Otis ‘Da Flow’ Fraser still flowing!
Arguably one of the greatest television and radio personalities to ever emerge from Zimbabwe, Otis Fraser, is an irreplaceable entertainer. Da Flow, as he is affectionately known, has been rocking London and Johannesburg ever since he left Zimbabwe in the late 90s and is now working for Gabz FM in Gaborone.
In an interview with Sunday Leisure, Fraser revealed that he has been working for Gabz FM for three months now and was also working on a personal production. Once the most sought-after DJ on the party scene in Bulawayo nightclubs, Fraser has been staging gigs in London and Leeds over the years.
A part-time producer, he shot to fame as a radio and club DJ in the early 90s, having been a hit on then Radio 3 (Power FM) and ZTV’s Teen Scene. He left Zimbabwe for South Africa where he produced Tsodiyo and Final Battle for the late Lebo Mathosa of Boom Shaka and Bongo Maffin, respectively.
He then moved to Botswana where he continued with television broadcasting and radio work. He has also contributed to the pioneering projects of other producers, including Skizo. The man, who made it big at a time when top DJs like Peter Johns, Felix The Cat and Kelvin KaNcube were also in their prime, believes disk jockeys back then were given enough room for creativity.
“Unfortunatly I don’t have access to Zimbabwean stations but I do believe that it is going to be difficult to have the calibre of DJs we had back in the day. We were given a platform for creativity and that is essential in any field. Take football as an example, if one is given space to be creative they achieve results,’’ he said, adding that he would still love to return to the country.
“Well, I’d love to return to Zimbabwe, but not only as a DJ on radio.” With technology changing daily, Fraser believes DJs have lost the passion for exclusivity.
“Back in the days we would boast of being connected. Being the first to play a release from the UK or the States was something that made one a top DJ. Nowadays, a radio presenter can download the latest single from the internet. Every young kid is now a DJ,’’ Fraser said.
Coming from a musical family — his father, a former musician and sister, a finalist on A Academy — it’s no wonder Fraser has a passion for music. “I felt proud when my sister made it as a finalist on A Academy. She comes from a different professional background but for her to do so well in music made me proud,’’ he said.
But are the Frasers going to record an album together?
“That’s one of the things we’ve always been told. I’d love to do that. If there is anyone that I’d love to work with, it’s my sister.”
Clubers will remember the days when the likes of Otis, Bongo Muffin’s Jah Seed and Peter Johns rocked clubs like Visions and the now defunct Silver Fox. But where do local clubs stand now?
“Infrastructure plays a big role in any industry. Our clubs are technologically behind. I think South Africa takes the prize for the best clubs in the region,’’ Fraser said.
With most DJs now releasing their own albums, Fraser believes this is a fascinating phenomenon for the showbiz industry.
“DJs have always been in-between. They are now claiming their share of the pie. It’s just a new way they have found to make money, but nothing beats watching a live band perform,’’ he said.
Fraser was last Friday billed to rock Club Windermere at the Fashion and Style Byo After Party.