Beat Bulletin October 2017

Dear SAMRO Member

What sets you apart from the rest? With so many talented artists and performers around, the music and arts space can be brutally competitive. Added to this, the ever-evolving market and trends that you have to contend with make it difficult to shine above the rest. It’s important to stay true to your talent and cater to your niche. Equally important is continuously expanding your reach and evolving with the times and needs of your market – and, who knows, maybe even gaining new fans in unexpected places in the process.

Ours is a country blessed with boundless talent, yet in the music industry, even ingenuity is not always enough. You have to work hard to make an impact and a case in point is singer-songwriter Zoë Modiga, who we speak to in this issue on her rise and journey to stardom.

We also chat with George Hattingh, the Academy of Sound Engineering’s Director: Marketing and Communications, about the value of being useful in more than one space by expanding into television and the screen arts.

Bring out the champagne! Congratulations are in order for SAMRO composer and publisher member Fred Woods, whose catalogue is highly regarded around the globe and who recently won a major music production award in the United States.

It’s no easy feat to take on the world on your own. Worry not, there is help at hand. We discuss how managers play a vital role in the career of a recording artist and will help you navigate this exciting but complex journey.

The Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) Awards have been honouring South African legends, stalwarts and inspirations in the South African arts and culture sector for the past 20 years.  SAMRO is a proud sponsor of the 20th edition of the ACT Awards that will be taking place on Friday 17 November 2017. Get your tickets soon.

The festive season is nearing, so have a look at our gig guide for fantastic live performances and shows to get you into the holiday spirit.

Till the next issue, enjoy!

André le Roux
Executive General Manager: Brand and Marketing


Palesa Nomthandazo Phumelele Modiga’s ID book already contains enough names but if she could add one more, it would surely be Audacious. Her wardrobe could be described as bold – so, too, the album sleeve for her debut album, Yellow: The Novel. But bold is too bland an adjective to describe this young star in the making.

Ours is a country blessed with boundless talents, yet in the music industry, even ingenuity is not always enough. It demands everything of those who dare call themselves musicians, with no promise of any rewards. It can provide musicians with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. It can chew you up and spit you out. Zoë Modiga can list plenty of examples of some of her idols who have witnessed their zenith and soon plummeted to the nadir of their careers.

Yet, this 23-year-old Durban-born seems more assured in her voice (and image) than most newcomers we’ve witnessed in the past. Something about her suggests she will be just fine. To use a line from her epic 11-minute song, ‘Shake the World’, “there would be blood on my hands if it didn’t shake the world that I was here.”

She jokes that she wants to perform on the moon, or the planet Saturn, one day. “Okay, that might be far-fetched. I just want to stay level-headed, and I know that I am going to soar because I haven’t given myself any option not to,” she says.

Modiga, winner of SAMRO’s 2015 Overseas Scholarships Competition for jazz singers, began her long journey to Yellow: The Novel by attending the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg, where she trained in classical piano, clarinet and singing. Following that, she enrolled at one of the country’s best music schools, the University of Cape Town’s South African College of Music, specialising in jazz vocals. However, for undisclosed reasons, she was unable to complete her degree.

That’s when, as she puts it, “the album wrote itself”.

“I got inspired because us musicians often get inspiration from the darkest things. It was supposed to be the saddest time of my life, but ended up being inspiring. In that sense, the album crafted itself. The material floated out. I definitely owe that to something a lot bigger than myself,” she reflects.

She describes how she works and how she learns as “unorthodox”, but this only serves to strengthen her nonconformist identity.

Modiga picked herself up and auditioned for SAMRO’s Overseas Scholarships Competition in 2015, only to win it. The competition, which boasts successful alums including pianist Bokani Dyer and bassist Benjamin Jephta (incidentally, both contributed to her 23-track album), has been held for more than 50 years.

As one of the SAMRO Foundation’s flagship music education awards, the competition rotates on a four-yearly cycle, alternately rewarding vocalists, instrumentalists, keyboard players (pianists and organists) and composers.

But Modiga chose not to take up her scholarship immediately (she’s yet to), because she wanted to audition for reality TV singing competition The Voice on M-Net. She felt it would help “set up a few things career-wise”. There, she was mentored by multiplatinum-selling and award-winning singer Lira, who helped see her “protégée” into the top eight of the competition.

Several record labels tried to snap her up, but eventually she decided that if she was to soar like an eagle, she would have to fly solo. Yellow: The Novel was then released independently.

