Featured Music Reviews

Amarafleur Reflects On Past Pain On Her Latest Single ‘DontLetGo’

We often see pain as an inconvenient hindrance to our general wellbeing, and don’t get me wrong pain is incredibly uncomfortable, but we miss reasons why pain visits our lives: it comes to makes us aware, to teach and to strength. Dealing with pain means that you have to lock in and do the internal work required to calm the storm that pain brings in one’s life, prompting one to be inactive in the things that they love to focus on healing. Johannesburg singer-songwriter based in Cape Town, Amarafleur, captures this experience of grappling with pain, letting go and healing as a form of freedom.

DontLetGo‘ is single and it comes after a four-year hiatus which saw Amarafleur transition fully into who she is an artist, a professional and most importantly, a black woman. While this transition was happening, serious changes in her life manifested which she had no choice but to face and this, in an odd but beautiful way, refined her artistry preparing her for the next of her journey. The song is rooted in honesty and Amarafleur presents herself as bare, vulnerable and accepting of the losses that are setups for future wins in her work, art and relationships. In the song, she speaks on struggling to let go and taking back ownership of her power in all life situations and spaces that she fills and finds herself in.

After toiling tirelessly in life, Amarafleur seems to be finding her feet, her flair and her true self by returning to her calling. The songwriting is very direct and potent, and does not go over your head as it is crafted to be understood by many and to be accessible. Aule Kil Whan is the artist behind this dream and emotion-driven beat with touch points of electronica, R&B and hip hop; allowing Amarafleur to glide gracefully with her smooth vocals.

Amarafleur breaks out of this self-imposed silence with a grand re-introduction; more refined, more textured and packed with life lessons reflected in the strength of her pen. DontLetGo is an incredible record which will undoubtedly position her as an artist to look out for in 2020.

Stream DontLetGo on Apple Music. You can also stream the song on all other major streaming platforms.

Follow Amarafleur on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.

Featured Interviews Music Reviews

A Conversation With Nkazimulo Mabaso: Formalizing The South African Music Industry From The Ground Up

A few weeks ago I attended the Monthly YouTube Meet-Up at the Old Mutual AMPD Studios in Newtown where respected and accomplished South African YouTuber, Sibu Mpanza, the Head of Digital of Digify, Qhakaza Mthembu and UK-based music industry professional T-Roy. The session was very insightful as the panelist shared a lot of great insight about the YouTube platform. I met a really great music industry professional who goes by the name of Nkazimulo Mabaso who has over 20 years experience in the South African music industry. We connected and set up a meeting so we could have a chat about his beginnings, what he does, his work and his role in the South African creative and arts industry.

The interview was condensed for easy readability purposes. Read it below.

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Image supplied.

Nkululeko: I have to thank you for availing yourself for this interview. I really appreciate it. So yeah, uhm, I think the main question is to find out more about you and what you do?
Nkazimulo: The name is Nkazimuloyasezulwini and I run a movement called ‘The Street Government‘, and I call myself the Street Governer. So, on my side, I have a foundation called Inkazimulo Yasezulwini Foundation and its main focus is art in its entirety. Through the foundation, we also mentor artists as well about how the music industry works, the business side of music and how to build careers in the music industry. Many artists lack industry knowledge and all they care about is fame but when it comes to money they are suffering. So, my mission is to curb that by balancing everything in their careers especially in the fourth industrial revolution. Artists should be more empowered than ever before and they don’t need record labels but what they do need is great management.

So your focus is more on the structure and framework side of the music industry. You believe that management is a key component that artists should focus on especially in the times we’re in. 
In terms of management, I will say that you get studio time where you record your music and that is where it is important to master the follow up steps. Because I will say that you have different types of managers; stage, road/tour, marketing, PR and distribution manager, and it depends on what exactly you need at the particular stage in an artist’s career. I don’t believe in doing things the traditional way because sometimes that can translate into no returns and that is why I push to always find new ways of doing things especially when it comes to management. I have been in the industry for so long and I have identified where there are gaps, opportunities and means of growth.

