South African music is entering an exciting era of opportunity and progress as new markets open up for homegrown sounds. This was one of the key messages emerging from the 2013 Music Exchange Conference, which saw industry moguls and musicians congregating at the iconic Cape Town City Hall to talk about the serious business of music.
For three days, from 21 to 23 March 2013, the City Hall was abuzz with the sound of music – with a full programme of workshops and panel discussions on making it, marketing it, getting it heard on various platforms and ensuring that it moves with the times.
This independent music conference, now in its third year, attracted hundreds of experts and delegates from across the music spectrum – from composers and publishers to record company executives and media – to share knowledge and ideas, network, perform live showcases and identify opportunities to boost South African music locally, regionally and abroad.
Among the high-profile music creators spotted at the conference were Vicky Sampson, Mynie Grové, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, RJ Benjamin, Chad Saaiman, Jimmy Nevis, Mark Haze, Dub Masta China and Arno Carstens, as well as industry heavyweights such as Universal Music A&R consultant Benjy Mudie, Cape Town Jazz festival founder Rashid Lombard and Rolling Stone SA editor-in-chief Miles Keylock.
The international speakers on the programme included acclaimed house music producer and remixer Charles Webster (UK), music promoter Doug Davenport (USA) and Africori CEO Yoel Kenan (France).
One of the conference’s undisputed highlights was the keynote address by Trevor Jones, moderated by Universal Records managing director Randall Abrahams. Now based in the UK, Jones was born in District Six and is considered one of the top five film score composers in the world, with several Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations as well two ASCAP Awards in the bag.
Jones has made an indelible mark on the global entertainment industry, scoring international blockbusters such as Notting Hill, The Last of the Mohicans, Mississippi Burning and The Mighty and working with the likes of U2, Sting, David Bowie, Sinead O’Connor, Britney Spears, Elvis Costello and Charlotte Church.
Jones became overcome with emotion after being given a standing ovation by delegates, who warmly welcomed him back home.
During his inspirational talk, he spoke about the importance of music education and his desire to give something back to South African music industry: “Key to South Africa’s success is hard work and building a positive perception of our country and us a nation,” he said.
Award-winning local singer, songwriter and guitarist Arno Carstens, who spoke at the conference about the song that made him famous, said it was an honour to be part of Music Exchange and it was encouraging and inspiring to see so many enthusiastic people attend and share their experiences and knowledge.
Joining Carstens on the stellar line-up of artists speaking about the song that made them famous, Vicky Sampson acknowledged songwriter Alan Lazar (formerly of Mango Groove, and now a successful composer based in Los Angeles), who wrote African Dream. “I am grateful that Alan gave me the song and did not pass me up for Mango Groove’s Claire Johnston,” Sampson quipped. She spent every minute of the conference absorbing and learning, as well as reconnecting with her mentor Benjy Mudie and her old friend RJ Benjamin.
Versatile singer, composer and teacher Benjamin, who has been invited to be a vocal coach for the upcoming season of Idols and will be composing SABC2’s new signature tune, continuously urged delegates to make use of social media platforms to reach new audiences. Benjamin stood out as one of the speakers to whom delegates were drawn and his presentations proved to be extremely popular.
After the weekend’s proceedings wrapped up, local music legend Hotstix tweeted: “What a conference; what great speakers and delegates – wow!”
Added a delighted Music Exchange founder and board member, Martin Myers: “We have been completely overwhelmed by the positive feedback we’ve received, and the animated conversations on social media platforms about the success of Music Exchange.
“Recording and performing artists, as well as composers and other industry players, have complimented the conference for being relevant, engaging and thought-provoking. There was a strong focus on the business side of music, which elevated this event above a mere talk shop: they left with useful, practical information that will undoubtedly be of immense value in their various professional ventures.”
Visit www.musicexchange.co.za to find out more about next year’s Music Exchange conference, or follow @musicexchange on Twitter.
Issued by JT Communication Solutions on Behalf of Music Exchange – www.musicexchange.co.za
In 1997, Stephen “Sugar” Segerman set up a website, called ‘The Great Rodriguez Hunt’, with the intention of finding any information about the mysterious US musician of ‘Cold Fact’ fame. In the same year Brian Currin established ‘Climb Up On My Music’, a tribute site to the life and works of Rodriguez.
In 1998, when Rodriguez was discovered, alive and well and living in Detroit, the search was over and those two websites were combined into one central online repository for all information about Rodriguez.
Brian Currin will be holding a one-hour workshop on the various cost effective tools and platforms that musicians and music-related businesses can and should be embracing for online marketing and sales.
Brian loves the internet. He is a freelance Web Marketer and Music Consultant who lives, works and plays in Cape Town, South Africa.He has been involved in the sales and marketing of technology products since the early 80′s, holding various sales, marketing and management positions with Panasonic, Hicor and Sony.
Since 1997, Brian has been helping many South African brands, bands and businesses establish a presence on the internet.
