It’s that time of year again when we predict the 10 new artists whom we believe will make an impact on the South African music industry in 2013.
Last year we were mostly correct in our predictions. Dr Malinga is the hottest and funniest performer, not only because of the Mahoota track Via Orlando, but also because of his crazy dance moves.
Pascal and Pearce are the kings of dance. The Frown are still performing and making crazy videos. Nancy G landed cool gigs, but is still perfecting the album she’d promised fans last year. Loveglove Pyrotechnics have been plagued by work vs music vs work vs music issues. Blayze received a few cool sponsorships, but nothing more was heard of him in 2012.
The Spaza Shop Boys’ album was to have been released in October, but still no cigar. Big Fkn Gun are being played in a few European countries and wrapped a nationwide tour with Spoek Mathambo. Rapper Youngsta released Dollar$ and White Pipes with DJ Hamma. He has also been building on his career.
Now for 2013’s predictions.
Fruits and Veggies
They could only come from Durban. They mix a broadly-based punk inspiration with cool guitar riffs, a violin and a vocalist called Pure, who conjures up the ghost of Busi Mhlongo with the memory of Nina Hagen. Like most Durban bands, while they have been around for about four years, they are yet to make their mark on the national live music scene. They have a loyal following in Durban where they are also pro-active in organising and promoting their gigs in the city. Last year they were a highlight of Oppikoppi. It was exciting to see a new anarchic band as we cannot just dine on Van Coke Kartel and Shadowclub. They have released an EP called Ndaa and finished a demo album with Sonic Studios and Colin Peddie.
Said Pure: “We want to get the hell out of Durban and spread our music somewhere else.”
Here’s hoping they do because Fruits and Veggies has the ability to be the next big thing in South Africa.
Her debut album, Coming From Going To, is nominated for three Metro FM Music Awards, including Best Newcomer. We first encountered her when Shugasmakx featured her on his song and video, Take It Easy. Here she was, just another pretty girl with a great voice. However, her debut album and performances prove that Moneoa is a talent waiting to explode.
This girl has staying power. Aside from her successful album released last year through Bula Music, get ready for a slew of house hits from some of the country’s big guns. She has worked with Kent, Revolution, DJ Speedsta and Reason and this week starts work on a track with Culoe de Song.
But what is interesting about Moneoa is that her own music surpasses anything she does with house and hip hop producers. She is a deep Afro soul singer who is proud of her culture and sings lovingly about her coming of age.
She says: “If you listen to my music you’ll know what a conversation with me is like.”
“It’s not hip hop. It’s music infused with rap.” That is how Veezo, the latest rapper from Ghetto Ruff, describes his music. He had hip hop kids very excited with his track All I Do which received airplay on all the requisite radio and TV stations.
Veezo grew up in Botswana and came to Jozi to study. He has taken a sabbatical this year to focus on his music and is hard at work at the Muthaland Studios in Greenside, Joburg with his producer, Gordo. Listening to some of the unfinished tracks, we were impressed with his lyrical content which, happily, did not include the damnation of ho’s or the glorification of cars and booty. His music is challenging, which is a good thing – perhaps it will instill some depth in the youth.
“I am experimenting with genres on this album that other rappers are too afraid to work with. I also don’t want to feature people on this album. I want to do it on my own.”
The album will release this year.
The most interesting discovery of 2013! This female duo consists of a harpist and a vocalist whose range is only bettered by her emotional delivery.
They came to our attention when they started sessions at Melville’s Loft every Monday night last year. They do a few covers including Coldplay and Florence and The Machine. They do not, however, perform covers of Mozart or anything pre-1970. La Flur are determined to take the harp screaming distortion into the 21st century without the cheesiness of Andreas Wollenweider. But with the angst of Kurt Cobain. It is beautiful, surreal music, yet they understand pop which makes them accessible. Look out for them at Splashy Fen.
The Anti Retro Vinyls
Another Durban band to catch our attention. It was their name we first noticed . Then we enjoyed their videos on MK, then we spotted them on the national music scene.
And then Just Music signed them. And, if you’re signed to this indie label, the chances of making it are huge. Their stable includes Locnville, Shadowclub and Tailor. Plus, Just Music’s preferred producer is Matthew Fink.
The band has just finished recording their debut album, Trouble with Fink. It is due for release soon.
