Tell us about your favourites and win
AMERICAN jazz singer Rene Marie has always wanted to come to South Africa because of her two idols – Miriam Makeba and Nelson Mandela.
The singer/songwriter is one of the international stars lined up to perform at the 11th annual Standard Bank Joy of Jazz.
According to Marie, she has been listening to Makeba’s music since she was a little girl.
“My father had her album and he used to play it all the time. I actually learnt the words to Liwa Wechi and sang it at a talent show when I was a teenager, and I won!” she said excitedly.
Marie had planned to sing the same song at the festival, which begins tomorrow, but said she couldn’t master the words.
“This is my first time in Africa and I really wanted to do it, but I didn’t know anyone who spoke the language,” she said. But she promised that she had a lot more to offer.
“We’re gonna give them a little taste of what we do. Some soul, blues, gospel… we’ll mix it all up,” she said.
Marie and her band will be performing at the Bassline in Newtown on Friday and Saturday.
Although this highly acclaimed and award-winning 57-year-old songstress began her professional career at the age of 42, she believes this has given her the upper hand.
“It wasn’t easy for me to be taken advantage of. Something in me says ‘I’ve heard this before’ or ‘Nope, this is not for me’. It’s much easier for a younger woman to be misled,” said Marie.
Before her life of stardom, Marie worked at a bank, where she trained customer service representatives.
“It was actually my son who suggested I start singing.”
That was in 1996. Since then Marie has released nine albums and won a number of awards, and her music has been on the Billboard charts multiple times.
Like most international visitors, Marie is excited about going on a safari, but there is a special visit she wants to make – to the hospital where Mandela is being treated. ”I know I can’t meet him but I just want to stand outside the hospital where Mandela is,” she said, fighting back tears. – Cadet News Agency