'Nothing beats getting on stage for a massive audience' says the sensational Holly

Published: 04 March 2015 | by Pippa Mann
'Nothing beats getting on stage for a massive audience' says the sensational Holly
Holly - Photo supplied
Holly Wasserfall is currently making waves in the soulful Afro House Music scene in South Africa. Even though she still considers herself largely an underground artist, she is definitely getting a lot of attention.

Holly studied music from the age of eight where she learned top play drums and marimba and this and the music she has been exposed to for the last five years had a big influence on her new album 'Vanilla House.'


Holly talking about her music


She said that she had been doing Afro Pop music and then went on a road trip to Cape Town with her band. In an interview with OneVybe, Holly said, "They brought music along for the road trip and after listening to Afro and Deep House as well as some Tribal House, there was no turning back.

"I started working on Vanilla House in 2013. It was a long time in the making simply because I wanted to release a quality album that made sense to me as a musician.

"I did not want to just buy beats and slap vocals on them. Each song was carefully crafted. I worked with four different producers. Mondli Ngcobo and Wakes Zondeka two veterans in the industry produce the bulk of the album.

"I also worked with three incredible young producers who are forefront of the new sounds coming out of Mzansi (South Africa).

"EMEX is a young producer who has worked a lot with the guys from Soulistic Music and is a Redbull Academy producer. He produced the beats for Bang Bang and Searching and gave the tracks the Deep Coffee flavour that I was looking for.

"I then met a very young, but exceptionally gifted, up and coming producer Aux Cable who sent me some stuff via e-mail that just blew me away. We were originally just going to work on one track together but ended up working on five tracks and four made it onto the album."


Holly's poster for Khula ft. Cuebur


Holly also told OneVybe that Cuebur, who is signed to Soul Candi Records and also has an international deal with Defected Records since 2014, produced her latest single, Khula, from the album.

The name Khula is Zulu and Holly says that it was important for her to keep the track very simple and true. "I wanted to find a powerful yet simple message for the song. African language is so beautiful in that it is a very figurative language and there is often a simple phrase that has an intensely deep meaning. The message behind Khula basically means grow up well and respect yourself and Cuebur really captured the spirit of the song in the music he created."

Having grown up in Durban, Holly describes her music as Deep Soulful Afro House Music with strong Durban Kasi (township) flavour. She said: "You would have to be completely switched off not to internalise the Zulu culture and language. I am also lucky enough to have been working with the same Zulu-speaking musicians from Umlazi since the age of 14 and they have pretty much taught me all the Zulu I know. I find it pretty easy to sing in Zulu. It is a beautiful language for songwriting because it is so figurative."


Holly - Khula (feat. Cuebur)


Asked about what she would change in the industry if she could, the young musician said: "There's a question with serious answers but I am just going to be as straight down the line as possible: I am a teenage (19 year old) girl in a market that is dominated by men.

"I am just not in the inner circle and I don't see myself ever being there so I just have to work three times as hard on my craft and hope that they will respect my work enough to play me on the radio, book me for gigs and give my music a fair chance. So if there were something I could change it would be that Female African Artists were given a bigger platform in Africa.
 
"The biggest challenge for all young performers is that the industry really does not invest in young talent. The industry stakeholders all talk about being a 'commercial age'.  The international market is different in that they groom talent from an early age."

Holly has been influenced by a wide range of musicians and the list includes Joss Stone, Ellie Goulding, Miriam Makeba, Mahotella Queens, Brenda Fassie Kelly Khumalo in the early days.

Lately those influences have gone on to include Cafe Del Mar, Black Coffee, Cueber, Culoe De Songs, Zakes Bantwini, Oskido, Busiswa, Black Motion, Professor, EMEX, Aux Cable and Lana Del Rey.

Holly has had some amazing moments so far in her career and for her; the most memorable was playing at Umgababa New Years Picnic 2015. "Nothing beats getting on a stage for a massive audience of 20-30 thousand music lovers with a real love of Deep House," she said.

Holly's upcoming events are as follows:

A series of monthly events she does called 'Taxi to Kasi' hosted in different Kasi venues around KZN on the last Sunday of every month.
A collaboration with the legendary Mahotella Queens who are going to be the headline act at the Cape Town Jazz Fest 2015. Holly is performing with them on the 27th of March.
29th of March she will be performing at the Awesome Africa World Music Festival in Mandini
27th of April Sugar she will be at the Ray Claremont Carnival
16th of June Holly will be at the Jozini Music Festival

For more information:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUDkff32-WiZdpM01sxpM7Q
https://www.facebook.com/hollymusic
https://instagram.com/hollymusicsa/
- OneVybe

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