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The first time I met Matthew Gold he was wearing a suit. It was earlier this month, at Shikisha in Jozi’s Newtown Cultural Precinct, for a lunchtime interview. The suit was unexpected, considering his music centres on dance – and he is from Cape Town; I was expecting a more casual jeans and cool tee look.
“I was at a television interview,” he explained shyly. Gold in a suit, admittedly, is easy on the eye. He is a good-looking boy and his tall frame is perfect for a suit.
His shyness soon fell away and he talked up a storm about his music and his history. Briefly, the story goes like this: he entered Idols and came somewhere in the top whatever, which meant he went to Sun City for some training. This, he says, is the only reason to enter Idols, because if you reach the top whatever, you learn a lot about performance at these workshops.
From there, television producers from SABC2’s youth show The Hectic 99 asked him to audition as a presenter. Needless to say he got the part. While the show is not as popular as Yo!TV, Gold says the teen market is active in celebrity followings, and he found a measure of fame. “I was one of the worst TV presenters for six months,” he smiles, but admits that he was not as bad as those on ANN7.
“If I do things enough I will get good at it.”
One thing led to another and he picked up a guitar and started writing music while studying at an art school in Cape Town. He says he also studied tap dancing: “I have tap shoes in my cupboard.”
Gold first came to national attention with his song No Ordinary Guy featuring AKA.
It is the first single from his second album, The Rush. The song is a match made in heaven for the two musicians and one would have sworn that they had been friends for life. But the two met only when Gold approached his management with the song and AKA agreed to be part of it, and flew down to Cape Town to record.
“I left a club and went home and wrote the song on a grand piano. It is about someone who wants greatness and another who has achieved greatness and now just wants to chill. AKA is the only one who could embody the latter because he did it all in such a short period of time. I thought this song would be a great platform to describe him.
“I recorded the entire song and sent it to him. He agreed immediately and we flew him down to Cape Town. Da Les came with.” (Of course Da Les did.)
“He got it down far beyond my expectations. He is totally different to what the media portray him as.”
For this album, Gold has teamed up with Goodluck’s Ben Peters and Jules, both of whom are Capetonians.
Most of the songs on the album are co-written with Jules and produced by Peters. The result is an album which is varied and interesting and reflects his wide vocal range. The songs have big commercial potential without selling out. Gold has clearly kept his artistic integrity close to his heart.
The variety is reflected in his second single, which is already climbing the charts. Where Are You Going is a swing-inspired double bass-driven dance track that will have everyone smiling and swinging their hips this summer.
Gold discovered it while going through the hard drive of discs in their studio. It was originally written by one half of Cape Town’s David Scott of The Kiffness.
About the music scene in Cape Town which has a strong dance focus, Gold says: “There is a tight community. If you need some help with, say, a chorus line, people will always help.”
On this album he has stuck with predominantly Capetonian producers. This includes a deep house track with Crazy White Boy and a pretty out-there track with Mr Sakitumi.
Gold has nothing but high praise for this brilliant producer and musician, who in the rock world is known as legendary drummer Sean ou Tim.
“On my album sleeve I thank him for hearing the sounds that no one else hears. I would create a track and he would help me with bass and drum ideas. He is so talented he can assist you with anything.”
“That is why I enjoy working with Ben, because he is also so talented.”
In the future he is also planning to do remixes of some of his tracks with another Capetonian duo, Pascal & Pearce.
“The Rush is a combination of the vocals that are me and the new production we are introducing to carry them.”
The second time I meet Gold is at Tanz Café in Cresta, Joburg, where he is set to open for Graeme Watkins Project at the launch of their second album, Soldier On. Again he is looking charming in a suit as he chills alone at the bar. This time he is far more animated in his greeting and his easy sense of humour shines through.
There is no evidence of his initial shyness as he chats confidentally with fans and industry types who have gathered for the launch.
His performance sees him singing passionately with some cool little dance moves in-between to show that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. An impressive showcase gig indeed. It also demon- strated the mark of Gold as an artist and a man. He didn’t try to upstage GWP, and understood his role on the night.
The next night I bumped into him again, this time at the annual Men’s Health fashion event. It was held at the über-hip Melrose Arch, the behemoth where you’re allowed to enter only if you’re fabulously thin and/or wealthy.
We greeted each other like old friends and his tailored look fitted in well with the rest of the Men’s Health elite. However, unlike many of the guests, Gold’s ego did not precede him.
In fact many people did not realise they had an up-and-coming superstar in their midst. They were way too busy preening and networking, as one does in the world of trendy magazines.
Gold went to the back of the audience where he stumbled upon an old friend and fellow Capetonian musician, Chad Saaiman. The two chatted throughout the event. It was really cool watching genuine discourse between two genuine musicians while the hot male models strutted their testosterone on the catwalk.
My prediction for Gold is that he is part of a new crop of artists who are setting the tone for the next decade in local music.
Between him and others such as Nakhane Toure, The Muffinz, Matthew Mole, Gangs of Ballet, Bongeziwe Mabandla and Vusi Nova, we have a pretty strong musical future ahead of us.