stars at MOBOs
AN aspiring hip hop producer from Wirral has rubbed shoulders with some of the industry's brightest stars including Rebecca Ferguson and Misha B.
Andy Sibanda works for Burger King in Birkenhead's Grange and Pyramids Shopping Centre, but his band RealBallaz, is making big waves locally.
And the three band members met with some of music's top stars at the Mobo - Music Of Black Origin - awards after show party in Liverpool. On the guest list were a host of big names including Rita Ora and Emeli Sandé.
Andy, 25, said: "I have always wanted to be involved in music and probably more as a producer than an artist.
"I like the thought of getting music and developing it as well as guiding the artists. Getting music out to a wider audience is the challenge.
"RealBallaz was set up by two mates, LJ and Nigel, and myself. The name is a basketball term meaning 'work hard, play hard'.
"We are currently working on new songs and are nearly ready to cut a master tape.
"I enjoy developing new ideas but as committed Christians we love to bring our love of Jesus into what we do.
"I'm also looking after my brother and younger sister, Aaron and Thandi, who perform under the name Swovo Gang."
He added: "I'm kind of managing them, helping them get their ideas down and keeping things straight.
"Thandi has a superb voice and almost made the live Britain’s Got Talent shows when she was just 14. She's still only 15 but has a big future ahead of her I think."
Derek Millar, commercial Director for The Grange and Pyramids Shopping Centre, said: "We have a wealth of talent in and amongst the people who work at the centre and Andy is a very good example of this.
"I have seen them perform at the centre itself before and can vouch for the fact they are very accomplished performers so I wish him and his band every success with their music ambitions."
Andy says he enjoys living in the Merseyside area having arrived in the UK from Zimbabwe 10 years ago aged 15.
He said: "We needed to forge a better life with better opportunities. I completed a music engineering diploma at Carlett Park College. However, I really enjoy working at Burger King too.
"It's great to meet so many people and it really is a great place to work. I have to earn a living and it means I can work on new songs and ideas when I’m not on duty."
But it was getting an invite to the after show party following the Mobo (Music of Black Origin) Awards at Liverpool’s Echo Arena that really galvanized Andy’s desire to forge a music industry career.
He said: "I have always loved music and grew up listening to my dad’s jazz records.
"But to mix with stars such as Rebecca Ferguson and hip hop artist Angel was a brilliant experience.
"We were invited as VIP guests to the plush party at Liverpool’s Newz Bar and it’s an experience I will never forget. It made me realise I wanted to work in the music industry and become a big success.
"We really want to develop RealBallaz and get our songs and ideas out there.
"But I don’t see myself so much as an artist but more as a producer and that where I will be looking to make my biggest impact. Watch this space man!"