“Someone once told me, like, ‘The money that you have – if you spend it on things that you can see, that determines whether you're going forward in life or going backwards in life.”
Artist and producer Aphelele Klimbashe, who goes by Look At Ups (@lookatups), is no stranger to hustle: he lives it. One thing he has learned is how to control it, and not let it control him. Based in Cape Town, Look At Ups is a musician and producer who works with a collective of artists supporting one another's crafts and coming up with creative ways to extend their personal brands to put others on.
The challenge to stay mentally strong in an industry that is tough to break into is something he speaks on openly and honestly. Find out how he moves himself forward – all the while repping his isiXhosa roots – in this edition of Conversations In Culture 🎤
Marvellous: Mr Look At Ups, Sir. What's happening brother man?
Look At Ups: I'm chilling, dog. Yourself?
M: I'm chilling. Ain’t complaining as you can see, bro. But – your name is Look at Ups man…👀
M: I mean, I've seen you and I know you. But I've never asked why [Look At Ups]...
L: That's like that's a super common question actually. There's no deep meaning behind it. I had a drop – I had a song. We literally didn't realise I was recording with no name, no nothing. Just recording music. And then the day before that I had to drop, I realised you actually need a name. The first thing that I typed into SoundCloud bio is Look At Ups. That's why my name is Look At Ups. Genuinely.
M: Do you mind telling people what your actual name is?
L: It has nothing to do with Look At Ups.🤞 It’s Aphelele. Genuinely nothing deep.
M: I thought the Ups could have been maybe...
L: Genuinely 😎 Aphelele, Look at Ups. Two totally different things.
M: Cool, man. You want to tell us what you do, bro.
L: Um, sadly, I'm making music for a living. And that is how I make money.
M: Explain the sad part a little bit.
L: It just works on your mental, man. It's just – you need a strong mentality for this career.
M: Why do you say that?
L: Financially. Just the situations that you're in. Yeah, [it gets] very...tense and just ..crazy.
M: Yeah. You mentioned something very cool. You said financially? What is your relationship like with money? Right now?
L: I'm kinda good. We're on right now, but for the most part, it's usually super tough.
M: Why do you think that's the case?
L: That's crazy. It's just about being smart with your money. There's a lot of money in this is a lot of money to make just be smart with your money. How do you handle it? What do you do with it? Yeah, and all of that.
M: Money is difficult, as you mentioned. How do you stretch it? Like, between just Aphelele and Look At Ups?
L: That's actually a very dope question. Because those are two different people. Someone once told me: “The money that you have – if you spend it on things that you can see, that determines whether you're going forward in life or going backwards in life.” That stuck with me, and that's how I use money now.
So I try to invest more than spend on unnecessary things.
M: There is this new banking app called Bettr. What do you think of the concept?
L: For people that don't already know about it, it's something that they didn't know that they always needed. Because it's virtual, it’s for the youth...it's what they are growing up on.
M: I just think we're gonna bank better.
L: Exactly, bro.
M: Be smarter and do better.
L: And be better!
M: Like thanks for coming, bro. Thanks for being such a great person for dropping enough gems to be better. Let’s be Bettr 😏
L: Bettr 🤑
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