Thursday, 26 February 2015

My favourite two song of the week: Ella Henderson's “Mirror Man” and Jessica Mauboy's “The Day Before I Met You”

Ella Henderson – “Mirror Man”
Ella Henderson had a breakout year in 2014 with the release of her debut album Chapter One and the international smash hit single “Ghost”! The nineteen year old beauty is continuing this momentum with the release of a brand new single called “Mirror Man”. A fan favourite, “Mirror Man” was performed on television for the first time last month in Germany, where the single is already bubbling under as another hit for her.

Music video coming soon! Go behind the scenes on the video shoot in the meantime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR9a_Lr6-3Y

Jessica Mauboy – “The Day Before I Met You”

With 14x Top 30 singles and multiple awards including the ARIA Award for Best Female Artist in 2013, Jessica Mauboy features firmly amongst some of the most successful Australian female artists of all time! Her new single “The Day Before I Met You” is particularly personal for Jess, having been shot in her hometown in and amongst the locals.

Madge takes a tumble

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a big fall. Uh, wait, Madonna took a big epic fall. In the closing moments of the BRIT Awards 2015, Madonna closed the music award show with her hit Living For Love, but during the performance things went wrong. It could be blamed on a wardrobe malfunction, but Madge fell down stairs when the cape she was wearing pulled her back. The 56-year-old looked shocked - and briefly stopped singing - after she fell down a set of stairs, but picked herself back up and continued to the end. She later released a statement saying she was "fine" and her cape had been "tied too tight". "Nothing can stop me and love really lifted me up," she wrote on Instagram, referencing the lyrics to her song. "Thanks for your good wishes!"

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

AKA's Single 'All Eyes On Me' Goes Global

After a gradual start, over a couple of decades, South African Hip-Hop finally has its first real shot at worldwide acclaim with Kiernan “AKA” Forbes leading its charge into the global limelight. The rapper’s year is taking off to a stellar start after being selected as one of five African artists to watch out for in 2015 by DJ Edu who is a resident specialist on urban African music at BBC 1Xtra. That prediction has already started materializing with All Eyez On Me – featuring Nigeria’s Burna Boy, Da L.E.S and JR – maintaining A-list rotation on BBC 1Xtra for the last 4 weeks. The London-based UK tastemaker radio station is known for nurturing developing to global acclaim acts ranging from the British Grammy-nominated Ed Sheeran to the golden boy of Azonto Fuse ODG. All Eyez On Me is also now on rotation on MTV Base UK and remains the No 1 most played local song on South African radio. “AKA has long been one of my favourite rappers from SA,“ says Edu adding, “He brings undeniably great Hip-hop to the table with that South African flair. He was one to watch and is now living up to his potential.” This is South African Hip-hop’s first taste of UK radio and music TV prime time, following soon after a list mentioning AKA’s contribution to the local scene’s current zeitgeist was published in the UK Guardian. At the start of 2014, Edu’s spot-on forecast was that South African dance Mafikizolo would be ones to watch, and sure enough there was no performing artist group more prolific than the in-demand duo. Given AKA’s long list of achievements his anticipated performance this year is more than just a lucky guess: All Eyez On Me is his 4th consecutive No 1 single from the current album LEVELS. The hit song, which debuted at the top of the iTunes SA Hip Hop Chart, has had its video heavily rotated on Channel O, MTV Base, Trace TV. Regionally, the rapper has his sights set firmly on pan-African domination, backed by a slew of awards confirming his status as South African urban music’s most celebrated artist. The BBC 1 Xtra play-listing announcement comes in the wake of AKA’s high profile Nigerian promo tour with a slot on the coveted Nigerian weekly premium events Industry Nites as part of the itinerary. Crowned Channel O Africa’s Best Hip Hop artist for the 3rd time in four years, AKA’s 11 nominations (and six wins) at the 2014 South African Hip-hop Awards makes him one of, if not the most decorated MC from South Africa. It is likely that he will continue this feat this month at a music award event hosted by the biggest urban radio station in South Africa, Metro FM. His 7 nominations here include Best Collaboration for previous single, the city anthem Run Jozi (Godly) as well as All Eyez On Me.It’s worth nothing that this is the second nod that Edu has cast his way. The first came in 2013 when AKA was cited a breakthrough African artist for 2013. Since then he has performed with Big Sean, Emeli Sande in the US, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and Malawi just to name a few. A long list of African music A-listers including Don Jazzy, Ice Prince, Tiwa Savage, Wande Coal, Wizkid, Sarkodie and KO have been drafted for collaborations that will no doubt secure AKA in the minds and eyes of Hip-hop fans across the continent, and ultimately the globe, as South African rap’s foremost flag-bearer. 

