Did you know that Richard Branson made his first million from the music industry?
As with Clive Calder, there is a strong South African connection here. First, it must be said that Richard Branson absolutely loved Nelson Mandela, and had huge respect for him. It was Nelson Mandela who asked Branson to help out an ailing gym company called Health & Racquet, which is why it eventually became Virgin Active. Read more
Rumour has it he still loves watching cricket at The Wanderers Stadium, and that his mom still lives in Orange Grove. This is Clive Calder we are talking about, referred to as one of the ‘Big Clives’ in the music biz, the other being Clive Davis, over the years the head honcho of a number of record labels and arguably the man who turned both Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys into stars. Read more
So what’s up with Beyoncé’s hubby? You have to admire the man who came from nothing and built an empire in the Empire State.
Now in his 40s, with the musical world at his feet, Jay-Z is testimony to the power of hard work. He and the wife are musical royalty, and they have been instrumental in helping presidents come to power. It’s particularly interesting that Barack Obama’s strategy for becoming the head honcho of the United States cleverly and strategically involved invoking the power of America’s two largest and most important cities: New York and Los Angeles. Read more
“Free-e-e-e-e-e Nelson Mandela,” belted Amy Winehouse a few years ago, long after he had been released from prison. She was singing at a 46664 concert, which Madiba had endorsed and wanted to have happen, for yet another wonderful philanthropic cause.
South Africa’s beloved leader, Nelson Mandela, never professed to be a musician of any sort. The country’s favourite father, who died in December 2013, was a great personal brand builder, but never showed an inclination for music. How is it then that his legacy is so inextricably linked to music? Read more
Let’s pretend to be Dennis Hopper and Keanu Reeves from Speed: “Pop quiz, hot shot! How many Idols winners or finalists can you name from the last ten years?”
Chances are, not that many. Started in 2001 in South Africa, Idols is the local spin-off of the highly popular British TV show Idol, and its American spin-off American Idol. It promised fame and possibly a few riches for the many who took part. And so they flocked to the cities from far and wide, to audition, and become the next big thing. Read more
If you take a drive along Enoch Sontonga Road, and pull into the Enoch Sontonga Park, you will find a small monument there to a man named… Enoch Sontonga!
Who was he? He was a musician who wrote Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, the beautiful prayer and hymn that is forever part of the South African national anthem.
It’s actually hard to believe that the apartheid government banned this song, considering it to be far too political. It’s also hard to believe that at one stage it enjoyed prominent status in Tanzania and Zambia, and is the national anthem of both, so far from its South African origins. Read more
Gangnam is apparently a swishy area of Seoul not unlike Beverly Hills, and is to Seoul, the capital of South Korea, what Beverly Hills is to Los Angeles.
It was relatively unknown to the world until a South Korean artist named Psy wrote a song about it, which turned into a huge Internet smash, with over two billion views on YouTube – the most watched video of all time on the Internet TV station. Read more
Did Chesney Hawkes know, when he was singing his mega-hit song The One and Only, that it would be his one and only hit? Doubtful. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20 vision, or hindsight is an exact science.
What is it about some people that allows them to have a sustainable long-term career in music, and others a flash in the pan one? Is it luck? Is it circumstance? Is it the fact that some take advantage of a situation, while others take less advantage of it? Someone once said that the difference between Madonna and Cindy Lauper is that Madonna kept on evolving, whereas Cindy did not.
The world’s stage is littered with artists who have had one hit, and then faded. Read more
Coffee and Boeing are not the only things that the Emerald City of Seattle have given the world. Its major contribution to the music scene is of course Grunge music, and Nirvana was the poster child of that music movement. Read more
In his controversial book Capitalist Nigger, Dr Chika Onyeani argues that one of the biggest problems with Africa is the fact that the continent gives the world raw materials that are taken overseas to the Northern Hemisphere, remade into something of value, and sold back to Africa at an enormous profit.
It seems though that this is not just the case with mineral resources, but also human ones – and the music industry is the perfect hotbed for it. Read more