You work in different spheres of the music industry and one of them is the events space and you mentioned that you are planning to launch an event series targeted at universities in South Africa where you give unsigned artists a platform to tap into the varsity market. Can you tell us a bit about your process when it comes to organizing such events? Who do you approach and what happens in the back-end?
So when it comes to events at universities, I started in 2009 and I have built a solid track record and reputation in certain spaces. Most students stay in student residences and when I am about to pitch an event like that, I have to go to student housing and I speak with administration team and I say that I have this plan that I want to pitch and who can I speak to. I explain the value that the event will bring to the student community with a detailed. Most of the time I am often referred to speak to the resident advisor who is the one who is in charge of the different residences. I approach the SRC differently because they have their own office, so I check who is in charge of the SRC, be it EEFSC, SASCO or DASO etc. It really depends on what you want. For me, I want my artists to reach students and how do you reach students, by approaching the relevant bodies in the spaces that students exist in.

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That’s great and insightful. You mentioned that when you approach varsities, it is often because you want your artist to access the student market. When it comes to management, what is the process before you manage an artist? Because I have come across a lot of artists that say to me that they found managers but the relationships are not working or they are not seeing results. What are your tips on find a good manager? 
My advice to artists is always this: before you even approach or look for a manager, understand your music and have a vision. Know what you want to achieve. When you give your demo to a potential manager telling the manager to listen to your stuff, it must be pretty good and you must be unique. It’s easy to get management because us as managers we like money, so we see that is guy is dope and talented, I have to look at how we can make money. With me, it is slightly different because I don’t work with just any artist especially when it comes to hip hop artists because they often follow trends that are not authentically South African. I am working on a rhythm or beat when it comes to artist management, I haven’t perfected it but once you hear it, you will immediately notice it and you’ll be like that’s it. I look for uniqueness and authenticity. Artists should always push to do things that are unique and we have a lot of those artists in our country such as Big Zulu who does inkabi rap, Sho Madjozi and more.

So with that being said; if you do find an artist that is unique, from a business perspective what is your process to package all of that to take to the market and make money. How do you package that uniqueness to sell it to the whatever market you have identified? 
To answer this, I will go back to one of the answers I gave you for one of the previous questions. The reason artists make music is because they want to sell and make money, so where I fit in is that I am good with marketing and how to connect with fans. Let me give you an example of a guy I met back in 2010 who was making Maskandi music. This guy was a Maskandi artist and I knew that people that are most likely going to connect with his music are mostly Zulu and reside in hostels and that was his target market. So this meant that I had to take that music to those people because if I were to take his music to Universal Music to distribute the music, they won’t take it there and they will take it to the music stores.  I went to the elders of that particular hostel and asked if I can get this guy to perform there and they gave me their blessing. We didn’t even print posters or any other marketing material. I just told the guy to make as many copies of his music as possibles and he made 75 copies. He performed at the hostel and after the last song, we sold all the copies and each copy went for R75. We made R7500 within 30 minutes.

Wow. That’s super impressive. And that is the one thing that I have noticed from hip hop and dance music artists in our country, is that they struggle with finding their audience and monetizing it. 
You know what the problem is? We watch too much TV [laughs]. Because if you want to be successful, switch the TV off, switch off your internet and think of your career. If you feel like you cannot make it without social media, know that you are not good. There are certain artists right now that are in a position where if the internet where to shut down, they would have no means of connecting with their fans and they’d fade away because they are heavily reliant on these platforms.

Are you saying that in the context of South Africa, it is more effective to sell product from a grassroots level, approaching people in real life rather than sending them links to your music online?
What happens if I don’t have data to access your music if it is just online. We have to think of and face the reality, data in South Africa is not cheap. The other thing artists overlook is where they come from. For example, you can get an artist from Katlehong and they make a certain style of music and they would rather go to Jozi to try and push their music forgetting where they come from. Why forget home? There’s treasure there. If I start at home, I won’t be spending much on transport, spending much on trying to find those fans or even finding venues. You can even take your music to taxi drivers as well. The taxi industry is a channel a lot of artists are ignoring. When I still stayed in Durban, I approached taxi drivers to play the music from some of artists and the response was amazing. Music discovery often happens in taxis and we cannot ignore that.

