How has the pandemic affected your industry?
If you look at the industry in a broader context one would have to say it has been decimated. There are so many artists who rely on festivals and government bookings for their survival and with little to no income, it has been devastating for so many artists, sound engineers, production companies, sound hire companies, and basically the entire value chain. The key to survival has been about the ability to adapt and develop content creation ideas and skills. Some artists and industry people have been able to adapt but so many colleagues and friends have suffered a tremendous loss.
How did you overcome obstacles that the pandemic threw in your way?
Covid forced me out of my comfort zone. I was used to a fully booked diary and endless media engagements. The pandemic shook me up and helped me realise that careers are fragile and you have got to be able to reinvent yourself in the face of adversity. I took the time to develop skills, I started shooting and editing video content for online distribution and created two new shows. I also recorded an EP. The Pandemic also helped me put my personal life into perspective, I went through a really bad break up and I took what I was going through personally and created something that ultimately helped me to heal from the heartbreak.
How was your personal experience of the music industry before and during covid?
Before Covid, I was booked and busy. Covid came and the initial period of cancellation created a sense of absolute panic. I also didn’t know how to not be busy. I myself contracted Covid, so I had a double whammy but I can’t say that I had it harder than anyone else. It is all relative. Everybody’s experience through Covid has altered our existence. Our human culture of feeling interconnected and part of a greater existence has been shaken. I don’t think anyone will be able to exist in the industry as we did before. We all need to start creating and building a new industry. The positive about all of this is that we are all pioneers of what will become the new industry normal. It’s scary but exciting at the same time. I think the playing fields have been levelled and independent artists are in a stronger position, especially those who are able to create multi-dimensional content.
Tell us about your new EP?
My new EP is my best work. Lockdown gave me the time and space that I needed at exactly the right time in my life. Murphy Cubic, the Zimbabwean producer behind “You” and other tracks off of the last EP, had come to SA to start work on the EP just before lockdown and he ended up staying in Durban with my family and we worked. As I mentioned, I had just gone through my first real heartbreak, I was in a bad place personally and the only way I knew how to heal was through music. The EP is about finding what you think is perfect love, discovering betrayal, experiencing heartbreak and then a journey to self love. Unconditional saved my life. I suffer from anxiety and depression and music is a big part of my coping mechanism. I hope that people can identify with what I went through and find the strength to deal with the pain and discover that the path to self-love is a journey we are all on. We are not alone.
What advice do you have for students in this industry specifically in music?
Tell your story. Every one of us has a story to tell and that is where the magic lies and that is what gives you your unique identity as an artist. Stay away from Toxic culture. Be careful who you keep around you because your energy is the source of your creativity and you need to guard your energy. There are no shortcuts, you have to do the work on yourself, you have to be in it for the long haul, stay focussed, stay committed. The weird thing is that in time you realise it is the things that are meant to break you that end up making you.
Any other motivational ideas for matrics and varsity students?
We are living in the most exciting time in human history. There has never been this much opportunity for young creatives. Nothing will ever be as it was before and it is this generation of youth that will create a reimagined world. The world needs young people with fresh ideas. Before lockdown I never knew what an iRig was, I had no idea how to live stream, the world had shut down and I had to scramble around to learn what I needed, I had to teach myself how to use new tools and I had to reinvent how I communicated with the World. I have come out of the experience with a whole bunch of new skill sets, two new series which are licensed to streaming platforms, an EP and a plan. I also asked for help. It’s okay not to know everything. Be humble enough to know you don’t have all the answers and everything is going to be okay.