DJ Sabby is a name synonymous with trailblazing and premier radio. He studied Radio Production before being swept up by popular Cape Town radio station KFM and later held down a graveyard slot on 94.7 Highveld Stereo (now called 947).
Following early success, DJ Sabby took further training as in intern within Y-Academy as an intern. After graduating, the broadcaster embarked on a legendary decade-long journey with YFM that saw him work up from the graveyard slot to drive-time with his groundbreaking and aptly-titled show: The Best Drive. To understand the depth of his skill and drive, one can simply look at the legacy built with The Best Drive.
The show made history as the longest-running drive show ever within YFM as well as on all urban radio with South Africa. The Best Drive received critical acclaim; racking up multiple “Best Drive Time Show”radio nominations within its 5-year run.
Despite the pandemic, The Best Drive lived up to its name in 2020 with a seminal cycle that pushed its global footprint, capping the show’s exhilarating run on the highest of highs. The show managed to consistently bring some of the most dominant names on global entertainment to South African radio – acts like David Kaluuya, Chloe x Halle, T.I, Kehlani, Ty Dolla Sign, Elderbrook & SnohAalegra, to name just a few.
DJ Sabby’s international footprint in radio moves past The Best Drive. In late 2019, he joined the BBC’s radio show called #ThisIsAfrica, hosted by DJ Edu, as a correspondent profiling propelling African acts within the music space. The show is broadcasted across the world in over 50 countries. 2019 also saw him making history by being the first DJ on YFM to broadcast LIVE from the BBC’s Wogan House in London. DJ Sabby eats, sleeps and breathes radio and the results show.
Q & A with DJ Sabby
Tell us a little bit about your career and how you started?
What a question… where do I start? I guess from the beginning. It all started at the age of 14 at the community youth centre eMandeni which is my hometown. I started doing radio there, then moved up to Johannesburg to study radio production.
In 2009 I got my radio break at 945 KFM, then joined Highveld Stereo which is now known as 947. Moved to Yfm, had a stint on BBC Sounds and am now doing some stuff on BBC 1Xtra and I host the biggest show on Metro FM which is the Metro FM Top30.
I also do TV and other stuff on the side, but in a nutshell – I am a radio guy.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am still pushing my album #NextUp Volume 1 which dropped last year. Shooting another video for it soon. I have some TV work coming up and I’m bringing back some of my podcast content on my YouTube channel which I had neglected for some time.
I also have some new music to release this year and my #GetPaid winter merchandise drops. Can’t reveal it all, but so much work is happening and hopefully one can unleash it all before the end of the year.
What is your favourite thing about what you do?
I get to be myself every day, be on my toes, be creative 24/7 and wake up when I want. There is so much freedom in what I do and that keeps me fresh always.
What is your best career highlight so far?
I have to say joining Metro FM and having the biggest show on the station 12 months into my first year is a career highlight.
If you could give some advice to someone starting their career journey, what would it be?
Be patient, it won’t happen overnight.
How do you think we can grow the creative industry and bring African content to the world?
Collaboration is everything. The more we collaborate the more we expose our work to different markets and that’s the magic.
Tell us a little bit about why you love Cape Town – The host city for FAME Week Africa.
Cape Town is just a different city… the people, the music landscape, the scenic views, the lifestyle offering is just so elite. So much to do and it always feels like you don’t have even time because every experience requires you to be present and to take your time. Johannesburg is so fast and Cape Town requires you to take it slow and honestly be in the moment and that’s what I always look forward to when I am in the mother city – that moment of unplugging from a lot and just being on cruise control.
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