That’s powerful. I never really thought of taxis being a music discovery platform/medium. What is your view on the internet and its power in the times we live in? How can we use it to make all that we do better and the progressive in the context of South Africa and Africa? 
The one thing I know is that most South Africans have WhatsApp and you know how powerful that thing is. With that platform, you have an opportunity to sell what you do using features like stories. Let’s say you are in studio, you record a snippet of the session and share it on your stories, and with those 30 seconds in a story you can connect with people. You arouse interest in your contact list. Some people have close to 100 people on their WhatsApp and when they view their statuses and that is content consumption. That is already an audience you can sell to. Imagine selling 100 copies for R100 to those people and the amazing part is that these people are close to you which makes it easier. You can use WhatsApp to create the hype and as a sales channel. Give yourself three months before you release a song. Prepare and market properly to build hype using accessible channels like WhatsApp. You can also get constructive feedback from the people on your WhatsApp and the feedback that you get will help you grow as an artist. You must build interest. With social media, you can build your leveraging by sharing meaningful and great content which and these days major labels find talent online and if you position yourself well online, they can sign you. And because you have your own audience and content, you have leverage and you can negotiate your own terms provided you are given a contract for a deal.

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You would advise artists to do the grassroots push and ground work to build the audience so that by the time they get to a record label they have leverage.
Yes, definitely.

Can you please tell us about the situation centered around the Copyright Amendment Bill that is currently sitting before our president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and why it is important for us a the creative/arts community rally against this new Bill they are trying to introduce?
The current law we have pertaining copyright in South Africa was last updated in 1978, if I am not mistaken. So, right now you see how the world has changed and see how everything has progressed. This law needs to be updated to fit the world that we live in so that it accommodates everyone and is fair. So around 2015 or 2016, some key people in the creative/arts community came together to write down their grievances, requests and suggestions on what needs to be changed on the Copyright Amendment Bill and they were submitted to the Department of Arts & Culture. But to their surprise, although there were some changes, there were many things that were left out. So it still became the similar as the old one which means it wasn’t really upgraded to fit the current landscape. When this new bill is passed, it will mean that anyone can use your music, your paintings, writings, photographs and more for free without having to pay. Right now you have to paid for the use of your intellectual property and you can sue if your rights are infringed upon. That right will no longer exist if this bill is passed. In the early 2000s South African music industry earned about R3 billion in revenue, right now it is on 600 million and if this bill is passed those numbers will be R0. No one will be making money except the big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Spotify, Apple and more. Creatives not earn anything for their work and that is bad.

As a creative community,  we really need to take this Copyright Amendment Bill situation seriously. So where can we go to contribute to existing rallies or movements that are fighting this thing? 
On the 28th of August, we had a march which was organized by MASA (Musicians Association of South Africa) with the support of organizations like SAMRO, CAPASSO, SAMPRA and more. We submitted a memorandum and we are waiting for the president to respond on follow-up steps and if the feedback is negative, we still have to continue fighting. If you are interested in fighting this, you can visit the SAMRO building in Braamfontein and go to the MASA offices on the 9th floor. They will be able to assist.

Thank you so much for your time. I hope people find value in your insights. 
Thanks. Until next time.


Featured Music Reviews

Highly Revered Music Industry Professional, Candice Pillay, To Attend #MEX19

South Africa is home to one of the most exciting, diverse and powerful music industries in the world; characterised by unique sounds, people and culture. This industry, as exciting as it is, has its fair share of problems but in the same breath houses and promotes innovation and disruption. Now with all of this, education is integral in ensuring that everything progresses accordingly and that there is growth in the space.

