Holly Rey cre­ates mu­si­cal waves

Dance­halls fall­ing in love with her sin­gle Deeper

Sunday World - - Sunday Report - By By So­maya Stock­en­stroom /In­sta­gram

Holly Rey is dig­ging deep into the hearts of South Africans and if you thought her new hit sin­gle Deeper is sung by a kasie girl, think again.

The house mu­sic vo­cal­ist, whose real name is Holly Wasser­fall, is a 22-year-old ris­ing star from Durban. She was raised by a sin­gle mother as well as her grand­mother. She has never met her dad.

“I was raised by two pow­er­ful women who never al­lowed me to feel less be­cause my fa­ther chose not to be a part of my life. They in­spired me to be a strong in­de­pen­dent woman,” Wasser­fall said.

She has the lingo down, the dance moves and that town­ship spunk that makes in­ter­na­tional stars like Ri­hanna want to ap­pro­pri­ate.

“One of the big­gest in­flu­ence on who I am to­day has to be the fact that I went to a board­ing school when I was eight years old. I lived in board­ing houses with other kids from all over the coun­try and all over the con­ti­nent; it was the most in­cred­i­ble foun­da­tion for me as per­son.

“I learnt from an early age that our dif­fer­ences in up­bring­ing and our di­ver­sity in cul­ture are a beau­ti­ful thing and some­thing to be cel­e­brated.”

Many have only been ex­posed to her ex­cel­lence now, but she broke into the in­dus­try at the ten­der age of 14 when she signed a deal with Sony ATV Pub­lish­ing.

“I had writ­ten and recorded a song for Madiba [Nel­son Man­dela] as a gift, and a fam­ily friend in­tro­duced me to Jay Sav­age.

“He came to see me per­form an acous­tic set and signed me as a song­writer. I later did a dig­i­tal distri­bu­tion deal with Con­tent Con­nect and Siyabonga Madiba was re­leased as part of an MTN cam­paign. It was the sec­ond-most down­loaded song in Africa for that cam­paign. I signed my first record deal when I was 15.”

Mondli Ng­cobo would be the man who changed her life and her sound when she met him when she was 16.

“He was at a Nyusi Vol­ume event and we worked on some songs. I re­leased a sin­gle Bang Bang with Soul Candi Records, which charted on Trax­source.

“I love work­ing with Mondli, he has al­ways un­der­stood the essence of who I am as an artist. We just make magic to­gether.”

On their col­lab­o­ra­tion Asam­beni, you can hear her elo­quent Zulu vo­cals.

“How can you live in South Africa and not try to learn African lan­guages? If you’re a white South African liv­ing in this coun­try and you don’t at least try to learn an­other of­fi­cial lan­guage, you should be ashamed to call your­self South African.

“I love to write songs in Zulu be­cause it’s lit­eral, you can say so much with few words. My DJ, Sphamandla, in­sists on speak­ing Zulu to me, to help me im­prove.”

Holly Rey even started her own record la­bel at 18 and re­leased her first al­bum ti­tled Vanilla House un­der it.

The al­bum fea­tured Zakes Bantwini and she later col­lab­o­rated with Pro­fes­sor.

With all these achieve­ments un­der her belt, she agrees that her real break­through re­ally came on the back of Deeper.

“The re­sponse to Deeper has been in­cred­i­ble. It has taken my ca­reer to the next level. I have been around for a long time, but I was study­ing and I could never re­ally put 100% into the mu­sic un­til I fin­ished my de­gree.

“So this year I de­cided to find the per­fect song and put my heart and soul into it. The funny thing is I worked on a cou­ple of songs and I had a hard time de­cid­ing which sin­gle to re­lease, I still was not sure if Deeper was the right track.”

Holly Rey has al­ways em­braced SA’s cul­tural di­ver­sity.


The 22-year-old Dur­ban­ite has the dance moves and town­ship spunk.

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