Jade Hubner. Picture: Gareth Barclay

For Jade Hubner being a young and beautiful presenter on Top Billing just isn’t enough, she wants more. 

With the release of her debut single, Midnight Feels, the 24-year-old has made a bold move by stepping out of her comfort zone and venturing into music.

It’s a summery Wednesday afternoon when Hubner and producer Mirage, with whom she collaborated on Midnight Feels, stop by our offices at The Star to chat about this new adventure. DJ Viktoria, who also formed part of the song’s creative team, is a bit late having mistakenly booked and boarded a flight from Cape Town to Lanseria, instead of the one to OR Tambo with Hubner and Mirage.

Earlier in the day, Hubner made her first live television performance of this new song on SABC 3’s Expresso Morning Show. 

It’s been a week of firsts. “Our first gig was at Shimmy Beach Club on Sunday and that was like our first live performance ever,” she explains. The week also included the single debuting on radio as well as a live interview on 5 FM.

Hubner started singing at age four and at the age of 10 took on playing instruments such as the flute, piano and guitar. Today, Hubner considers herself a presenter, actress, dancer, singer and MC. Oh, and she’s in the final year of her studies towards a BCom degree.

“It’s something I’ve always done,” she explains of her loaded skill set. “I just grew up doing those things, I love it so much. I’ve never understood why one has to choose. Think about it, it’s like if you love eating burgers and ice-cream and chocolate why must you choose?” It’s a simple, unbridled way of looking at things, one that underscores Hubner’s adventurous spirit.

I ask her about the timing of this release and the process of putting it all together. “I think I’m heading on two years on Top Billing this year and it was more of a case of this was always a part of the dream. And it was always on the bucket list. I have to do it, I needed to know, and I’ve been dying to do it. I think I dipped in my confidence and I went through a phase where I felt like I wasn’t good enough to do it. And I questioned myself.”

DJ Viktoria arrives as she’s telling this story, and the conversation shifts to how the trio came to work together. She tells of how she knew DJ Viktoria before Top Billing and how the two bumped into each other late last year and planned to do this song. 

They eventually came together in January where they had a tight window to put everything together seeing as Hubner’s break from Top Billing was limited only to January. “I took a month off from everything,” DJ Viktoria says. “Jade said when we met at this party where it all came together, let’s really do this. We decided if we are gonna commit, let’s commit.”

And that’s what they did. “It was a process where everything tied together really well,” adds Mirage. “We did come close to scrapping the song but everything came together. What I really liked about it was that it only came from the three of us and the three of us alone. Only we were part of the creative process.”

It was a rigorous process that saw them churn out several songs over that period before they settled on this one. The result is a kind of generic pop sound that seems tailored for radio. It’s catchy and it’s easy to sing along to, just as Hubner intended it to be: “You can listen in the morning and you can listen in the evening. I also wanted a track that was slightly in the genre of dance.”

Despite this being a sound she hopes to hone in the near future, she also has the ambition to push herself and explore more vocally challenging songs.