The Music Exchange, a Cape Town based event, is an entertainment economy-focused conference designed to offer valuable insights, platforms and ideas crafted to help the industry to advance. Delivering value from different touch points of the global music economy and 2019 sees the ninth conference happen at the Radisson Red Hotel at the V & A Waterfront. This year, the gathering invites highly revered and respected South Africa music industry, Candice Pillay, a phenomenal individual who defied conventions and has achieved greatly in the international music community. Born and raised in the second largest city in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province, Pietermaritzburg, Candice Pillay is a respected name in the world’s biggest music market, America. She has worked with some of the biggest names in the music space such as Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Anderson .Paak, Schoolboy Q, Calvin Harris, Dr. Dre and many more heavy-hitters.

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Having started in South Africa with humble beginnings, Candice Pillay is now a revered and seminal singer-songwriter whose innovative nature and genius has contributed immensely to modern music. “Securing the calibre of Candice Pillay is a coupe for MEX19, and the greater South African music community,” MEX19 convener, Martin Myers celebrates. “We are truly excited and humbled to
have her share her journey and impart invaluable, real-life learnings with all MEX19 attendees.”

The ninth edition of Music Exchange is a three day conference which starts on the 13th of September and ends on the 15th of September. It is to be host to some of the greatest and most respected minds in the global music economy and a great platform for local participators of the music industry to take advantage of to learn, network and grow.

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Get your tickets here.

Find out more about the Music Exchange here.

Featured Interviews Music

Get To Know Mavhuthu “Dadaman” Dzege: Soweto’s Dance Floor Fanatic Merging Running & Deep House Music To Make A Difference

It is almost impossible to think about deep house fans and dance floor loyalists in Johannesburg without the face of a crazy, heavily bearded, topless guy named Dadaman immediately coming to mind. Soweto native Mavhuthu “Dadaman” Dzege is undoubtedly among the leading commanders of dance floors all over Johannesburg’s deep house underground scene. Not only has he become a prominent face on the dancefloor, with his crazy antics and chants, he has channelled his love for music and long distance running towards giving to the less fortunate in his community. We had a chat with him to get to know more about him and what fuels his love for underground music, running and his various charity initiatives.

Firstly, we would like to know about you as a person and where you are from. Who is Mavhuthu Dzege?
Mavhuthu is a creative, runner, crazy guy and an all-round fanatic who sticks to the things that make him happy. He hails from Meadowlands, Soweto, and loves his music and the way it makes him lose his mind.

You are known by many as the “crazy” guy with the beard that is in every deep house party with his “skippa” (T-Shirt) off. Tell us about your love for deep house music and when it began?
I can’t really say when it started but it is ages ago. I grew up with dance music and it has been part of my life. I love deep house, its various elements and sounds that hit the right spots and see me lose my mind. I had the privilege of working at Carfax (a nightclub in Newtown Johannesburg) back in the early 2000s where I got to hear various styles of house, different genres and be in a space of “freedom” – this was when clubbing was all about the party and not fancy drinks or dress codes.

What does Mavhuthu do for a living besides being a deep house super fan?
I am a copywriter and I also do a little bit of charity work.

You have become the face of deep house fans and an influential person in underground music culture, particularly in building support for major deep house events, the most notable being Deep Town Jozi. Please share with us why you chose to support these events so consistently and tirelessly?
To be honest, I love the vibe and the people and more importantly the musical variation. Plus, finding an event to support is what is needed in order to share the vibe with new people. A major reason is the fact that deep house is frowned upon by many club, pub or venue managers in Soweto – so travelling out of ikasi (the township) to find new gigs that cater for my musical taste was key. It’s always important to support something that resonates with you as opposed to “conforming and following the norm”. Plus, many people tend to frequent the same events with the same line up and the same people and that gets tiring. I am a creature of inspiration and energy, so once something becomes a habit – I get bored and that is what is happening in my hood – same line ups, same – same!