“When I look at Yellow, I don’t think I could align it to any label, certainly not locally,” she says. “I really did want to bet on myself with this work. I wanted my debut to be me introducing myself to the world as I am without feeling like I needed to compromise myself – be it my image, sound or aesthetic. I write songs, I sing them, I produce them, I work with amazing musicians and I believe in being seen in this light.”

She continues: “Even the things I stand for at this point in my life, I feel like it would be difficult for any corporate company to attach itself to that. I really want to change the spaces I exist in. I have enough to do it alone.  It’s a lot of work but I have enough in me to go it by myself.”

One thing is for sure: there are many who are rooting for her to succeed. What does it mean to the young Modiga to have the endorsement of some of the biggest names in the industry? “It’s more than heart-warming! I grew up listening to these people. As much as I grew up listening and watching Beyoncé, I also had national examples like Thandiswa, Lira, Simphiwe Dana and Boom Shaka.

“So, having someone who has opened a lot of doors for me without even knowing that, and having them receive my work like this, is a big deal. Anybody would want to be attached to their kind of brilliance.”


George Hattingh, the Academy of Sound Engineering’s Director: Marketing and Communications, spoke to us about how music creators can extend their scope and earning potential by exploring new avenues in the industry – such as music production across television, film and other screen media.

Question: Tell us about the Academy of Television and Screen Arts? How is this different from sound and production studies?
The Academy of Television and Screen Arts is a department or faculty of the Academy of Sound Engineering and has been in existence since 2013. We focus on the technical aspects of the television industry.

Q: Many artists and musicians aren’t aware of all the lucrative “behind-the-scenes” production work that’s available. How do you think the industry can best promote these other avenues?
 By focusing on the value of being useful in more than one space. An aspiring young musician that has “blinkers” on and only allows themselves the chance to be successful in one particular sector or discipline within the industry will find themselves going up against many others who are also not looking at the bigger picture.

Make yourself valuable. That value gets you in the door, and from there you can explore all of the opportunities that come with being in the right place all the time – not just the right place at the right time.

Q: It can’t be easy promoting or submitting music for synchronisation services such as TV, film and adverts. Does the academy equip students to be business savvy and find success in synch services?
 One hundred percent: we have the most advanced music business, law and contracts curriculum available in South Africa, written by Nick Matzukis. Students going into that music space know exactly what to do when it comes to copyright, royalties, streaming, licensing, needletime and every other aspect of the music business.

Q: Do you think there is enough exposure to music education in South Africa?
There is never enough exposure. Content is king, and the industry needs to focus on finding new talent for new, exciting music content that can expose South Africa to the world.

Q: What advice would you give parents who might be wary of allowing their kids to study music?
Come and talk to us. If your child is passionate, then allow him or her to venture into an industry that they can blossom in and find their true potential. Forcing a young person to work in a sector that they have no interest in sets them up for failure, or at the very least limits their potential.

Q: Where can interested applicants get more information on the academy and course offering?
A: The Academy of Sound Engineering is based in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Visit for more details, email or go to


Prolific SAMRO composer and publisher member Fred Woods has a distinguished career in the business spanning more than 40 years, and his work has been described by many as “the soundtrack of our childhood.”

Now, Woods has added another illustrious feather to his cap by winning a major United States music award.

At a glittering ceremony held in Hollywood in October, his track ‘Fairy Dust’ won the Best Usage in a Trailer category at the prestigious Mark Awards, which reward excellence in production music in a range of audiovisual formats ranging from television programmes to feature films.

The track, from his Cute Music label, was used in the trailer for the Mad Max: Fury Road movie, incidentally starring South Africa’s own Charlize Theron.

These awards represent the very best talent in the world, and for a South African music professional to be recognised and acknowledged in such esteemed company is a great honour.

While playing in various bands in the 1980s, Woods used every spare moment to develop his composition and production skills, working with names such as Supa Frika, Melvyn Matthews, The Winners, Wings Segale and Abangani.

The studio that he ran with his wife, Lynn, in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, was a creative hub frequented by giants such as Rex Rabanye, Pamela Nkutha, Ringo Madlingozi, Nico Carstens, Mafika, Lady Thuli, Zwai Bala, Kabelo and Faith Kekana, and he played a major part in shaping the success of many of these artists.

A number of local artists got their first break and exposure to the industry under his guidance and nurturing, and went on to build highly successful careers with this very solid grounding.

Woods created many iconic TV theme tunes, including for the programmes Kideo, Jam Alley, Thabang Thabong, Galooby and Lesilo Rula.

Red Igloo Music, started by Fred and Lynn in 2003 is a respected independent publisher of production music, offering titles from many of the world’s leading brands. Their catalogues, Strange Fruit Music and Cute Music, are highly regarded around the globe.

