Donovan Copley is one of the most energetic people I have met. The lead singer and creative brain behind Hot Water is an extremely intelligent, funny man who also happens to be a gifted musician.
He answers the phone sounding as like the beginning of a voicemail. Yet for all his quirkiness, his band are one of the most well-travelled acts in the past eight years, which is how long they have been together.
They headlined the Chiang Mai International Arts Festival in Thailand last month.
They have toured Europe frequently, playing to larger and larger crowds until they graduated to the main stages at festivals in a few countries.
Their hit song Wamkelekile is in the process of being signed to a major blockbuster film in the US.
However, because of the delicate stage of negotiations, he is not yet at liberty to say which film it is, but it’s safe to say it features leading Hollywood stars.
They will also open for UB40 in Cape Town on Friday.
The band are also releasing the Hot Water Live DVD, appropriately on Freedom Day. It’s appropriate because Copley’s music is a good mix of many South African cultures and picks up where Johnny Clegg’s genre left off.
However, far from being stuck in the early ’90s, there is an edge to the music which reflects his slightly cynical attitude to life. Also, expect a new album some time in summer.
Then it becomes a tad odd. Copley wrote the theme song for Kalahari Resorts which is a series of holiday resort and African- themed park.
The young man is sitting pretty happy with all of this.
“I have two children and my own record label, SikiSiki Records. I feel very happy with what I do. I am extremely blessed and grateful.
“I want to be seen more in South Africa, but it’s not that important.
“There is a balance between what I have done, a deep-seated satisfaction in terms of the international performances.”
And the song, Kalahari Resorts, how did that come about?
“I have been focusing on songwriting again and this song has a sense of something African.
“I am one quarter Afrikaans and that reflects in the music and the band I play with. There is a certain layer which says, ‘if it is too African it becomes too traditional’. So clearly the owners loved the song and took it on.”
Because of their name and the type of accessible South African music they play, Hot water was also featured on the City of Cape Town’s campaign for solar water heaters.
“Yeah, it kinda makes sense. We cut the video and two days later we had a blackout,” he chuckles.
For the live DVD, Donovan explains that the music is only 30 to 40 percent of the show.
“The point is, the show has become an interaction and unity because we have been together for eight years. I am a visual performer where the unexpected can happen. It will be streamed live on MK on April 27.
“I am allowed to be whacky and that’s what I focus on. That is the space I am going to. I do whatever I want to do. I’ve stood on my head on stage before, but only for a short while.”
So with all this action having taken place over the past few months, what can we expect from this man and his new album? The answer is surprising: “I’ve started writing love songs.”