‘Playing music is probably what keeps me sane’
TELL me about your last CD, how you got to this one, and how the former influenced the latter. My previous album was my first Afrikaans album. It was also the first live album I recorded so it was quite a challenge and exciting to work on. After promoting that album for almost two years it was impossible not to record my next English album. I have worked on and performed the new songs for almost two years and it was time to head back to the studio again. Tell me about the songwriting and how you went about writing and performing it? The new album, Borders & Beyond, is a collection of songs I wrote. Most of the time when I write songs they come from a single moment, experience or emotion. Country King was inspired by the lead character in the movie Crazy Heart. The song and duet One Day was inspired by the novel of that name. The country song Keep on Keeping on was inspired by my experience as a social worker (who spent time in the church and the bar). I wanted this album to be about more than just myself. I wanted my songs to tell stories. Schalk Joubert, who is my bass player and also the producer of the album, recognised that there was a country influence to the music (which was quite a surprise to me). We decided to record an honest, stripped down album with a country-influenced thread throughout. Who are the musicians who join you and why? I value loyalty (especially in this tough industry) and prefer to work with people I trust and who respect my music. Schalk and I have been working together since 1999 and have a great understanding. Kevin Gibson (drummer) is an irreplaceable find and collaborator. Henry Steel (guitars) has worked with me since the early 2000s when we used to perform in various projects. I invited Gerald Clark to sing a duet with me because we’ve worked together since 2009. We have great fun together and I think he has a beautiful voice. Describe your style of music and where it’s at now. It does not fit a specific genre really. I do, however, feel that I am slowly but surely settling into a sound that feels right. It is still not a specific genre – but who cares? It is lyric and melody driven. Who and what influence you and how has your music changed as you get older? I remember a journalist once reviewing one of my first shows. He wrote that it felt as if he was listening to one long song – but that at least it was a good song. I realised that day that one should sometimes take positive critique and work with it if you want to improve. For me the challenge is to stay true to myself. Collaborating challenged me to play music from different genres and definitely influenced my music style. All in all – growing older is about knowing who you are and accepting it. What do you think of making a career in music with what is happening in the industry? I love music. It is a language we all speak. Sometimes I am sorry I am a musician, since it can spoil the musical experience for you. Playing music is probably what keeps me sane. There is no safer place to let yourself go when things are tense or sad or overwhelmingly happy. Women and song. Positive or negative? I am excited about women in the South African music scene. There are more solo female artists today than I could count on my hand a few years ago. That is a great sign. I also see more female artists being included in and performing at rock and other festivals across the country.
They are not only the stereotypical pop or rock chicks, but also play music from other genres. I also love the new trend of male-female vocal collaborations… this keeps things fresh and interesting. It is nice to see women filling slots not because they are women, but because they are good at what they do… When you have just released a CD, does your head turn to what’s ahead? By the time the album is finished and printed and the launch tour has come to an end, I am usually done with the project in my head and ready to move on the next challenge. Unfortunately it does not work like that. One must work hard at promoting that album for at least one to two years. What music do you listen to? I don’t listen to a lot of music. That might sound a bit strange or boring, but it is the truth. I have my favourite artists – mostly singersongwriters from the ’60s.
I am a huge fan of Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon and admire the poetic lyrics of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen.
Shows: Thurs: The Soundstage, Pta, 8pm; Sat: Open Strings, Dbn, 1pm; Dec 13: Muratie Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, 3pm; Dec 18: Olyvenhoudt Olive Farm, Stilbaai, 8pm.