Regional | Music

17-year-old Papakura-born artist hits 17 on top 20 NZ singles charts

A 17-year-old music artist has reached the top 20 charts with his new single Testimony.

Kayden Ngapera, better known as KT Souljah, is a Papakura-born and raised teen devoted to making music.

“It would have been this or the street life for me because that's most of our family. That's all we’re used to really. Just joining gangs and stuff but I feel music kind of saved me in a way.”

His first single Testimony was released last week and is now sitting at 17 in the Hot 20 NZ singles charts. He says the song wasn't made in a traditional sense.

“All I was doing is just thinking of memories straight off the top of my head that I could just put lay down on the track and that's how that came about. That whole song was basically like a freestyle.”

Ngapera grew up on a little farm outside of Papakura near Clevedon with his pāpā. He says growing up between the town and the country the hardships might be different but still remain the same for a person.

Papakura teen making it in the music scene.

Musical whānau

“Living in the county is like a different struggle. Sometimes we don't get power out here, so we run off a generator. So when there's no gas, there's no power and there’ll be no power for ages sometimes. Just stuff like that, like the water tanks run out of water, then we have no water. We can't shower, can't drink anything. It's a different kind of struggle.

“And when you go to town there’s a whole bunch of just negative influences around you.”

Growing up in a musical family, Ngapera attributes his love for music to his whānau, so much so that they are the focus of his drive to succeed.

He's hoping his musical career will make him some money "and get my family out of this place we’re stuck in".

Te Rito