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Frank Apollo on creating a playlist for Soweto Boys at Moscow Fashion Week Show



Frank Apollo created music for a Pick n Pay ad, where he collaborated with veteran rapper, Khuli Chana.

South African music producer Frank Apollo impressed some Russians at the Moscow Fashion Week, as he created a playlist for Mzansi brand Soweto Boys, who showcased their apparel at the fashion show.

“I have Russians in my DMs [direct messages] showing me love. Obviously, it was a fashion show, but the appreciation of the music is something I appreciate,” Frank Apollo told The Citizen.

The Moscow Fashion Week, which was launched in 2023, took place from 1-8 March where growing South African brand, Soweto Boys, showcased its collection on the fifth day. The brand is found and owned by Bob The Stylist, who has a working relationship with Frank Apollo.

“Bob and I have a couple of songs together, we’re working together. But we’ve been having a chat about expanding our musical reach and he approached me about creating a playlist for the fashion show,” averred Frank Apollo, whose real name is Phumlane Makuoa.

31 year-old Frank Apollo is a director of an events company TruMusic Events and founder of Good Vibes Radio as well, an online music podcast.

He is also the founder of Beats and Love, a compilation featuring producers from around the globe in an effort to raise awareness on the South African beat-making culture; the compilation is released on Stay True Sounds with more than 100 000 streams.

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Making the playlist

Soweto Boys’ showcase was just 15 minutes and in that time, Frank Apollo tried to give those at an ear’s shot a glimpse into South Africa through selected songs.

“I didn’t want to make it monotonous,” said the producer who dabbles as a DJ and event promoter. For the intro he reworked Busi Mhlongo’s We Baba Omcane, mixing it with audio of a Bob The Stylist interview.

He included the audio of Bob speaking because the designer is shining the light on the country by displaying it on a world stage.

“I then took Needless by Moo Latte and gave it my own flavour. I was showing the world how beautiful we are as a country.

The broken-down beats, together with the vocals on Needless was somehow in sync with the models strutting their stuff on the runway.

Frank Apollo is known as an R&B, Neo-Soul and Lo-Fi Hip Hop guy but he did something his fans wouldn’t expect and played an Amapiano song he produced.

“I was paying homage to the beauty of South Africa. I thought ‘let me curate it in a way that gives a whole perspective of South Africa’,” said Frank Apollo.

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Bittersweet 12 months

The 31-year-old said his last 12 months have been topsy-turvy in how he lost his sister but also saw some breakthroughs in his career and releasing one of the year’s best works on 2023 in Mzansi.

“That was a great loss, but I can see she [sister] is there hustling for me asking God to bless me,” reflected the producer.

According to Frank Apollo, the eight-track 428 Thotong Street, which was released in June last year, perfectly captures who he is and things he’s gone through.

While listening to Just Mo’s show on YFM, Khuli Chana heard Frank Apollo’s music and was instantly impressed.

“Homie heard it and hit me up on Instagrm, we had an Instagram call…this was big for me because I’m a huge fan of this guy,” averred Frank Apollo.

“Once that happened, I started making beats with him in mind.”

Khuli Chana then asked Frank Apollo to produce a song he was making for retailer, Pick n Pay ad.

“He liked it [the beat] and started freestyling to it…he then wrote the lyrics for the ad. He sent it to Pick n Pay and they approved it.”

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