*ATI TO CALL IT QUITS
It appears one of the country’s most talented, talked about and admired artists is poised to take his musical talents in a different direction.
In an exclusive, emotional interview with Voice Entertainment, ATI revealed he will drop his eagerly-anticipated album this year.
He then intends to take a hiatus from releasing music.
Instead the rapper plans to focus on other things, such as using his abilities to help push upcoming artists.
“I love music. I love the art of music but I am at a point where I need to give back. I am done being the man of the music. Being at the forefront is not entirely what I like. I can express myself through other people, even if I am not at the forefront!”
Tracking down the superstar is not easy. After a six-hour wait – the interview finally went ahead at 8 pm this Saturday at his manager’s home – the ‘Ceaser 2 Ceaser’ singer is in a talkative mood.
Whilst stressing he has never taken his music career ‘for granted’, ATI talks passionately about how he had lost himself and hit rock bottom.
“I got to a point where I had to find balance within myself. To understand that I need to go back to the foundation of what I do, by being conscious of what and how I do things with my craft,” he explains.
Asked to elaborate, the-eight time Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) Award Winner responds, “I have never been content with what I had, what I achieved, despite the money I made. I had to pull backwards to seek that balance. If I was going to continue being reckless with my life I was going to be destructive. I had to be cautious of the people that look up to me.”
Dwelling on his unhappiness, ATI, his handsome face for once not adorned with its trademark black teardrop, adds, “It was not even about the financial part. I was not content. I was not happy. I could not enjoy the financial gain I was getting. I was not at peace. It drove me off from being a complete person with a soul. I couldn’t be happy. I had to step back despite the fact that I knew the chaos it would cause.”
He also struggled with fame and admits it has taken a heavy toll on his life.
“I am not okay and I need to take a step back and get my house in order. When I started I wanted to be a big star. I later realised I am not that kind of person. I am the kind of person who really cares what people say and believe about me. I have endured pain for so many years, from childhood – it came back to me, I had to confront the pain!”
As for his limited success on the international stage, the philosophical star reflects, “The only reason I had not gone international is I knew deep down I was not ready to represent my country when I was not balanced. Now I am moving towards becoming a complete person, now I can enjoy what I have been blessed with. When you are imbalanced you cannot enjoy what you have been blessed with.
“I was blessed because I got help from expensive rehab and therapists as I have been blessed to have access to. I had to confront issues. I was tricked into thinking substance abuse can avert the pain!”
He insists he knows better now.
“The thing with pain is you feel it, it’s either you confront it or you die. I am speaking from experience.”
Repeating his desire to step back, ATI reiterates, “I am one person who will walk away from a successful career to develop myself to become a complete human being. It is not just about the money. I had to choose whether to move away from myself or go through the storm and I am coming out of it.”
As for his upcoming album, it promises to be some swansong
“With this album I hope it will be there for those who have nobody just like when I was going through the worst, I needed that someone. The plot twist and turn of events that I have been through is what the album is about.”
Asked what the most difficult thing about being ATI is, the ‘Khiring Khorong’ hit-maker responds, “Lack of understanding. As much as we (artists) are celebrated we also need to be understood that we are children from homes. Some of us are from broken homes.”
And is there a significant other in the singer’s life to help nurse him through his pain?
“ATI is not taken until I am balanced. Recovery is not at the expectation of other people, but it is at the pace in which you heal!”