South African singer and songwriter Cara Frew has raised $30 000 (just over R400 000) towards her debut album titled Flame, which is set for release in January.
Frew has two Extended Play (EP) records under her belt, and this debut album means a lot to her because she has finally found her sound, which means she is no longer chasing genres like she used to.
“I started off very much in the pop world, obviously your Madonna and Michael Jackson, and Beach Boys, although we listen to a lot of jazz at home.
So it was finding out where I want to sit in the industry that mattered to me,” she said.
Frew was initially very pop-like, and then went on to be more jazzy, to earthy and cinematic pop when she did an EP with Dan Heath in LA.
“I was doing that because I thought pop wasn't cool enough, and everyone was like it’s not cool, you gotta be cool. So you sort of try and fit into what other people want you to be.
"But then I just found out that pop is really what I wanna do, and what I love. There are so many different kinds of pop, and styles of pop," she explained.
“You’ve got your house which is pop at the moment because it’s popular music, so then I did the feature with Black Coffee and then it got me into the House world. I actually love listening to quite chilled out music with a bit of beats, so that suited me really well.”
Frew’s aha moment came last year when she did the Ultra Music Festival at Miami and Coachella Valley Music Arts Festival at California early this year with Black Coffee. He introduced her to his team, who then put her into a songwriting session.
“I connected with this writer, and I think it’s really then when I found my sound, because he was not just a co-writer that sort of just brought his ideas and that was that. We really worked together, and we sat and discussed my musical direction and what do I wanna sound like. I was really lucky to have worked with him this whole year on this album,” she said.
The 25- year-old LA -based singer is in the country to promote her single Free, and she described the 13-track album as electronic pop, with a few African influences inspired by beats and rhythms.
Frew says South Africa has good artists, but in terms of levels, there are so many more artists in America, and it's a competition game. She credits that as something that has always kept her on her toes.
“If you've got 300 000 people to compete against, you are gonna up your game every day so your music is gonna be topping the charts. Whereas in South Africa, I think we are still a small community, and you got your Black Coffee who are doing incredibly overseas, because he is mixing with those guys, and competing with them.”
She said unless South Africans leave their bubble and compete internationally there won't be any growth. She said a lot are doing that and it's great, because South Africa has a lot of talent.