Enjoy another Fokkofpolisiekar craft beer, Antibiotika

Fokofpolisiekar (credit: Adriaan Louw)
Rockers Fokofpolisiekar, has tapped into the craft beer market. Last year they announced the first of four Fokkofpolsiekar craft beers that will be named after their songs. First up we had Dag Dronk, a blonde ale brewed at Sir Thomas Brewing in Stellenbosch. Now they are release Antibiotika, which should be out in the middle of March. The band will celebrate the release of this Indian Pale Ale (IPA) with two launch shows; showcasing why they are known as one of the most popular South African bands of the past decade. Antibiotika will be on sale at the events at R40 per beer.

20 March 2015
Venue: Rumours Lounge, Roodepoort
Address: Shop 20 Palm Court, Cornelius Street, Weltevreden Park
Contact: Fred Otto – 079 825 7995
Performance time: 23:00
Tickets: R80 p/p (for sale at the door)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1397255840585488/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

21 March 2015
Venue: Atterbury Teater
Address: Daventry St, Pretoria
Contact: 012 471 1700
Performance time: 20:00
Tickets: R150 p/p from http://bit.ly/1Almpd4
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1556108944644746/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Francois van Coke & Jack Parow present: An Acoustic Collaboration

Jack Parow (credit Paul Ward)
Local legends, Jack Parow and Francois van Coke’s special brand of acoustic shows have been so popular that they are taking it to the road again.  Next, the boys from Bellville will hit Vereeniging on 12 March and Johannesburg on 13 March. Francois and Parow love collaborating with each other.  Together they are responsible for hits such as Dans, Dans, Dans (Jack Parow), Chaos (Van Coke Kartel – Wie’s Bang), Hard Partytjie Hou (Jack Parow – Eksie Ou) and Staan Op (Jack Parow – Nag van die Lang Pette). The 80 minute show will feature classic Fokofpolisiekar, Van Coke Kartel, Francois van Coke solo and Jack Parow tracks. Expect to hear Francois and Jack doing what they do best in a more intimate setting stripped from the loud guitars and electronic elements. Jedd Kossew and Loki Rothman will join the two icons on guitars.

Francois Van Coke and his dog, Ringo
12 March 2015 (All Ages)
Line-up: Jack Parow & Francois Van Coke Acoustic
Venue: Barnyard Theatre, Vereeniging
Address: Corner of General Hertzog & Club Streets, Three Rivers, Vereeniging
Contact: Aldo Spies – 083 627 4148
Time: Doors open 18h00 / Start 20h00
Tickets: R150 p/p - www.vereenigingbarnyard.co.za / (016) 4548388

13 March 2015 (All Ages)
Line-up: Jack Parow & Francois Van Coke Acoustic
Venue: Barnyard Theatre, Cresta
Address: Shop L205, Cresta Mall
Contact: 011 478 5300 / iris@barnyardtheatres.co.za
Time: Doors open 18h30 / Start 20h00
Tickets: R150 p/p

New Snoop Dogg album, Bush, produced by Pharrell Williams

Entertainment icon and business juggernaut, Snoop Dogg, will release his much-anticipated new album, BUSH, on Columbia Records this Spring. BUSH is entirely produced by Grammy Award-winner Pharrell Williams, and is a creative partnership with Doggy Style Records and i am OTHER. Snoop Dogg unveils a taste of the first single “Peaches N Cream” in a short clip in advance of the official music video. The “teaser” debuts on multiple digital platforms including the newly unveiled site, FollowTheBush.com.

The historic pairing between longtime friends Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams came after multiple successful collaborations in the studio, which started over a decade ago. The duo made a pact with each other to restore the ‘missing’ vibe in today’s music by creating songs dedicated to a “better present and an ideal future.” 

