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DURBAN is on a roll, with its talent pool growing each year. And speaking of talent, be sure not to let local artist Nick Pitman pass you by.
The twenty-something, who is mostly blues-influenced, is one of those musicians who has a shot at making it big. He is a sophisticated guitarist and vocalist who is totally in control when he plays and mesmerises a crowd, leaving them wanting more.
During our one-on-one, the tall and friendly singer-guitarist shared his hopes and dreams as a musician. He labels his music as blues, but he is set to branch into rock and explore something new.
He says: “There are many different influences to it, actually. I’ve been playing blues a lot. I like to think of myself as a broad artist in the sense that I like different rhythms, different structures and progressions. I’m willing to try everything. I play rock and I’m loving it.”
Pitman definitely feels the love from the crowd when he plays at a gig. From Splashy Fen, The White Mountain Festival to the Durban Blues Festival and various venues across Durban, he is a familiar face who is sure to make his mark in the music industry.
With influences that extend broadly from Jimi Hendrix and The White Stripes to Dan Patlansky and the Black Keys, he says Patlansky is one of the first blues musicians who influenced him from a really early age: “He’s so talented and I’d love to jam with him some day. A lot of artists inspire me. But I want to be original in my music. I don’t try to copy their songs. I listen to it, I really enjoy it and then try to make something like that.
“For me, it’s more personal. I like to have my own style. My ultimate goal is to do really well in South Africa and inter- nationally. I think I’d like to do well and by that I mean be successful.
“At the moment, it would be cool to prove to myself that I could do it here. And if I did well, then that would mean I’d have some sort of foundation for going overseas and doing well there.
“So yeah, I’d love to be an international artist and travel the world. Be around all the musicians and meet all the people who have influenced me.
“I like jamming with other people who also love music, especially with artists who have different abilities. That’s what music is about. Learning and sharing and jamming together and doing what you love.”
I ask him what the most exciting part about being in the music industry is, to which he jokes: “Playing for an hour and earning as much as I’d make in six hours in a restaurant (laughs).
“But seriously, it’s like having a relationship with yourself. It’s something you get to experience about yourself. Also, the willingness to break free and do what you love, that’s the best part.”
Having been around on the local music scene for three years, he says there have been some really great bands coming out of Durban lately: “It’s kind of like inspiration for other bands to push harder and make it big. Like, Gangs of Ballet (GOB), they’re so awesome and they’ve made it to the charts. So they kind of inspire other artists to improve the Durban music scene. And Live – The Venue, it’s a great platform and a lot of people want to play there and up their game. Lately, the acts are just getting better,” he says.
At the moment, Pitman is undertaking new ventures. He says he has a new band in the works and they are set to release an album soon. The three-man outfit is called The Jungle Was On Fire.
“We rehearse twice a week and we put in a lot of hours and hard work. We just click as a band. People can expect a complete change with the stuff we’re working on as a band: expect a serious rocker from now, a rock guitarist. That’s what we’re going for.”