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HAVING been in the music industry for 25 years, guitarist and vocalist Nibs van der Spuy is celebrating his musical journey with an anniversary show tomorrow at the Italian Club in Durban North.
I meet Nibs for the first time and I instantly take a liking to him because of his easy-going nature. He shows an interest in my life before we get on with the interview, saying that he likes to get to know someone before “he starts rambling”.
He starts a conversation with our waiter in French as he notices he is of a foreign nationality. I learn that language is his passion – he is fluent in five languages.
Steering the conversation to his impressive musical journey that spans more than two decades, I ask about Nibs’s experience as an artist.
“I sit back and think ‘wow’, I did my first show in 1989. It’s been amazing, so my show at the Italian Club is a celebration and it’s also an excuse to play music with some friends. Guy Buttery will join me. He’s an ex-student of mine and a great friend. He has played on some of my albums and I’ve played on his.
“Gareth Gale will also be present. He’s a fantastic percussionist and he’s recorded on my last three albums, so people can expect a lot of jamming and improvisation on stage, wherever the wind takes us.”
His newly released deluxe (2 CD) anthology album – titled Crossing Borders, Driving North – comprises his last seven solo albums. The bonus disc, Catching Trains – Nibs solo love through Europe, traces his live performances through Europe, Germany, France and the UK.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have my albums released in Europe and around the world. I’ve released an anthology and I think in everyone’s career, you have to take stock of what you’ve done and how far you’ve come, and I really feel like I’ve come some sort of a journey, musically. I feel like I needed to document what I’ve done. And the way I marketed this album is that even though it’s an anthology album, it could be my very first album for people who have never heard my music, so it’s a spring board for something new to come.”
It is no surprise that he has been in the music business for such a long time and is still going strong. He is highly talented. His music is genuine and extremely soothing.
What really captures you is his mesmerising voice and unique acoustic guitar style.
“My next album is going to be different. I’m taking a kind of sabbatical now, as far as I’m not going to release anything within the next year because I’m working on new material and new directions. Music is my life thread. It’s my expression of who I am and what I do. It’s not so much a hobby, but an extension of what I do, and I express myself through guitar and voice, and my songs, which come from real-life experiences. I might not be a guy of many words, but I’m comfortable enough playing music and expressing myself through my art,” he adds.
He is busy filming a documentary about himself and his career. It is set to be released next year. “It’s just kind of an EPK (electronic press kit) to send to the world. It will probably just be a YouTube kinda thing. But it won’t be played at the launch.”
What is the key to staying relevant as an artist? “Be true to yourself. My music somehow never fitted on the radio in South Africa. And it doesn’t worry me any more, like it did before.
“I’m a storyteller through my music, and it gets played in different countries. It’s got to impact on people and definitely speaks to the hearts of different people in different parts of the world, so it’s about being truthful. You’re merely a tool. I think it’s about affecting people’s lives, old and young, and helping them in a spiritual way where they are touched. I definitely see my gift as being used as a tool, like it’s from a higher force.”
• Don’t miss Nibs van der Spuy’s 25th anniversary show at The Italian Club in Durban North tomorrow at 7.30pm. Call 031 564 2567