With the country still coming to terms with the state of its mental healthcare system, Dana’s admission couldn’t have come at a more poignant time.
She has shared her struggle to remind others that they are not on their own. And as a person whose art is spiritual, as a healer through her music, she thought this was an important step.
Days ahead of the one-night performance that’s set to wow Joburg audiences at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City tomorrow, Dana sounded upbeat. When quizzed about how best she’d like fans to support her, her answer was simple: continue with the love.
“The majority of artists are dealing with this kind of thing and that’s why they’re so good at what they do. They are able to understand and articulate the human emotion for consumption for other people in a way that changes their lives as well.
What I am going through is not unique. That’s probably why they are artists to begin with.
“Depression and other mental illnesses open another window to enable them to understand the human condition better than the ‘normal’ person It’s nothing to be alarmed at, just show me love. That’s more than enough,” she said.
For the thousands of Dana supporters who will make their way to the Lyric Theatre, Dana said the performance would be a reunion of old friends.
“We have been reworking the songs, giving them a more spiritual element. We also have some new songs that will be performed. It will be a kind of reunion Maybe we will have one or two surprises in there.”
“Obviously there has been growth. There has been a year’s growth (in comparison with last year’s concert).
By way of new material, Dana explained that one of the changes that had taken place for her is that she was no longer “under pressure” to produce work according to a schedule.
Simphiwe Dana. Picture: Instagram
She was taking back her art from a somewhat crass politicisation and commercialism, giving herself the chance to give her art the reverence it deserves.
“I have been working on this album and I think I should be able to go into studio early in the new year. I am looking to see things happen organically, and not be too worried about (people saying), ‘Simphiwe you have not released in a while, it’s time to release something’, because that kind of mentality is what corrupts the arts. When you want to release something because it might be time now, you may not be emotionally ready to create work that’ll change people’s lives.
No more pressure
Dana said while she never has really subscribed to that belief, it’s something that’s been at the back of her mind.
“I’ve released myself from those kinds of pressures. I was born to create and that’s something I take very seriously. Because I take it so seriously, I don’t want to put myself under pressure. I feel the time is now right.”
Currently on her plate is an album of hymns, something she has wanted to work on for years.
“It fell into my lap, so to speak. I was approached by a church to rearrange their hymns for their 100-year celebrations. That happened and it’s sounded so good, (I thought) that should be an album.”.
As for the show, Dana said fans could look forward to an absolutely pleasurable auditory experience.
“I’d even say bring your kids as well many of my fans tell me of how they were first introduced to my music as teenagers, (how) it has stayed with them and how it’s helped them shape their lives.”
Tickets for An Evening with Simphiwe Dana at the Lyric Theatre tomorrow are on sale at Computicket.