Meeting Pete Williams & Khuli Mpunzi

For a self-directed project as part of my degree, I decided to produce a new music magazine that featured a CD-ROM interview and accompanying video featuring my friend and great up-and-coming music producer, Khuli Mpunzi. During the day he introduced me to Pete Williams (formerly a member of Dexys Midnight Runners) and as such I got to spend a day with two people enthusiastic about music.

A Day Spent with Khuli Mpunzi

Producing A grey and miserable morning in Walsall, But this is the Black County and the people make it sunnier - Khuli Mpunzi being no exception, greeting me with a wide smile his cheery personality - eager to tell me about what he’s been up to and more importantly, where he’s going.

Our first stop though is his favourite ‘greasy spoon’ cafĂ©, situated in the back streets of the town where he purchases a ‘Gut buster’ - a good way to start another busy day. “I’m aching all over” he complains having attended a break-dancing class the night before. I managed to get this close to the ground doing the splits - his hand only four inches above the ground and with a big smile on his face. ‘I wanted to learn a bit about urban street dancing, this was a good way to start’ before explaining the many positions he had to get his body into.

Meeting Pete

Pete and Khuli We then set of to nearby Dudley, to meet Pete Williams, former drummer with Dexy’s Midnight Runners. On the way, Khuli runs though a typical week. A part-time job at his local McDonald’s restaurant has seen him move from working nights which suited his lifestyle well, to mornings - more depressing due to the lack of activity rather than the early rises. Tuesday saw him attend an interview for a music course at local college, which he was clearly excited about. It seems that the more he can learn about the music business, the better, and it was by doing the New Deal for musicians that he met Pete Williams two years previously.

It became obvious what a small world the music business can be, with Pete having recently spoken to one of Khuli’s session singers. As soon as we entered the studio, the excitement began, as Pete showed off his new pride and joy, his Yamaha mixing desk, which in true technological fashion refused to do what was asked of it. But it did have a lot of nice flashing lights! Keen to update Pete with what he had been recording, we listened to Khuli’s first compilation album, which he hopes to release yearly through a website as a way to show his production skills. This album showcased many different types of production, including a track with a strong 70’s vibe to one featuring a mastering of rain and thunder as an underlying beat for use within a film. It also carried a number of artists, from two brothers in Birmingham to an old school friend now living in the Philippines.

It would seem Khuli is already working on an international stage, with an opportunity to work in South Africa in the coming months. Upon hearing just a small sample of Khuli’s work, Pete was already talking about applying to the National Film and Television School. “You’ve got to do something with what your doing, you really have”, not meant as a criticism but just a strong desire to see a great producer with fantastic talent do well, and get recognised. Not that he isn’t trying, with his compilation albums and plans for a short film perhaps for airing on the BBC or Channel 4. “It’s like fishing, you’ve got keep throwing your line in to get something”.

Although his mainstay is producing, Khuli has had experience of singing and performing:

There’s no better buzz than when you perform. If you ask the crowd to jump to the left, they’ll jump to the left - even if there’s a cliff there!

Khuli Mpunzi

But as Pete reminds us, that’s music is all about: communication.

Khuli Khuli’s mantra isn’t selfish either, wanting to promote as many people as possible on the way up. Granted it helps promote himself as a producer, but you do get the feeling that’s just a fantastic bonus, and he has as much enthusiasm for the artists he works with, as his fellow professionals have for him. In the near future he hopes his compilation CD’s and accompanying shows will become a showcase for new talent.

I want to build it up and build it up so that people not so much know me, but know what I do, and about the people I work with

Khuli Mpunzi


2 responses so far. Go on, add yours!

 Gravatar#1 On March 7, 2006 7:44 AM, debbie stevens said...

I'm trying to contact Pete Williams, former base guitarist in Dexy's Midnight Runners. Pete's parents and mine were great friends. If you are the same Pete Williams/know how to contact him, please email back.
Deborah (Brant) Stevens

 Gravatar#2 On March 14, 2006 6:53 AM, Paul said...

Hi Deborah,

I have copied you in on an e-mail to my friend Khuli Mpunzi, who introduced me to Pete. As he knows him better than I do, hopefully he will be able to help you get in touch with Pete.


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This entry was written on 31 Jan 2002, 11:18 AM and is filled under , .