Benny Afroe keeps music dream alive with 'This Feeling' single
Johannesburg - Benny Afroe’s genre-fluid music is making him stand out from the rest. The 26-year-old creative from Mpumalanga is not allowing anything to dictate what his music should sound like.
“I don’t allow the compounds of genre to dictate the kind of music I make. I make what feels natural and whatever I feel people will connect with. I make honest music, and whatever it turns out to be genre-wise, that’s what it is going to be.”
Growing up in two small towns, Benny Afroe, whose real name is Benny Riba, was surrounded by music from his musical father.
“I grew up listening to my dad play the music and I later started learning how to play instruments like the keyboard, and I fell in love with it. Before I knew it, it was something I wanted to do with my life and everything in me, and now here we are.”
He started playing instruments at 14 but had a hard time convincing his father, who had been in the entertainment industry, that he could do music full time.
“He wanted to protect me from the struggles and advised me to study towards something else first and then do music later. My grades were good and I enrolled in law school. By second year, things started to go off the rails because I wasn’t really invested in it and I wasn’t giving it as much time.”
Between producing music and trying to make a name for himself, Riba found himself losing focus as the music kept taking over.
“Eventually, I went to study for a music degree at Afda. I graduated about a year ago. At that point my dad had already seen that I am invested in the music. It was a one-way route and no turning back from what I was becoming. The music had become a big part of my life.”
On his latest single, This Feeling, he features award-winning vocalist Ami Faku.
“She brought a voice I thought would work for the song, and it was so organic how we made it.
“We were chilling at her place and the producer was playing different beats, and this one beat played and both of us liked it. We had similar melodies for it, laid down our verses and it was like magic.
“This Feeling is about an old-school love affair and expressing you’re hopelessly in love.”
While working towards a bigger body of work, Riba said he would be releasing singles.
“I’m not sure yet what to include because there is a lot of music and I have to be sure about what I put out there. For now, it’s singles for people to get a chance to hear the music because it deserves people’s ears.”
While the lockdown posed its own challenges, Riba managed to book online shows through his partnership with Jagermeister.
Riba wants new ears and fans to follow the story.
“I want them to pick up something that resonates with them in their own lives. As people, we share the same struggles and if someone can hear my story and how I came out of it, that for me is great because we are all helping each other grow.”