Singjay NC Dread is one of the hardest working artiste in South Africa right now. He just returned from a promotional tour in the Uk last month. He is currently in the studio working on another hit single, and about to release a video for his other hit tune Games. He will be traveling to Greece to perform and promote his music there and also working on his EP due for release in 2015. There is just no stopping him! He took some time off to chat with MzansiReggae about the Tour in the UK, his music and plans for the future.
MzansiReggae [MR]: How did your journey as a musician begin? (At what point in your life did you decide that you would like to pursue a career as a performing artist?)
I used to sing in church choirs, accappella groups and used to do freestyle during Bashment Sound live sessions. It was on my birthday in November 2012 when I decided to record a song through Soulful Records for fun and this song, entitled Always, is what changed everything!
MR: Tell us about your new album/project. Which artists/producers are you working with?
I have several projects that are in the works already and I will be working with some African artists, from central and west Africa and not to forget locally as well. Internationally, we are in talks with very significant and well-known artists, so people should watch out for that. In terms of riddim producers I will be working with African, Jamaican and UK producers. The studio that will be responsible for the recording, mixing and mastering will remain Soulful Records headed by LaSoul based in Cape Town and that is where the quality that I am known for comes out! If artists are interested in the same quality they should contact email@example.com.
I am also working on my very first video that I am very excited about because it is going to be different in every aspect and will represent all that I stand for which among other things is high quality! The song will be on the very successful “Games” which featured my friend and colleague LaSoul. Why ‘Games’ you may ask? Well it’s because the song made it into mainstream radio stations (officially play-listed) and was enjoyed by everyone irrespective of their love for other music genres other than reggae. I believe it will be successful beyond any doubt!
MR: How has the general response to your previous work been? What have you learnt from that experience?
It was difficult at first. As a new artist not so many djs wanted to work with me because they had not heard about me although they enjoyed my music when they heard it and they would prefer to drop popular songs during sessions than those of an upcoming local artist. On the other hand, when the people heard my music they dismissed it as another upcoming Jamaican artist and there was some reluctance to support me. My team and I pushed my music through social media and with time the response grew, overwhelmingly if I may say, and that got the attention of prominent radio deejays. The rest, as they say, is history. My mixtape “This is who I am” made the difference in my music career because it was through it that people began to accept and like me for my style as seen by most of the songs making it to number one in radio chart shows. I have learnt that it takes more than just going to the studio to make a number one song; that is just half-way in the journey of making a HIT. You need to get your music out there. Thank you to all the deejays that believed in my work and actually pushed it when I started off. Special mention goes to Bashment SA; DJ Fanta; Tandaring Dawta; Admiral and Jah Seed; Ras Muto and Isaac; Bashmouth and all the other djs that have been there and continue to support my music…THANK YOU!
It is also worth mentioning that PGC [www.facebook.com/pgcboutique], a local clothing company has endorsed my work and provides me designer clothing head to toe. It is because of PCG that I look so fresh and so clean everyday and press a #CleanStamp. Such gestures give me the strength and motivation to continue developing as an artiste.
MR: You are one of the few signed up with a professional artist management company, how do you find it.?
It’s been fruitful and I attribute that to expressing my expectations to the team such that when plans are made on my behalf they are in line with my goals. It is difficult to concentrate on both the creative and administrative processes that come with being an artist. You need a team to take over from the moment you step out of the studio with a finished product.
MR: Was it successful? In terms of what you set out to do?
Yes it was! I had goals set out prior to the tour and I’m glad to say each of those where achieved.
MR: Why did you choose the UK?
It was mostly because it has a lot of African and Jamaican influence and therefore was a good place to start outside of Africa. As you may know we are also working with the Fras Twinz from Jamaica, and they had a hand in some of the activities I was involved in during my tour in UK.
MR: Did you do any live performances or was this just a promotional Tour?
It was predominantly a promotional tour. I did however do a performance while I was in London and as a result of my interviews and meetings there were more bookings for performances within and outside London than I could handle but time constraints were an unfortunate factor.
MR: What were your highlights of the trip?
The numerous radio interviews I had; ‘business meetings’ with significant and well known reggae artists based in London; links with UK based producers; a feature on the Jamaica star newspaper regarding the tour; and of course touring London as a tourist would!
MR: Did you make any South African/African links based there?
Yes I did and it was djs mostly. They played a role in logistics and linking up with other music personalities.
MR: You conducted a couple of interviews on a couple of radio stations, how did that go?
Very interesting, quite entertaining and mostly eye opening regarding what the world out there perceives ‘African music’. Note that I actually use the words African and not specifying a country because that is how they see us regardless of where you come from in Africa! This is how I knew with every interaction that I was not representing myself or country but Africa!
For links to my interviews follow me on Instagram “ncdread” or twitter @ncdread or like my page “NC Dread Official”
MR: What are you bringing back? What experiences shaped your trip?
A wealth of knowledge in the way the reggae industry works in the UK; solid contacts with key individuals as stated before; play-listing of my tunes in numerous radio stations (and that list is still growing!); and a growing fan base in the UK and Africa.
An important learning from the tour was that a lot more needed to have gone into the planning regarding the logistics of my tour. There were opportunities that were missed out because some distances were underestimated and since my diary was fully booked it was impossible at times to do or attend to some things all in a day!
MR: On your last interview before leaving, you emphasised that it was not you alone, but the movement, you carried the African Banner. Can you break it down to us what that means? Was it a heavy load to carry?
It’s funny how my intention turned out to be the fact. As I explained earlier that I was perceived as an African and not just as a person representing a specific country. The people there do not see the borders in Africa; it is as if to them Africa is one big country! What I meant by carrying the African banner was to prove to the world out there that as African musicians we have our place in the ‘mainstream’ of international reggae music alongside the likes of Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, I Octane, Demarco.
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Link up on Twitter @ncdread | @bashmentsound | Facebook: NC Dread Official (Facebook)