Faces of 2013: Soul sister to set scene alight
I happened to be at a bar on the famous 7th street in Melville when my heart was held hostage by emotions.
It stemmed from the angelic voice that came from the makeshift stage.
Upon this pedestal was a dreadlocked, guitar-playing young woman armed with thought-provoking lyrics.
For song after song, the audience was under her spell until the end of her set.
Chants of “one more song” rang out. We could not get enough.
That was the last I saw of her, until I was told to interview a name that will have tongues wagging this year.
And what do you know? It’s Nancy G, the musical genius from the bar.
I meet Nancy at the Muthaland Studios in Parkview.
Her beauty is not marred by the fact that she is not feeling well.
“I’m sorry. I have a tummy bug,” she explains.
But, like the true professional she is, she is all present and ready to talk about her big passion, music.
Born in Swaziland and raised in the UK, Nancy settled in Joburg six years ago.
She played bars and other live gigs until she signed a record deal with Lance Stehr’s Muthaland Entertainment.
Stehr is the same man who brought us kwaito maverick Zola, and hip-hop duo Jozi.
“I’ve worked the nine-to-five job before but I cried almost every day,” says Nancy.
“I also dabbled in fashion, and used to lug around rolls of fabric all over Joburg. But music is my centre. It’s what I always go back to to find myself.”
She adds that she worked in bars in the UK from age 15 to 18.
“The music scene in England is very band orientated,” she says about eventually ending up in a rock band herself.
As a commercial music student at the University of Westminster, she perfected the broader understanding of her art.
A self-taught guitarist at the age of 11, the 26-year-old still has her father’s original Spirit guitar, which she cherishes because “it makes me feel closer to him, like I achieved his dream of becoming a professional musician”.
“The guitar is the one instrument which you can make sing or scream, and it can do all the things an orchestra can if you use it right. That’s why, along with percussion, it is my instrument of choice.”
Nancy describes herself as a reader, humanist, and pan-African who is not seeking celebrity but recognition for the quality of work she shares with the public.
Her sound merges the styles of India.Arie, Joan Armatrading, Asa and Tracy Chapman.
She sings of love, freedom, goodwill and celebrating self and humanity.
In the world of bling, glitz and glamour is there room for a conscious, Eurocentric rock chick with soul?
There should be.
Lend an ear, I’m sure you will see why she is going to be big in 2013.
» Nancy G’s album, The Offering, is set for release in March
- Khotso Sello