He is a sought-after speaker and has spoken at many conferences and workshops. Included among these are Music Exchange, Moshito Music Conference, Locksmith Association Of South Africa, Campus Of Performing Arts, Varsity Newspaper Conference (UCT) and The Academy Of Sound Engineering. His well-received presentations cover topics such as Cost Effective Web Marketing, Getting Your Brand Online, and How To Be Self-Employed.
He has two adult sons with whom he is well-pleased. He enjoys laughing, cooking, eating, music, reading, dragons, science fiction, watching TV and can usually be found on the internet.
Apple expanded its ultra-successful online store iTunes to South Africa on Tuesday, giving music fans access to a library of local and international hits.
Holly & The Woods – Wake Me Up (Judgment Day)
A fantastic new single from this popular Johannesburg band, known for their ferocious songs with killer hooks and lyrics that swiftly snag you in all the right places.
The Muffinz – Soldierz (Fight For Peace)
The Muffinz have unleashed their mysteriously beautiful world of eclectic soul to the South African public and they are set for world domination. Listen to the debut eleven track aural adventure called Have You Heard?
Mr Cat and The Jackal – Dig
Still one of the finest live acts in South Africa, this crazy gang and their music are always entertaining – here with a song off Sins And Siren Songs .
Desibo – Vula Amehlo
A track from this new South African Afrosoul singer whose songs are fuelled by sensuality, motivating content and creativity and a strong desire to incorporate Afro African elements.
Gage – All That I Am
Gage is a hot new three-piece rock band from Kimberley who are about to blast SA rock fans with their upcoming new second album called Break The Silence.
Piet Botha – Spookjam
An instrumental track off the new album from the veteran SA folk artist which contains songs from the recent TV series Wie Lê Waar?.
Les Javan – Johanna
As a writer, composer and musician, Les Javan’s work is dedicated to the fostering of an environment where cultural and musical differences are respectfully appreciated. Off his new album, Ek Is Lief Vir Jou.
Lucy Kruger – Four White Walls
The first single off her debut album, Cut Those Strings, from this emerging and talented singer-songwriter.
Shotgun Tori – Sweet Weather
A new single from this emerging Cape Town-based female singer-songwriter off her new bluesy-rock 5-track EP Are We Fine Yet .
Off the album Shark which broke this Cape Town band’s rock power to a wide SA audience.
A track off The First Toke from this talented Cape Town muso who breaks out on his own, carving a unique identity with his chilled out constructions.
A track off What’s In A Name from this Cape Town-based, multi-racial, cross dimensional hiphop rap group with their fresh yet energetic, jazzy sound.
The Wind is this multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer’s latest album and is a beautiful mixture of songs and instrumentals.
New single from this hot new South African kwaito-rap artist off the popular Cape Hip Hop album Special Rekwest.
The title track off the debut album by Mr Sakitumi who is an innovative, multi-instrumental musical phenomenon.
Ramblin’ Bones is the alter ego of Jay Bones, former front man for the popular South African ska band Fuzigish, here with his latest musical incarnation off Ramblin’ Bones & His Bloody Agents .
The track that started it all, from the album, Cold Fact, and the upcoming documentary Searching For Sugar Man.
A track off Shifty compilation Shotdown which illustrates the label’s role in capturing and preserving a vibrant and important part of South Africa’s history of cultural resistance.
World Among The Clouds is Summer Shade’s latest EP. The band (previously known as Nungarin) has remolded their already unique and refreshing sound to produce a mixture of rock, tribal, African and folk.
A track off Zillion Miles from this classically trained vocalist, composer and lyricist who is highly respected by fellow musicians in her home city of Cape Town and who has enjoyed international success as a freelance singer.
Title track off the brilliant album Goema, from this Cape Town group who stars in the recent documentary on this indigenous Cape Music style, called Mama Goema.
Watch out for the new album from this amazing vocalist, here with a track off her recent album For Astraea .
A special Preview Mix of new album Step-On , by computer generated music wizards FLW.
A new track off the 4-song EP Saved By The Bell from Jaco Nel, a new performer on the SA music scene.
This 5 piece Khayelitsha band fuses Marimba, Mbira, acoustic guitar, bass, drums and vocals on their debut album, Afamba Apota (The Journey Beyond The Horizon).
A track off this writer/muscian’s Alien Inboorling album, whose songs Koos Kombuis said were likely to force Afrikaners to “question everything we thought we knew about ourselves”.
Following the African Soul Rebels tour (12 cities across the UK with 2 other West African bands) Warrick Sony unleashes his latest Kalahari Surfers album One Party State featuring heavy dubstep style bass-groove tracks.
A lovely new single from this Pretoria-based singer-songwriter whose recent album, A Gradual Awakening , clearly shows the artist’s class.
New single off The Mystery of the Seven Stars , Pretoria-based, but Poland-inspired, Fulka’s first album whose draw-card lies in its clever merging of electronica and folk.
The hot new single from these impressive Gauteng rockers off their new album called Enter Angels.
The title track off the recent album from the acclaimed and very popular Cape Town rock band.
Some new deep house sounds off the recently released compilation called Jambalay SA.
The newly-released Durban Kings album by this hip hop artist, songwriter, singer, and record producer from KZN, rocks the house with pumping sounds and great beats.