ATI, Born Atasaone Molemogi, 23 years ago in Serowe has never shied away from controversy.
From spotting his famous trademark symbol, a black tear drop associated with satanism to suddenly joining the BDP and tallking unabashedly about his appalling academic performance at the university of Botswana, ATI has done it all. attracting negative publicity in the process.
In the interview he talks candidly to The Voice about his rising music career, his involvement with the illuminati and his recent brush with the law.
Q. Can you briefly tell us about ATI we don’t know off stage?
ATI is Atasaone Bryne Molemogi. I am guy from humble beginnings from Serowe in a small ward called Radihemelo ward .
I later moved to Molepolole and Lobatse and ended up in Gaborone. ATI is just a musical person kept sane by music the same way some people are kept sane by coffee.
Q. Why did you move around so much?
My mother had me when she was still young so I grew up with my grandmother but eventually in 2000 I got to live with my mother in Lobatse and we eventually moved to Gaborone where I fell in love with music.
Q. You took part in my African Dream competition. How was that experience?
The first time I entered my African dream was in 2005 and I have never really won a competition.
I dismally lost What kept me going is the fact that I am built for challenges and challenges is what I thrive on on.
The mere fact that I was told I don’t’ cut it three times. I entered My Star talent search as well because in a country where there are no formal structures for a successful music to run that was my only hope.
But fortunately Botswana pays students to learn ( allowance) I recorded my first album called skeleton with that money and people loved it and I started getting bookings.
Q. How did you market that album?
My strategy started for the album that cam out last year started three years back in 2010.
I marketed it as mixed tape, which was a very unconventional way of doing it.
I did it through my charisma and rich persona and through social media, face book especially. I sold 8000 copies off my hands.
Q. How far did you go with school?
I am currently studying towards a Public Administration degree with the University of Botswana.
Last year I failed and discontinued but then I wasn’t too worried about that because I know that success is not a destination its a journey, just like health it fluctuates and sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down.
Q. What caused you o fail?
I concentrated more on my invention, my album. Do you think Einstein would have passed his university while he concentrated on his invention at the same time. I am an inventor. I want to be paying people I want to go to sleep knowing that there are people who depend on them for a living. Thats what keeps me going!
Q. What was your impression of the Botswana Musicians Union 2012 Awards?
The awards were not what they should have been given the budget they had. I walked out a disappointed man but I had anticipated the disappointment.
I won best Motswako artist but I didn’t deserve it because there were better deserving candidate that had been nominated in that category.
Had I won song of the year award I would have humbled me but then I realise that bureaucracy works everywhere not just in the public service.
Q. Are you a Satanist, or a part of the Illuminati?
I think I am blessed because some of these things just erupt from nowhere. I didn’t know how to capitalize in positivity because people get tired of hearing about other people’s successes, so negativity is what I hove been able to thrive on.
I can’t really tell that I am part of the illuminati or I am not because I am in business.
Q Your video on You tube has so called illuminati signs, like triangle with an eye, Are you saying that’s just a publicity stunt?
I don’t want to beat about the bush. What I can tell you is that I am a product of what I am being accused of in the sense that I capitalise off it.
By the way you don’t say relevant forever especially when you are a shock artist.
It comes a point and time when you have no choice but to keep getting worse.
Q Does that mean you are willing to sell your soul for money?
That’s a difficult question because I am only a product of my environment and I can not be pointed fingers at for merely following instincts, especially when we grew up around music videos that explicit.
Q What is illuminati anyway?
I don’t know. All I know is that it is something that is making me popular. It is all principles like religion, the mind set behind it is power money and control, redistribution of wealth. Its the opposite of Christianity which emphasises on giving more.
Q Do you go to church?
No, I don’t. I used to but I stopped when I realised my mother was giving away 10 % of her salary to the church and we went to bed with no food.
The pastor will come to visit us smelling of a nice cologne while we went hungry. It didn’t make sense so I stopped going.
Q Recently you had a brush with the law and nearly landed in jail, what was that all about.
We had a lot of fun and then the police felt jealous of us and locked us up.
Eventually we went to court for drunken driving and I was charged P3 500.
I nearly landed in jail again when I failed to pay all the money on time but I pleaded with the magistrate dropped a couple of tear drops and the magistrate extended his leniency and I escaped prison.
Q. Would you advocate for the legalisation of Marijuana.
No I don’t think it should because it depresses me and makes me worthless and it makes other people go crazy.
It’s okay for it to stay illegal because otherwise people would smoke it like cigarettes when we know it works for other and no
Q. You joined the Botswana Democratic Party recently as an active politician, why?
I am interested in influencing people. If I had decided to be an MP a lot of people would have questioned my guts but at the same time it would inspire some kids to reach for their dreams.
Q. But why the BDP?
I believe power in itself plays a role just like money. When you have money whether you like it or not you wont suffer.
There are rare cases of misers who cant spend money when they have it. If the BNF would take over there would be a problem because they are hungry.
Even this rubbish setup of appreciating and almost worshiping an individual instead of an institution which characterises the BDP is not right.
We need to thank the government, not individuals. Even this government jargon “mananeo” makes my blood boil because it doesn’t apply to the entertainment industry.
Q. Did you join the BDP for business and personal gain?
There’s a line between business and politics. I wont say much but sometimes you have to dance with the Romans.
Q. What dos that mean?
I will leave that mysterious like that.
Do you feel you are celebrated and if so how do you reconcile being a celebrity and having no money?
I feel uncomfortable staying on campus. In Botswana we don’t appreciate the emotional burden of living like a celebrity and mixing with the ordinary people.
For example sometimes you offend people unintentionally when you fail to acknowledge them or greet them in public places.
If I had a choice I would do my degree long distance because I really don’t feel uncomfortable in this scenario but I must add that many Batswana do appreciate me and treat me like a celebrity although I know that some of them are like toothless dogs, they are like the Ombudsman.
They are like scare crows. Underneath they are good people but their defense mechanism is gossip and ill talk about others who are trying to make it in life.
Q How do you spend your Fridays?
I chill with friends, socialising and drinking a beer or two or 20
Full Names: ATI born Atasaone Bryne Molemogi.
Currently playing in his car: Zonke, Shanti Lo and Drama Boi
Dream car: Beetle
Car driving: Golf 3
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