Here is what she had to say…
Q: What changes have you seen in SA music in the last 10 years?
A: Women have moved to the forefront of South African music. Since Judith Sepuma, who introduced the listeners to Afro and Jazz mix, our music has turned around and there has been a significant increase of women in music. Women are introducing interesting and exciting sounds. Since the world has been curious about South African music, we are seeing a lot of opportunities for South African music internationally. South African musicians are also collaborating a lot with international acts, especially with other African musicians.
Unfortunately CD sales have gone down, and this has been very challenging for upcoming musicians. However, they need to learn alternative ways of marketing their music, given these industry changes, and learn to do things themselves instead of relying too much on recording companies.
Q: What do you think is important for SA musicians to remember when making music?
A: Tell and recite South African stories through music, it is all about bringing it back home. It makes no sense to try to be like everybody else when we have unique and diverse cultures in our country, and have an opportunity to tell our stories to the world through music. Our diversity sets us apart from the rest of the globe. It makes us special and we should explore music opportunities in our diversity.
Q: What do you think makes a song a hit or a flop?
A: People love catchy music. As our audiences become smarter, musicians need to look into what people want, which platforms they utilise and find smart ways to reach their audiences. Create a balance by reaching out to audiences in a way that they understand and can relate to. The key point is to get your listeners to understand what your music is about and keep to that genre so that they associate it with you. Make sure that your music is easy to remember.
Q: How do you market new song releases?
A: Airplay and interviews are the best ways to get a new release heard. Audiences learn from repetition, that’s how Americans have managed to get it right. So when you release a new song, just get it out there and get it heard, over and over again.
Q: How can musicians market their music with a low- cost budget?
A: Find alternative ways of doing things. Explore digital marketing platforms to market your music; social media continues to present musicians with opportunities to expand their works at very low cost. Put yourself out there. Facebook and Twitter are great low-cost marketing platforms that if used effectively can yield really great results. Marketing music is all about having it out there.
Q: What advice would you give to musicians starting out?
A: They need to look for opportunities to get their music played. If you are invisible, nobody will ever know you. Look for places to play your music. People need to know who you are. And along the way you will get to learn tricks. So take the chance and get your music out there.
Q: What are your thoughts about music and education?
A: Education makes you sound refined as a musician. I have appreciation for education, and would have loved the opportunity to further my studies. Over the years, I have found that education also means reading and being informed. I read a lot of informative books such as science and psychology books, and appreciate the insights that I get from those books.
Q: What has been the impact of your SAMRO membership on your work as a musician?
A: There was a time in my life when things were very difficult and it felt good to have that SAMRO pay cheque. In fact, that cheque actually got me my first car. I have seen great benefits from the role that SAMRO has played in the collection and administering of my works, it feels even better on a good year.
Q: What are your thoughts on SA music industry today compared to 20 years ago?
A: It has really declined. Twenty years ago, people were selling 500 000 tapes a year. Today people hardly buy CDs anymore. And some of the companies that used to make CDs have closed down. The music industry overall has become very difficult. If people just want the fame without the hard work, they will never make it.
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: I am touring the country with the Lira: Her Story tour which will end in March next year. I will probably have an album at just about the same time. But we will see as time goes by.
Q: What advice would you give to young people entering the music industry?
A: Have a vision for yourself. Be willing to do the work and there is no formula for this game. The South African music industry is a big pie and you just have to come with what you have and be the best that you can be.