UK-based Cape queer muso gains local fame
Cape Town musician Dope Saint Jude tackles life as a queer black woman in the music industry, through self reflection and working on a debut album during lockdown in the UK.
Born Catherine Pretorius, the artist grew up in Elsies River.
The 30-year-old’s song Grrl Like was used in the trailers for the South African Netflix series Blood & Water, which she said has helped sustain her financially during lockdown.
“I am very grateful to them for using my song as the main promotion song. I am happy that I am getting acknowledgement back home. My songs are being picked up by major brands, but it is always happening in other countries and doesn’t happen at home,” she said.
Grrrl Like has already been used for the Apple TV show Dickinson, Anime Netflix show Kipo and in a leading car manufacturer's advert overseas.
“Blood & Water is the first time that it (Grrrl Like) was picked up by an African production, so it’s the first time my peers, back home, see me get this kind of deal. It’s nice to be recognised by my country and continent,” she said.
Through the Cape Town drag scene she created her persona “Saint Dude”, which she based on US rapper and songwriter Lil Wayne.
“I left drag, then enjoyed writing and performing my own lyrics. That was when I learnt music production and created my own music,” she said.
“I think that as a queer artist you have to fight extra hard. Being a queer black woman in the music space is a lot of work.
“Everyone expects you to carry the whole queer community on your shoulders and while I have done that, I knew that I couldn't really make the same living in Cape Town as I could overseas.”
Dope Saint Jude has been living in London since 2018. “When I got here I thought that I really liked the place and that I would do better in terms of my music here,” she said.
Her debut album will reflect on her experiences of developing as a young woman and how the queer scene affected her in Cape Town.
“Being part of the drag scene really changed my life. I will focus on the developmental aspects such as identity, queer and racial politics."
She hopes to develop her sound which won’t be strictly hip hop but rather her own approach and interpretation.