Channelling retro-futuristic funk topped with a feel-good mix of R&B and pop – BUSH blossoms with “a funkadelic glow,” says Snoop Dogg, “totally different than anything either of us has ever done.”  Anchored by Pharrell’s effervescent production and Snoop’s smooth vocals and delivery, the album features a number of surprise collaborations. In a recent interview with Power106 in Los Angeles, Pharrell Williams proclaimed, “Snoop’s album is better than mine.”

Snoop Dogg has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide, reigning for more than two decades as one of the most recognizable and authoritative giants in music.  Snoop’s successful incarnations within music, film & TV, his Snoop Youth Football League, fashion, brands and technology continues to set him apart as the consummate cultural icon, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Snoop Dogg’s collaboration with friend and fellow-innovator Pharrell Williams and his forthcoming Columbia Records debut BUSH, is the latest offering from one of music’s most prolific and revered trendsetter.

South Africa’s favourite bands and DJ’s set to perform at Sunday’s Hyundai Rock the Run

Thousands of entries have poured-in across the country, as Hyundai Rock the Run begins its final countdown for the big day on Sunday, 1 March. Families, friends, social runners, music-lovers and athletes are set to take to the streets of Sandton in a unique 10km and 21km run, as well as the newly introduced 5km fun run. Sponsored by Hyundai, this race and concert has fast established itself as a unique lifestyle event that integrates music with road running, since its debut in March 2014. This year, Hyundai Rock the Run is set to comprise of several music points, which will be positioned along the route including the new “Wall of Sound”, which is located on 5th Street and Fredman Drive. As usual the race culminates with fun in the park - a massive live concert which kicks off at 09:00. The concert line-up features arguably some of the country’s hottest performers such as multi-award winners Mi Casa, Mango Groove and Matthew Mole. Renowned local DJ’s will also be positioned along the route to keep spectators and participants moving to the beat. Much loved radio presenter and DJ, Sasha Martinengo, is set to support the live entertainment at the concert, as the MC. Starting at 07:30 at Mushroom Farm Park, home of the landmark Hyundai Balloon, the race routes will head into the Sandton CBD, providing runners with a mix of challenging hills, slope inclines and comfortable flats – all accompanied by a heady mix of rocking hits. “After last year’s success with Rock The Run, we had no doubt that this would become a firm favourite on the race calendar and judging but the strong response again this year, it is clear that it has done just this. We are excited for Sunday’s race and look forward to yet another iconic event where we encourage both runners and families to join us for a great day out!” says Francois Marais, Marketing Manager at Hyundai Automotive South Africa.

Friday, 20 February 2015

2015 is a milestones for the remarkable Yvonne Chaka Cha

2015 will be a year of milestones for the remarkable Yvonne Chaka Chaka; her 50th birthday, her 30th anniversary in the music industry and her 10th year as a UNICEF Ambassador! 

On 28 of March at the Lyric Theatre, Johannesburg, Yvonne will celebrate her journey, her work and her life with her CELEBRATE concert... This star studded concert, presented by 702 will feature the hit songs that launched one of the most successful careers in the entertainment world, plus stories and contributions from a host of her iconic friends on stage.

“702 has a long relationship with Yvonne, we are so proud of her achievements and are delighted to be able to present this celebration concert,” said 702 station manager Pheladi Gwangwa.
Yvonne adds, “Growing old is a given,  Maturity is a choice. I give thanks, celebrate and appreciate the gift of life. Pausing and reflecting on the footprints I leave behind as a Musician, Mother and  Humanitarian, for history is what we make daily! “

Born in Dobsonville, Soweto in 1965,Yvonne Chaka Chaka is known as the Princess of Africa, a multi-faceted performing artist, entrepreneur, and humanitarian. In 2015 Yvonne celebrating 30 years in the music industry.  She has shared the stage with megastars such as Bono, Angelique Kidjo, Annie Lennox, YoussouN'Dour, the classic rock band Queen, and South Africans Johnny Clegg, Miriam Makeba, and Hugh Masekela, to name a few. Yvonne has performed for HRM Queen Elizabeth, US President Bill Clinton, South African Presidents Nelson Mandela,Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and many other world leaders.