Woods was a member of the SAMRO Board of Directors for six years and a trustee of the SAMRO Retirement Annuity Fund for 11 years.

He continues to create music on an ongoing basis, and is extremely grateful for the opportunities that the music industry has given him.


There are various types of music managers that play a vital role in the career of a recording artist.

Some musicians, especially those who are not signed to a major record label, choose to limit this to one or two managers. But those individuals who are signed to major labels will likely be assigned an in-house team of experts, including management, who have a wealth of experience within the music industry.

In this piece, we will focus mainly on artist managers, as this is the most common type of management in South Africa.

Artist managers take a more hands-on approach to assisting an artist with the day-to-day administrative side of things. They may help with booking performances, compiling contracts on behalf of the artist, ensuring that the technical riders are done properly and finalising travel arrangements and so on. The manager also assists with negotiating recording and publishing deals, as well as publicity, merchandising and any other task that might need to be dealt with.

In South Africa, artist managers also take on the role of tour or road manager; they traditionally take care of the logistics while the artist is on tour. Duties include making sure that everything is provided for as previously agreed to, and following up on what has been promised as part of the contract such as accommodation, payments and tour routing. They also communicate with the person who booked the artist.

A good manager is one who is able to further develop his or her client’s career. One of the critical roles that a manager plays is to provide advice on all areas of an artist’s professional life, forging relationships within the music industry in order to create opportunities as well as sourcing the best service providers such as accountants, lawyers, booking agents and publicists.

Simply put, artist managers are best viewed as collaborative partners in the ongoing career progression of an artist, band or music group. During difficult times, it is their job to keep the ship afloat by keeping business opportunities flowing.

As an artist, one needs to understand that managers work on a commission basis. So, whatever your manager negotiates on your behalf, he or she is going to take a percentage based on what you have agreed to. Often, this percentage is calculated on the total gross income received from gigs, merchandising, music used in movies or commercials and any other source of income generated by the artist.


The Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) will present the 20th edition of the ACT Awards on 17 November 2017 at the Sun International Maslow Hotel in Sandton.

The ACT Awards ceremony has been honouring legends, stalwarts and inspirations in the South African arts and culture sector for the past 20 years. The 2017 edition of this event is bound to be more glamorous than ever, with emcee Bridget Masinga from Kaya FM and entertainment provided by internationally acclaimed songstress Lira.

“We have selected the theme of celebrating South African legends to honour not only this year’s selection of winners, but also the long legacy that comes with our awards,” says Marcus Desando, CEO of ACT.

While the trust has many different programmes in place that aim to enrich the South African arts and culture landscape, the ACT Awards are seen as its flagship event. ACT has therefore decided to change the format of this year’s awards to a talkshow-style presentation to achieve a more intimate knowledge of the winners and the impact that they have had on the sector. Furthermore, ACT will be selling tickets to the public so that they too can share in this momentous event.

The Lifetime Achievement Awards are given to people who have consistently contributed to, sustained, grown and defined the South African arts and culture sector. Many of them have faced incredible personal, financial and political hardship in order to carry out the work that they do.

Here are the 2017 ACT Lifetime Achievement Award winners:

Arts advocacy (sponsored by Creative Feel Magazine): Lindiwe Mabuza
Dance (sponsored by JT International): Adele Blank
Visual arts (sponsored by Nedbank Arts Affinity): Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler of The Handspring Puppet Company
Music (sponsored by SAMRO): Dorothy Masuku
Literature (sponsored by DALRO): James Matthews

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Awards, an ImpACT Award winner will be revealed at the event.

For more information, visit


Rhythm Analysis @ The Orbit
1 November 2017 @ 8pm-11pm
The Orbit, 81 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg
Tickets available from the venue.

Kinsmen @ Alma Café
4 November 2017 @ 8pm-11pm
Alma Café, 20 Alma Road, Rosebank, Johannesburg
Tickets available from the venue.

Bernice Boikanyo @ The Orbit
23 November 2017 @ 8pm-10pm
The Orbit, 81 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg
Tickets available from the venue.

Arts and Culture Trust Awards
17 November 2017
Sun International Maslow Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg
Visit for ticket information.

Johnny Clegg and Friends: The Final Concert
11 November 2017 @ 8pm
TicketPro Dome, corner of Northumberland Road and Olievenhout Avenue, North Riding, Johannesburg
Tickets available at Computicket.

WhatsApp Northam Music Festival
4 November 2017 @ 6pm
Northam Sports Ground, Limpopo
Tickets available at Computicket.

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