Get To Know: Nakhane
This week we're profiling South African singer, actor and LGBTQ trailblazer Nakhane...
After the release of his first album, Brave Confusion, South Africa's Nakhane ditched the 'traditional' folk sounds he'd started out with, and set out in an electronic-pop direction. In 2016 he featured on Black Coffee's pulsating 'We Dance Again' before putting out his follow up albumYou Will Not Die, earlier this year.
You Will Not Die finds the singer unapologetically juggling a weight of emotions. Casting aside his religious upbringing after finding his sexuality and the traditions of Christianity were incompatible, to dealing with periods of anxiety and depression, the body of work ultimately looks forward to a brighter future.
Find out more about the rising star in this week's introducing interview below...
Someone out there was being buried
My means were gladiatorial
My heart was dictatorial
And I wrote it down on my ledger
As if by strokes I'd feel safer
I stayed in here to get pleasure
My chances sure would be better
With you being here
So I look to you
I look to you
Love does not make clairvoyant
All I knew was how to be your servant
So I'm running around on that prairie
Like a gambolling lamb
Love I'm terrified
I'm running around on that prairie
Like a gambolling lamb
Love I'm terrified and I look to you
1) For those who don’t know about you and your music, tell us a little bit about who you are and where you’re from…
"My name is Nakhane and I was born in a small town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa called Alice. I was raised by classically trained singers. My aunt is still a music teacher. When I was in school I studied the trombone, played steel drums, piano and everything else I could get my hands on. I also did a lot of musical theatre, which I think has influenced how I write melodies. I like drama. I am now a songwriter."
2) Describe your sound in three words…
"Rococo, red, sensual."
3) Who inspired you to start a career in music?
"I can’t pinpoint one particular person because music has always been an integral part of my life. Even before I started school I was captivated by music, especially singing. There was and still is something miraculous in having the ability to sing. To be able to create music with your body. That always soothed me, and by the time I started school I had decided that this was something that I would be doing for the rest of my life."
4) Who are your biggest musical influences?
"God, we could spend days discussing this. So I’ll give you a list of who I am really loving right now: Joni Mitchell, TKZee, Handel, Sonic Youth, Marvin Gaye, Busi Mhlongo, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba."
5) Tell us about the writing and recording process for your new single/album…
"It took me a while to write this album. I was busy with other projects in the years between my debut and this one, You Will Not Die. I published a novel and I acted in a film. But over those years I started to learn how I worked best. I realised that a lot of my ideas came to me when I was soaking in the bath. So I spent a lot of time with my writing pad, a pen and a recorder in there. When all the songs were written, I went to London to record it with Ben Christophers. That was such a beautiful experience. It was just him and me in a small room getting excited and impatient for the world to hear what we were creating."
6) What can we expect from your live shows?
"I like to make my shows as dynamic as possible. I like the crowd to understand that they are in a safe space to be whatever they want to be. That they will not be judged. When I finished recording the album I liked the idea of getting a lot from a little. So as much as my show can be exhausting to perform, it also uses silence and slowness to really get into the feelings."
7) What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
"That I have a career at all is a highlight. I don’t take it lightly and I cherish every moment. I get to write, record and perform my own music. I’m incredibly lucky. Not many people have that opportunity."
8) Have you met anyone and been totally starstruck?
"Yes. Rebecca Malope. She is a legendary South African gospel singer. I used to sing myself to sleep to her songs. I met her at a hotel we were both in and I lost all my cool. I wasn’t hysterical, I just lost all words and told her how much I loved her and how much she’s meant to me."
9) What’s on your iPod/playlists that people wouldn’t expect?
"I’m obsessed with hearing different recordings of my favourite choral pieces. Last year it was Rachmaninov’s Vespers. This year I’ve returned to Handel’s Messiah. I think I have about 6-7 different recordings, from different choirs and times."
10) When can we see you live?
"I’m performing at Omeara in London on the 6th of November. Go to my website nakhaneofficial.com to find other dates."