A different a-rey of talent at youth fiesta
SOME great music can be heard on Youth Day in Glenwood, during the second Imbumba Fiesta, to be staged at Bulwer Park on June 16. The line-up for the free concert offers a great selection of musicians representing myriad musical genres – both proudly local and from further afield. The concert is from 3pm-7pm.
You recently changed your name from Holly to Holly Rey. What was the reason behind this?
Having been through so many changes and coming into my own as an artist, I wanted something to mark the change and new beginning in my life. Everyone still identified with me as that young girl who released songs so many moons ago and I am really not that girl anymore. I have grown far beyond who that person was, both personally and musically.
Do you think that people will be receptive to your name? It does sound very exotic, in a way.
The response has been very positive. People love the name and although they see it as a new beginning, it has not swept my previous body of work under the carpet. They seem to recognise that this is about a new era for me.
Does this now mean a change in your music and your sound?
I wouldn’t say it’s a 180-degree change; it is more a development than a change, a development of my sound into something better, which reflects who I have grown into as a musician.
You’ve just released new music and it’s getting traction around the country. What has been the biggest challenge of getting your music to be enjoyed by a mainstream audience?
The response to my new single has been amazing. I think I have found my sweet spot and I guess the response reflects how the evolution of my sound has been received. The biggest barrier to being enjoyed by mainstream audiences is being accepted into the mainstream media space. I have never had a problem with being a little more off the mainstream radar because it forced me to make real connections and develop my own audience, which has grown with me. This has also allowed me time to grow into who I wanted to be as an artist and find my place on my own terms.
What’s the state of dance music on the continent right now?
African dance music and dance culture is bigger than the continent now. We are having a major impact and influence on international culture. What is so epic about dance music in Africa is that we are not only the biggest influencers of pop culture right now, but are also the biggest consumers of dance music in the world and so the whole world has eyes on us. Everybody wants a slice of our pie, so there are endless opportunities. The challenge is how we capitalise on those opportunities.
How do you tackle your performances?
With every event, I try to do something that the audience will find fresh.
Do you structure them differently, depending on the kind of event or festival you are performing in?
Yes. Club events are different to festivals. Club performances are shorter – maybe two or three songs – while festivals are anything from 20 minutes to a full, one-hour set. I programme every set differently, adding something different to every set. It could be an additional live element to a song, or a new song, or a different version of a particular song.
What do we have to look forward to at your performance at the Imbumba Fiesta on Saturday?
New music and a whole fresh set.