Rapper recalls hard Hangberg childhood

Hangberg rapper Isa Michaels, whose stage name is Spike P is releasing a song with an accompanying music video. Image: supplied.

Rapper Isa Michaels tells of his struggles growing up in orphanages in Hangberg in his debut single Story of My Life.

Michaels, 31, who uses the stage name Spike P, worked on the track and accompanying music video with Hout Bay music producer Carsten Lehn.

The music video was due to hit YouTube by Friday.

Michaels lives in Westridge, Mitchell’s Plain, with his wife, Sakina, and daughters, Sofaa and Hanaa, having spent his formative years living on the streets and in orphanages in Hangberg.

A trustee at the Harvest Youth Project, which creates opportunities in the arts for Hout Bay youth, he says his music career started to take off after meeting Lehn about two years ago.

“I was performing at Hout Bay Harbour Market so when he had a talent search I entered. He wanted someone to do music videos, which I was already doing. My career took off gradually over the past two years working together and creating magic. He is well known worldwide and also multi-talented.”

Lehn, who is originally from Denmark, founded Dreambox Studios, in 2006 to help aspiring artists.

“I’m semi-retired and now only want to support young talent and help them. It’s a jungle for the young and talented people and near impossible to make a living from making music. So, since I’m passionate about the profession, I want to help and give them what I did not have when I was young,” he says.

He says Michaels started working for him creating music videos.

“He came into the studio one day and says, ‘Hey, listen, I got this new thing I made: a story about myself as a rap. He sat down at the piano and then started some chords and did this song in one go. The whole thing with so much energy and so much passion, it was all in his head. I was totally mesmerised. I had tears in my eyes afterwards when he told me it’s his life story.”

They worked together for the next six months, using Mbali Makhoba as backing vocals.

Makhoba uses the stage name SA Fire and launched her latest single, Get Funky, through Dreambox Studios in April (“Mbali making a name for herself in music business“, Sentinel, April 14).

The video was filmed by Alfonzo Franke, who won an award for best cinematography in Die Blokke, at the kykNET Silwerskerm Film Festival awards.

Michaels says he is using music to tell the tale of his roots and his culture.

“We can achieve our dreams if we put our minds to it. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Hout Bay music producer Carsten Lehn worked with Isa Michaels on his debut single. Picture: supplied.