Please explain about the significance of the culture of lifting props on the dancefloor; from the “caution sign” to the chairs and tables, as well as the infamous “kettle” seen in parties such as “We House Sundays”?
I think it’s when the music grabs you by the kahunas and you lose your mind or yourself in the music and “normal” no longer resonates with the brain. The music creates chaos within your system and chaos has to be expressed. It’s also the little deep house demon in me screaming to be freed even more – maybe one day I will drop my pants and shout “Yooooooh”!

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Image credit: Facebook

In 2018 we saw a controversial battle occurring between deep house and amapiano fans, after yourself and other deep house revellers were criticized for chanting “F*** Piano” whilst dancing to deep house music. Please speak on the culture of chanting in South African dancefloors and in what spirit this particular chant was meant?
Chanting has always been a part of the dance scene, it’s revellers expressing themselves through “song” or a “phrase” that they relate to. From the 90s chanting has been a big part of SA music culture – if you remember ‘a re robale rona’, ‘Mama yoh’, you will know what I am talking about. Once a new chant is shared, everyone joins in. The f*** piano chant was all banter. It was all meant in the good spirit of dance floor banter and did not seek to foster any malice. In my personal opinion, amapiano all sounded monotonous, so I was like, why would people listen to such when the “dzwurrrr, the “Dzwang”, or the bo-boop” elements of deep house drive you insane? People unfortunately took it very personally and I had to apologise and stop the chant.

Beyond being a serious reveller, you are also known for your love for running. How did this become a passion of yours and why?
I have always been an athletic lad. I used to jog, did 5, 10 km here and there and then – boom – the running addiction got me. I moved from running 10 km to 42 km races because the race I wanted to run had no more 21km entries left, so the hlanya (crazy person) in me said, what was 4 x 10kms in one? [laughs]. Another thing that motivated my running was when I tore my right knee meniscus for the second time, and the doctor said I need to avoid contact sports and strengthen supporting muscles around the knee, so that got me into running more.

Is there a connection between these two passions of yours, deep house and running?
A massive connection! Basically when you run, you move to a beat – you do not need to be listening to music when that happens. The beat is created via your strides, shuffles and breaths you take. So the rhythm grabs you and takes you on a journey that sees you cross the finish line – it’s like a well curated deep house or musical set!

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Image credit: Facebook

You have taken your love for deep house beyond the dance floor, where you have used the music to do many charity-based initiatives such as “The Dadaman Charity Run” and other charity-based events.  What drove you to start such initiatives?
I just hated seeing dire situations where people are let down by their communities, churches and those around them. So I said to myself, let’s do something that’ll positively impact the masses without getting people to leave their ‘comfort zones’.

There are people who walk up to you, give a sad story about why they need cash, you sympathise with them and share the love. Then the next week or later on, the same person gives you the same story again – that’s when you realise you’ve been swindled. So you say no, but deep down you feel bad or a tad bit uncomfortable because the heart strings were pulled!

But there are genuine cases that are a cry for help. So I thought, why don’t we give while we continue doing what we do best which is partying. I mean, we pay an entrance fee nonetheless, so why don’t we continue with that but this time, the proceeds go towards the course that needs attention at that moment. This takes away the uncomfortable situation – I then share the outcome with the masses, so they know they’ve made a difference.

On a much lighter note, will you ever cut off your signature beard that you have now become known for by deep house fans all over?
I would cut it! But it would have to be for a very good course! Plus, unlike most lads out there, I do not struggle to grow a beard – it comes back fast like tequila [laughs]. But on the real, I would but there’ll have to be a legit reason!

What would you say to other fans of deep house music about the importance of constantly supporting DJs and events in building the underground music scene in the country?
People must be different, find their own vibe and passion. They need to continue to support the underground because the people who form it, or the Disc Jockeys (DJs) didn’t conform or give in to what is “trending”. This simply means that they will not jump ship when things are tough, nor will they seek to fit in. One day the people of the underground will come to your aid, when you least expect it! The Faders will leave you hanging when things are bad. The underground always has something different to offer and you may find your inspiration there when you are down and you will fly after that!