The list of her accolades and achievements are breath taking: several South African Music Awards, including a SAMA Lifetime Achievement gong; a Kora All Africa Music Award plus multiple Platinum and Gold Album awards among others. In recognition of her humanitarian work, Yvonne was the recipient of the prestigious World Economic Forum Crystal Award as well as the Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship Award. She has two diplomas from the University of South Africa, one in adult education, another in local government management and administration .She has studied Business Management through UNISA as well as speech and drama at Trinity College, London . Voted the “most credible celebrity” in South Africa, Yvonne has graced the covers of more magazines than many other African icons, illustrating the consistency of her popularity.  Writer Heather Dugmore stated, “Yvonne Chaka Chaka has a feminine power, a life force that is tangible with that “It” factor of great stars like Marilyn Monroe.”  

2015 also marks her 10th anniversary as UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador Against Malaria, and as an Ambassador for Roll-Back Malaria (sponsored by the World Bank, United Nations, World Health Organization, and other institutions). Yvonne tirelessly campaigns for medications and bed nets that will help to curb malaria — a preventable and curable disease that kills 3,000 people in Africa every day. Inspired by these statistics she created her own charity, the Princess of Africa Foundation. Yvonne’s energy and enthusiasm is boundless, she has become a hero and mentor to others, a willing warrior and agent for change on a global scale. Her continual efforts to raise donor monies from various African governments, the Global Fund, the World Bank, and the Gates Foundation ensure that those who need help the most will get it.  

Considered a role model throughout the African continent, she has demonstrated compassion for others throughout her career.   Yvonne has also served as Ambassador for the University of South Africa (UNISA); City of Johannesburg Tourism, and Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Campaign, and is an honorary Colonel in the South Africa Air Force.  In 2001 Yvonne was named one of the Top 100 Heroes of South Africa by the Star Newspaper. Despite a travel schedule that keeps her on the road much of the time, Yvonne continues to make time to motivate, inspire, and educate everyone she meets. And she says “I am always ready to learn from others.” 

Catch her intimate performance, as she takes a journey through her life as an African musician and global celebrity.

Venue: The Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City
Dates: Saturday, 28 March 2015
Tickets: R200.00 – R350.00
Bookings: www.computicket.com

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Up close and personal with sizzling local singer Ashlinn Gray

The Beat caught up with local singing sensation Ashlinn Gray to talk about Taylor Swift, One Direction, her favourite song to sing in the shower and her musical guilty pleasure

I was first introduced to music....in 2007 when my sister wanted to start singing. She had the natural ability but I was pretty close to tone deaf. I was and still am very competitive, so I wanted to beat her at her own game and started practicing every day for competitions we participated in.

I grew up listening to....mostly pop music from Hillary Duff and the Kelly Clarkson. But I really found my favourite genre only 3 years ago when my best friend introduced me to indie music. It honestly made music so much more exciting! It really resonates with me.

My first CD I bought was...Atomic Kitten! I remember getting it for my birthday and playing it every night as I was falling asleep! I still remember the lyrics to most of their songs off that album!

The CD I will hide away from friends when they come over to visit is....Josh Groben. I really love his voice and it makes me feel all inspirational and passionate. 

The one thing people don't know about me is....I love unpacking the dishwasher. I thinks it's because I have a bit of OCD, so when things are in place and clean I get really excited. (might regret saying this one day)

Being compared to Taylor Swift is....a huge compliment! I love her! She really is the celebrity I look up to the most. I like how she stands up for herself and speaks her mind.

If I had One Direction tickets I would...never admit how excited was...I'm not a fan girl but those boys are beautiful and really know how to put on a good show.

My favourite song to sing in the shower/bath is...Take Me to Church! You can totally belt it at the top of your lungs and feel so free!

I was so embarrassed when...I walked out of the bathrooms at a shopping mall and my skirt was tucked into my underwear! I don't even know how it in got there! I'm one of those clumsy people who always end up embarrassing themselves.

Same sex marriages should not be judged. I think everyone has the right to make their own decisions as it is their life.