No predictions for the year would be complete without mentioning Kalawa Jazmee. They had a huge festive season with Oskido going gold and Vetkuk vs Mahoota’s Via Orlando featuring Dr Malinga still riding the charts.
While we are still reserving the right to observe if they will be successful with their venture into hip hop, we know this indie label is unbeatable in the house and kwaito genres. So just who are these young ’uns who are producing the dance hits for 2013?
There are the Infinite Boys – brothers Antony and Raphael Mabaso. They are responsible for Professor’s big hit, Mafingerprints, and DJ Pepsi’s biggest hit, Pride. They are also working with Dr Malinga on his new album and have previously worked with Tira, Big Nuzz, Fisherman and DJ Ganyani.
Kalawa also have their eye on DJ Micks whom they believe has big potential. He helped to engineer on Professor’s latest album and is working on future projects.
“Working for Kalawa Jazmee is an eye-opener,” admits young DJ Micks. “It has shown me how the industry has worked and I’ve learnt a lot, particularly from Bruce Dope.”
Others on the label to look out for are Mapiano and Mono-T, who not only produce, but are DJs, too. These two are firm favourites, particularly with the kwaito artists on the label.
Then there is the talkative Pex Africah who, along with the others, worked on Oskido’s Tenth Commandment. These young producers have injected the necessary lifeblood to keep Kalawa Jazmee on top of their game.
Cape Town’s music scene has exploded over the past three years, particularly in the electronic genres. In fact, aside from Pretoria’s Bitter-einder, Cape Town is electronica.
This band make purist music with a view that it must never stray towards the mainstream. Their music must be soul-searchingly honest, experimental and very precise. They’ve a reputation on the underground scene as perfectionists and are known as a musicians’ band.
There are hooks in their heavily experimental tracks, but be prepared to be challenged with their new sound. It is doubtful the band will make it onto the Top 20 charts of the likes of 5FM etc, but that’s okay, because without bands like Battaleur, music will have no future.
After signing to Impact Sounds, a record label owned by Motswako producer Thasman, at only 17 years old and finding no joy, Cassper Nyovest brought his own blend of Motswako to Jozi.
Now 22, the artist born Refiloe Phoolo first burst on to the scene as a featured guest on Hip Hop Pantsula’s Wam’tsiba Mthoo, but his hit singles, Wahala and the new Gusheshe Music have helped him carve is own path.
“Aside from working with Jabba (HHP), I also won a season of Jika Majika and am still waiting for my prize,” laughs the young gun who was named the No 1 Unsigned Artist for 2011 by a local hip hop magazine.
“That was all before I was signed,” he says. “Now I’m signed to Jabba’s Lekoko Entertainment and will release my first album, I Love You Tsholofelo between March and June of this year.”
Cassper will also have production credits on songs by KG (of Morafe) and Okmalumkoolkat (of Dirty Paraffin) this year.
Last year was a great one for the Capetonian formerly known as I Am Waves. Born Yannick Ilunga, the 20-something is now simply known as Petite Noir.
Off the strength of his alt-pop (and in some parts minimalist r&b) sounds, Petite Noir was signed to the UK recording company Domino Records towards the end of last year.
“It’s a pretty good international label,” said the half-Angolan, half- Congolese artist.
“After I signed I went on a tour with The Foals and we just toured the UK. I played France, Portugal and Italy, too. With Domino I put out two new tracks called Disappear and Til We Ghosts.
“I will be releasing my debut album – which doesn’t have a name yet – this year as well as a new video soon.
“Also look out for the clothing label I have with my crew, it’s called The Drone Society.
“I’ll be in the US in March and then touring Switzerland, France and the Netherlands straight after that.”
The Future Primitives
Although they are relatively new, this Capetonian three-piece is like something from the past. Their early work is frequently described as psychedelic rock and their national performances have seen them put fans and newcomers on a high.
With a debut LP called This Here’s The Future Primitives, it’s clear that the trio isn’t a run-of-the-mill act. The Future Primitives have been bubbling under in Cape Town for months. Their unique sound paid off when they were chosen to open for US indie band, The Drums last year. This helped to give them a national spotlight.
Their latest offering, Songs We Taught Ourselves, was conceived just in case the Mayans were wrong about the world ending. This year, they hope to teach crowds across the nation the very songs they’ve taught themselves.
The Future Primitives play by their own rules: they can only be reached if they want to be. And something tells us they definitely want to be reached by music lovers this year.