Would you ever consider formalizing the important role you play in the scene by becoming an events promoter or artist/music manager one day?
Yeah! I think that is something I will have to venture in on a full-time basis. It is a legitimate job that requires your full attention. Plus, as a creative, I feel that there is a lot that people are missing out on and they have to experience it.


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Image credit: Facebook

What can we expect from Dadaman in the near future? Any projects or ventures you want to share?
I am currently doing a lot – such as a charity event for a mate who was shot and his wife killed in a house invasion. I am going to run the Cape Town Marathon for the kids at Thabong Creche in Cape Town, and party, run and cycle to collate food parcel for families so they can have a super festive season. I also have a school uniform drive running at the moment as well. Overall, expect more fun times that will see us make a difference in the lives of many. And yes, my skippa (T-Shirt) will be off!! [laughs].

Follow Dadaman on social media and catch him at a deep house jol or marathon near you.


Featured Music Reviews

Self-love, Acceptance & A Defiance of Social Norms Is The Focus On Refentše Solo’s Latest Single

Earlier this year, Refentše Solo blew the local music scene away with the release of her debut project titled GENESIS — her first official shot at venturing in the music game. Armed with a beautiful voice, fearlessness in her performance and confidence, she has won herself fans online and offline. In the alternative music scene in Cape Town, Refentše’s name has been steady bubbling up and after a few features on songs of some of her peers such as Tsukudu, she comes back with Ocean Deep: a powerful song about self-love, acceptance and defying social norms that dictate unhealthy beauty standards.

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In Ocean Deep, Refentše delivers a message to powerful in a very soothing manner drawing you in with her beautiful voice prompting you absorb everything she says. “This song is a reminder that when we love and accept ourselves and one another as we are, that is when the real miracles occur ” she explains about the song. The song comes with a music video which was shot by a team that she regularly works with

Watch the Ocean Deep music video below.

Featured Music Reviews

Oscar Mbo Releases The ‘Life & Love’ EP

After announcing earlier this year that he will be releasing an EP and album this year, every fan of Oscar Mbo was ecstatic and couldn’t wait. The Big O has finally delivered with a 3 track EP entitled Life & Love which will be subsequently followed by his debut album. Life & Love is the perfect prelude for an album. The mood for the EP is set with the first song entitled ZAR ft Yuri September: a song dominated by amazing variations of synths and Yuri’s soft yet beautiful vocals blending in on the beat and some marimba drums here and there. ZAR is my personal favourite and definitely a party starter.

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The Life & Love EP is available on all streaming platforms.

The second song is a 7 minute long track entitled Life & Love in which Oscar Mbo flexes his production skills with subtle lead guitar and dominating piano progressions which fall perfectly in place and you find yourself playing an invisible piano while sing along the simple yet catchy lyrics. For the brave is the last song on the EP, another phenomenally produced song with a variation in sounds with a lot of electronic influences (kinda reminds me a bit of Daft Punk). All in all what a beautiful EP one can’t wait for the album. Indulge yourself as we patiently wait for the full body of work.

Featured Interviews Music Reviews

Inspire The Mic: A Conversation With Adelle Nqeto

Inspire The Mic is all about local music industry creatives trailblazing a name for themselves with their team overseas: while always remembering home. The first artist we focus on and speak to Pretoria native, Adelle Nqeto, to get more insight into her life and art.

She has been performing live in the music scene since 2012 at festivals and venues all over South Africa as co-founder of Flint, Meet Spark with bandmate Josh Pretorius. Performing mostly solo since 2015, the newly Berlin-based, South African born singer-songwriter has been wowing audiences during her travels. Her mix of self-aware lyrics mixed with catchy grooves has helped propel her to inspiring heights in 2019. Fresh from releasing her 2nd EP in May called “Home”, performances in Germany with trailblazers such as Beatenberg & Cape Town’s Frances Clare, a feature in Bahrain on 2Seas Session with James Robb to performing all over SA — Adelle is going places. I had a chat with this exceptionally talented storyteller to find out more about her.