(Photo credits: Natalie Field)

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Van Morrison to release duet album in March

Musical icon and visionary Van Morrison’s brand new album entitled DUETS: RE-WORKING THE CATALOGUE is set for release on 23 March 2015. DUETS: RE-WORKING THE CATALOGUE is Van Morrison’s 35th studio album. On DUETS: RE-WORKING THE CATALOGUE, Van Morrison and the guests selected and recorded some of his songs from the catalogue of 360 songs across his career.  Deliberately steering away from his more well-known classics, Van enlisted some of the artists he most respects to perform these songs with him to re-craft and re-imagine them. The album was recorded in his home town of Belfast and London in the United Kingdom over the last year, using a variety of musicians and fresh arrangements. The first single, “Real Real Gone” featuring Michael Bublé, is available now on iTunes. The album was produced by Van Morrison along with Don Was and Bob Rock. The album features duet performances with Bobby Womack, Steve Winwood, Mark Knopfler, Taj Mahal, Mavis Staples, Michael Bublé, Natalie Cole, George Benson, Gregory Porter, Clare Teal, P.J. Proby, Joss Stone, Georgie Fame, Mick Hucknall, Chris Farlowe, and Van’s daughter Shana Morrison. Van Morrison is considered one of the most prolific recording artists and extraordinary live performers of our time. He has received a multitude of awards and accolades including 6 Grammy Awards, a Brit Award, an OBE, an Ivor Novello, has been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and possesses honorary doctorates from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, as well as entry into the French Ordres Des Artes Et Des Lettres, all illustrating the international reach of Van’s musical art. Van Morrison has collaborated with, among others, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, Lonnie Donegan, Mose Allison and Tom Jones, all confirming the breadth of his musical reach.  His visionary song writing and mastery of many genres continues to shine on albums celebrating and re-exploring his blues, jazz, skiffle and country roots. With one of the most revered catalogues in music history, his talents as a composer, singer and performer are unmatched.

Ashlinn Gray heating up the music scene

Ashlinn Gray is barely out of high school and already her music career is soaring. The 17-year-old singer songwriter began drama, singing and piano lessons in Grade 4 and unlike her acting ability, singing didn’t come naturally. Instead of being a deterrent, it became her motivator. She practised day and night getting her voice into shape, knowing that there was a God-given talent brewing inside her. She had a story to tell and music was to be the answer. At the beginning of 2014, she chose to drop out of school and go the correspondence route, allowing more time and flexibility to manage her evidently booming career. She enlisted the help of close friends and fellow musicians Greg Jorden and Wesley Ayliffe, and together they brought her music to life. Battleships is the first single from the Johannesburg based songstress, an up-tempo pop number with a background story to inspire. She explains, “I wrote this song when I was a month or so into home schooling myself for the first time, contemplating if it was worth giving up being with my friends every day. The little voice inside my head was telling me that this whole “music thing” wasn’t going to work out and I was starting to believe it. I felt like I was searching for something while being blindfolded. But whilst sitting at the piano and starting to write Battleships, I regained that vision of reaching for my dreams, not listening to the negative words from myself or the people who thought I was making a mistake by following my dream. “So this song is about a journey of conquering negativity and working hard at making dreams become reality. Battleships really is about the highs and lows of winning and losing a never ending war that continues as long as you’re up for the fight; believing in yourself and not surrendering to those who don’t believe in you.” Where do I see myself in 10 years from now? “My future,  if I had to share a picture, would be an internationally recognized singer and actress that is not just known for her talent and craft but also her heart in helping others and being a role model. Although it may sound stereotypical and dreamlike, it is heartfelt .”

The Mission's Wayne Hussey back to tour South Africa

Wayne Hussey will be making a welcome return to South Africa in May to play a series of 4 solo shows in support of the release of his solo album 'Songs Of Candlelight & Razorblades'. It'll be the first shows in South Africa by either Wayne or The Mission since 2006! The shows will be: Fri. 8th, Sat. 9th May: Barnyard Theatre, Sunninghill, Rivonia. 10th: Barnyard Theatre, Parkview, Pretoria& Mon. 11th: Barnyard Theatre, Willowbridge, Cape Town.Ticket information will follow shortly. For info on venues: www,barnyardtheatre.co.za Wayne promises that the shows will pretty much follow the form of his recent European tour and will feature songs from his new album, classic and lesser known Mission songs, as well as a selection of suitably maverick & idiosyncratic cover versions. Wayne: 'This'll be my 5th or 6th time in South Africa and I've always had a great time there, always been made to feel very welcome. I've made some very good friends there on previous visits so it'll be good to meet up with them again. And it'll be good to see my old nemesis, Barney Simon, and resurrect our heated football discussions. I'm a red and he's a blue. Sounds like a song in there somewhere. And going back to Cape Town too, but hope I see more of it than I did last time which was basically the inside of a club and a hotel room. I'm looking forward to this, it's been too damn long!'