South African singer and songwriter Simphiwe Dana holds a very special place in my heart. Her hit song Ndiredi was my father’s favourite track.
My father has since passed away, but Dana’s music lives on.
Another Dana high point of mine was attending the spectacular showcase The Simphiwe Dana Symphony Experience concert held at the Kyalami Theatre on the track in 2016.
A first of its kind in South Afica, the beautifully curated show featured international artists - Nigerian singer Asa and Concha Buika of Equitorial Guinea, among others.
What made the experience even more special was the presence of Mam’ Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who was seated right behind us. This live show was also where Dana's latest album, titled The Simphiwe Dana Symphony Experience, was recorded.
The album is divine, Dana’s strong and raw vocals accompanied by a 60-piece and 30-piece choir make for an unforgettable sound.
I could go on and on about her powerful stage presence and unapologetic African dress style, but it’s best you witness this yourself.
The songstress will perform at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) on Saturday at the Kippies stage. I spoke to her about her upcoming show.
Please tell us about the performance. Any new tricks up your sleeve we can look forward to?
This is going to be a very big and special performance for me. It’s going to be a memorable experience.
For the first time, I’ll have an all-women band and we’re doing something very sentimental: a tribute to fallen heroes such as Tata Madiba and Bra Hugh Masekela. I’ve also invited some industry friends to join me for this show. The fans are definitely in for a great treat.
You are a well respected and accomplished musician; what has been a major influence in your career development?
To be honest, I have really just been myself and I have stuck to who and what I know. I’m very honest about what I want, how I want it, who I work with and what product I’m looking for. I truly do not rest until I’ve achieved a certain level of excellence.
So, I think those character traits have contributed a great deal in shaping the artist that I am today. I have also observed and taken some great lessons from legendary artists before me.
You have released several hits, my all time favourite being Ndiredi. Which song of yours are you most connected to and why?
Oh wow. That’s a tough question; all my music is quite special to me. However, I can cite a few songs that are quite close to home: Zandisile, Mayine and Nzinga are a few of my favourites.
Can you tell your fans three things we don't know about you?
I’m an introvert and can be very socially awkward. I suffer from depression and I use humour as a coping mechanism. I can be a complete walkover when I love someone.
When you are not making music what do you like to do?
When I’m not making music I love to spend quality time with my kids and really just make up for the time lost when I’m not around. I get to hear about everything they’ve been up to. I also love to host dinner parties for friends. I’m a good cook and I love sharing that experience with those who’re close to me.
* For the full jazz festival and tickets visit http://www.capetownjazzfest.com/