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Image credit: Sune van Tonder & Susan van Tonder

Adelle, your music has taken you all over the world, which is your favorite city to perform in and what made it special?
I like playing in smaller cities, because of the anonymity and also the surprise of seeing who shows up to shows, and their response to the music. So, Halle in Germany was a surprise. But when I was home in May, we played an amazing show in Soweto, and actually, every time I’ve played there I’ve only had the best experience.

Congratulations on your latest release in May called “Home”. What was the creative process like compared to your first EP?
Thank you! This was vastly different. We tracked the trio (drums, bass, guitar) live on “Home” and I definitely think I had a clearer vision for this EP, and a sound in mind when creating it. I’d also been playing the songs with my band already, so there was definitely confidence going in that I didn’t have with “Lights”. I think “Lights” was a great training ground and that process helped me clarify how I wanted to record “Home” differently.

If you could choose one festival or music venue to perform at it would be…
This is so hard. But playing an NPR Tiny Desk Concert would be pretty great and my drummer James would be stoked.

Which solo artists or bands inspire your soul currently?
Tough question. I’m listening to Thom Yorke’s “Anima” quite a bit, Nils Frahm, all the different projects which Shabakah Hutchings is involved in and The Japanese House.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
I don’t know about EVER, but I know right now I’ve been reading some of Audre Lorde’s essays, and something she says has struck me quite strongly: “what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”

When you were at school in Pretoria did you ever dream of being a musician or what did you think you would become? 
Yeah, I dreamed of being a musician since I was a child. I never thought it would be something I’d end up getting to do as a profession, I thought I’d end up being a lawyer, or a human rights activist or involved in social justice in some way.

The Berlin music scene looks like it’s on another level. What can we do better in South Africa to improve and get our scene to an international level?
I think diverse venues would help, but this is a long conversation that I think has a lot more to do with other social/economic factors. I also think that developing an appreciation for arts/culture from a young age is important.

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Image credit: Sune van Tonder & Susan van Tonder

What does the rest of the year hold for you and do you have any goals you want to achieve in 2020?
I’m going to be going on tour in Italy in October and cannot wait to start writing and recording some more music. There’s a lot I’d like to achieve in 2020, I hope more touring is involved, as well as playing music with people I care about.

Follow Adelle Nqeto on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music.

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Business Featured Music Music Industry Insights

AMPD Studios Gems: How To Get Your Single On Radio?

AMPD Studios is a platform and creative hub developed by Old Mutual to support the South African music industry and contribute positively to the youth culture in the country. As part of their efforts to equip young musicians and other types of creatives is the a feature called AMPD Studios Gems which is a feature designed to provide insights to young musicians. For this feature, AMPD Studios gets insights from radio legend, Cath Grenfell, who focuses on the topic: How to get your single on radio?

She shares the following advice:

– Decide on a single. This is really important. Playlisters at radio stations get hundreds of tracks to listen to. They don’t have the time to listen to your whole EP.

– Give a brief intro to your band in the email, with your contact and social media details, as well as the details of the track, which includes your ISRC code.

– Attach a mp3 of your single under 5mb for listening purposes.

– Name the mp3 attachment as “Your Band Name” + “Song Name”.

– Give them download links for bigger versions of the file – mp3 and wav format.

– Ask them for feedback.

– If someone gives you feedback and take it as constructive criticism.

– Listen to different radio stations and hear what their format is before submitting. There is no point in submitting a heavy metal track to a radio station that only plays hip hop: you are wasting your time as well as a music compiler.

– If you get no response. Try again the following week, and then the following week. Don’t spam a radio station. And don’t get your fans on social media to spam a radio station. It just pisses them off. And then you’re screwed.

– Make sure the track you are submitting is not a demo. Make sure that it is finished, mixed and mastered.

