What are your views on the music industry in South Africa and how it is viewed around the world? 

 I don’t think people take it seriously. I don’t know what they think about South Africa but I think most of the music that’s come out of SA in the past has been traditional African music.   It hasn’t been pop rock, hip hop, all that other stuff that we have.  I just think that the wider world doesn’t know that we know what’s up, but, we know what’s up. 

Where do you think the music industry is going at the momemt in terms of the way artists are promoted and with the rise of talent shows and illegal downloading? Do you think there is more pressure on artists to tour? 

 It’s a business, it’s a machine. I tried the whole reality T.V show thing.  This was before everything kicked off for me.  I feel like with reality TV stars, it’s just another level.  It’s hard for me to see them as artists unless the talent is there.  

Where would you like to see yourself and your music in ten years? Do you have a set goal or just going with the flow? 

 Well hopefully I would have broken through worldwide.  I’ve travelled to Europe.  I’ve got my songs play listed on radio stations. I’m getting connected.  Because they all think we all listen to the same thing, I want to work with more people I want to expand.  I want to do a lot of stuff.  Of course that takes a lot of commitment. In ten years I hope I would be a household name in Africa at least, Europe as well as the US. It’s just one stop at a time and I have to be very realistic about it. I’ve got to work, I’m working so hard these days, I have to push it.

 Where do you think your inspiration comes from? Is there anything in particular in which you draw inspiration?

 I need to be inspired to get through this world. You need to be inspired. Music has been a part of my life. I didn’t think I’d take it this far.  When I told my family I was going to do music, they were sort of like ‘Ooh nooo! Why it’s just music!’  You have to believe in what you do, I’ve been through a lot these past few years. I lost my mum.  I used to be an athlete and she used to collect my medals, after she passed I just didn’t see the point in getting them anymore.  I’ve been playing the piano since I was nine.  I went to a catholic school and I needed something better than the triangle to play in music lessons. So music has definitely been a part of me for a long time.  When I made the decision to get into music professionally I got a weird vibe from my family, and on top of that, they didn’t really understand the music ‘thing’. I had registered to do jazz at university, left home went to Durban.  I failed my first year, my family went mental, I just had to push on. But then when they actually heard some of my stuff they were like ‘OMG YOU CAN SING!’  I just pushed with this as a means of living.  I’m living off music.  It makes its more of a joy to do.  I have to be realistic about it and it inspires me so much that I have to push myself.

  What would you say to artists and musicians that are just starting out?

 Starting out is raw. In general and even more so in Africa. I realised if I want to do music I had to record all these songs I’d written. I had a keyboard and I had this recording programme. There was this other guy back at home who was involved in some gospel bands. I worked with him and made a demo then did a lot of free gigs.  People needed to know me. There are people who like to chase money, but people need to know you first. I worked my way up from the bottom. The internet connects you to the whole world, and I put everything I had out there.  I managed to get a producer that liked my sound and that’s how Sony Music South Africa found me.  Everything else is history.  Believe in yourself. You can’t stop. Don’t forget about those open doors and just push. 

Photo by Ross Garrett