It must have been at least 10 years ago that I went with some friends to Gillooly’s Farm in Bedfordview, one early spring day before the rains came. There she was, walking down the pathway towards the restaurant, with a couple of her mates. Now I must admit, I have never been much of a groupie, but when saw her (and if I’m not mistaken, it was actually a fellow muso friend who pointed her out to me), I ran up to her like a big kid in a sweet shop, and spoke to her. I first said that I loved her music, and that I was also trying to get more into the music industry.
What happened next was absolutely devastating.
As I recall, PJ Powers was born Penelope Jane Dunlop in Durban. I read an article that she worked in a bank for a total of 11 months, before she packed it in and decided that music truly was her calling. Feel so strong with Steve Kekana is still a phenomenal song, and although I totally respect and admire him for going on to study law, I will never understand why he didn’t do more in the music industry. Maybe sometimes when you’re at the top you have nothing left to prove.
That fateful day at Gillooly’s, PJ was wonderfully warm and receptive when I ran up to her. She was friendly and very kind (and patient) – but when I told her I wanted to be more involved in the music industry, she told me not to even bother. She didn’t say it because she thought I wasn’t good enough – she said it because it’s a tough industry, and perhaps on that day she did not really feel that she had made the best choices by being in music.
Maybe that’s why she battled with booze for so many years, because it’s been a rough road, as pointed out in her new autobiography, Here I Am.
PJ burst my bubble – and I am grateful – not only because she educated me about the music industry, but also because she taught me that even though you may sometimes think music is not worth doing, in the long run you cannot walk away. I am sure her book is filled with wonderful information about her admirable career, her family and friends, and her personal struggles. I for one am glad that she never quit.
Find Here I Am at Exclusive Books.