Dana sings the 90% lo­cal mu­sic tune

CityPress - - Front Page - PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

Sim­phiwe Dana has re­leased her 10th record­ing, called Sim­phiwe Dana Cel­e­brat­ing 10 Years Live at the Bassline. It is ded­i­cated to her 12 years in the in­dus­try thus far. Dana, who is no stranger to con­tro­versy and has taken on the SABC in the past for fail­ing to pro­mote lo­cal tal­ent, has de­scribed the ‘live record­ing night’ of her al­bum as the best night of her mu­sic ca­reer

Sim­phiwe Dana, one of the few South African artists who have been vo­cal about in­suf­fi­cient air­play on ra­dio sta­tions for lo­cal mu­si­cians, is ex­cited about the SABC’s de­ci­sion to play 90% lo­cal con­tent. And she should know. She strug­gled to reach the top with­out sup­port from lo­cal ra­dio sta­tions. When the news broke, Dana was board­ing a flight to Ad­dis Ababa and shed tears of joy. She was trav­el­ling to Ethiopia as the con­vener of the African Union’s arts and cul­ture fes­tiv­i­ties. This week, we met up with the beau­ti­ful Dana in Mabo­neng, down­town Jozi. She is ooz­ing con­fi­dence as she walks into her favourite restau­rant, Pata Pata. Dressed in a pep­per­mint, flow­ing dress and stilet­tos, it’s been three years since she swapped her dread­locks for a huge Afro. She is in love with her new look. Dana has re­leased her 10th record­ing, which is called Sim­phiwe Dana Cel­e­brat­ing 10 Years Live at the Bassline. It is ded­i­cated to her 12 years in the in­dus­try thus far. “It was the best night of my mu­sic ca­reer. The au­di­ence sang along to each and ev­ery song. I could hardly hear my­self sing. They were scream­ing, cry­ing. For a mo­ment, I thought it was my last show – I was go­ing to die,” she laughs. “I know my mu­sic touches peo­ple, but it has never reached this scale. My per­for­mance was on another level.”

It has been a dif­fi­cult jour­ney for Dana. There were times she felt os­tracised be­cause her mu­sic was not be­ing played lo­cally, some­thing she put down to not hav­ing “an Amer­i­can ac­cent”.

As doors closed on the songstress, she felt de­mo­ti­vated and couldn’t write new mu­sic. She was also all too aware that many lo­cal artists were dy­ing poor, she re­calls.

Dana was one of the artists who sup­ported Don Laka’s cam­paign for in­creased lo­cal con­tent on ra­dio sta­tions, and they were even plan­ning to take the bat­tle to court.

“Now, mu­si­cians will be able to get roy­al­ties, and that money will help us es­tab­lish our own record la­bels,” she says.

“I’m not putting any­one down – it’s good for us to have sum­mer songs – but I cre­ate mu­sic that will still be rel­e­vant in 20 years. I’m not do­ing fast food mu­sic,” she says.

“When you think about South African mu­sic, you should think of me – my voice is con­sis­tent and peo­ple can re­late to my mu­sic,” she says.

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

Sim­phiwe Dana

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