How did a man from Alice, the Eastern Cape, land up in Jozi?
Like most families from the Eastern Cape who come to Jo-burg, it was work - my father's business to be exact. It seemed like it would flourish more here. I initially didn't want to come to Jo'burg. I wanted to stay in Port Elizabeth (where I predominantly grew up) and do theatre and study classical music. I actually stayed for a year and a half before I finally joined my family.
Your sound is wonderfully difficult to categorise and takes in everything from old-school soul and indie rock to classic Africana. How would you describe it to someone you've just met for the first time?
I wouldn't. I try not to. It's sometimes more interesting to hear/read what people think your music is. I've heard such disparate definitions that with each one, it becomes even more interesting to find out what people call it. But of course there is the soul and the "indie rock" (which is a slightly meaningless and difficult-to-describe label) and the dance influences. I simply call it soul, mainly because I grew up wanting to be Marvin Gaye.
I don't necessarily think of myself as a brand, but I'm also aware that as soon as I have commoditised my work, then it is naturally a brand.
Why the name Nakhane Toure?
It's a homage to my hero Ali Farka Toure. The name actually came about when I played a friend of mine the earliest demo of In the Dark Room, the third track on my album, and at that time I had just discovered Ali Farka Toure and was sharing his music with anyone who cared to listen. My friend emailed me saying: "They should call you Nakhane Toure". I thought it had a nice ring to it and I had just found out that Tom Verlaine and Elvis Costello had done similar things.
Who or what has been the most formative influence in your musical development so far?
All my life I've had people who have played imperative roles in shaping my musical development. From my family singing in choirs to my music teacher, Jackie Barnardo, who taught me how to forget everything when I sing and concentrate on the feeling. "Close your eyes and feel it, Nakhane," she would say, and I carry that with me every single day.
To my best friend Andreas van der Merwe, who critiques me when I need it and am slightly confused, and finally my record label [Just Music]. They have given me the opportunity to actually put out the sounds and words that are in my head.
Your debut album, Brave Confusion, has been very well received by the critics. Do you pay attention to reviews? Yes. I always tell myself that I shouldn't, but I always end up reading them.
You've just released the first official single (Fog) off your album. What's the track about?
Depression, mostly. A couple of weeks ago I watched a film called Side Effects, which is mainly about anti-depressants and it references William Styron's memoir Darkness Visible, which is about his battle with depression and his eventual overcoming of it.
I haven't read the book yet, but in the film they kept on referencing a line in the memoir that describes depression as a fog. When I wrote the song I had never heard of the writer or his work. I found it incredibly strange that the feelings and description were that similar.Read the full article...