– Have a strategic plan for your tracks if you have an EP or album. Decide on the first single and then your second single etc.

– If your first single is successful, then keep an eye on how it is doing in charts etc. If it is climbing the charts, then hold off on your second single. If it doesn’t chart, or isn’t doing anything. Move onto submitting your second single.

– If your 1st single doesn’t succeed in playlisting (after trying a few times) move onto your next single.

– If you are submitting a single to a commercial radio station (FM radio stations etc) then make sure it is clean. Meaning there should be no swear words.

– If you are submitting to an internet radio station. Give them 2 MP3 options. The original version as well as the clean version so they can decide what they would like to playlist.

– Make sure that you submit a radio edit. Radio stations generally like songs that are around 3 minutes. So if you can edit long intros etc. Do it!

– Do some investigation into radio stations and find out who is interested in music. Send those people your tracks as well as the music compiler. This means going onto the radio stations website to get the playlist email address. Or following radio people on social media to see if they support music.

– Invite radio people to your gigs. You never know – they might turn up and like your stuff and it helps with playlisting.

– If a playlister says it doesn’t suit their format, then listen to the station and understand that your track possibly doesn’t suit the format. Each radio station generally has a format they like to play. They could possibly only play kwaito, or house, or hip hop or top40 commercial music.

– Don’t give up and Don’t be a dick and get upset if a radio station won’t play your stuff!

That’s it! Happy Sunday.

Words by Cath Grenfell brought to you by AMPD Studios powered by Old Mutual.

Featured Interviews Music Reviews

MTN SWAMA Award Winner Adrienne Foo Speaks About Music, Family & Career

Born Nomfundo Spies, Adrienne Foo is an award winning swati artist who graces many local and international stages. From her debut performance in Chicago to being recently featured as Trace Africa’s WCW with her video for ‘Treasure’ being on high rotation on the channel, the sultry songstress was always destined for stardom. “Adrienne Foo is a superstar. She’s a creative. She’s a musician.”

Outside of music, Foo is a lover and family girl who draws inspiration from all sorts of people — popular and unpopular. “There’s always something to learn and something to draw inspiration from but my biggest inspiration comes from the dreams I have for myself”, she shares about what inspires her music. With her latest hit song “Asambe” making rounds on radio, she proves her versatility in music with a song that has an Afro feel which is a sing-along love song. “My sound can really be anything I want it to be at that time. I can give you an Afro feel. I can give you new school R&B, I can drop a few bars and I can give you some soul and the list goes on” Adrienne describes her sound.

“Essentially, I’m training myself to be as versatile as I possibly can in order to create good music in any space you put me in. The dream I have for Adrienne Foo is legendary,” she elaborates. “Asambe is one of my most beautiful pieces of work. It was really an example of how I’m dipping my toes into whatever I’d like to and it turned out to be a beautiful love song” she shares about her latest song.

image of adrienne foo
Image credit: Facebook

With a mesmerising voice rooted in, Foo emphasises that her goal is to spread her music beyond eSwatini. “Eswatini has not been my only goal to be honest. I’m coming for the whole world,” sharing about her goals as an artist.

The music industry isn’t all fun and games as artists are faced with a truckload of challenges. Adrienne Foo believes that these challenges just show you that you are in the right direction. “Be yourself! That will set you apart. You do not need to try to be different. If you seek love, be yourself. Always do your best and believe in yourself with all your heart” sharing what she believes to be her recipe to success. Stay focused on the goal and keep your eye on the prize. Do not let other peoples’ success and blessings distract you from achieving your own or from what your dream is,” she elaborates. The Swazi Jive signee also believes that it is vital that you celebrate others in this industry regardless of your own struggles.

Having had a stunning career thus far, Adrienne Foo is yet to reach her pinnacle and shall forever be cherished by emaSwati for the beautiful music she makes. With promises of more music this year one should keep an eye on her social media platforms.

Listen to Asambe by Adrienne Foo.