10 sun privé i winter 2016
words BRENT SMITH
winter 2016 i sun privé 11
or many years Sun International has
been a proud supporter of South
African music and has provided
the stages on which a number of local
performers have played their way into
super-stardom. And it’s not just that Sun
International is so well placed to put on
live events – it’s also about doing it to
scale in venues that are as at home in
the global spotlight as the best the UK
and US have to offer.
beach vibes at sun city
Electronic pop trio GoodLuck are a go-to
for good vibes. When they played a Spring
Beach Party DJ set at Sun City‘s Valley of
Waves in October last year, they brought
out classics such as ‘Taking It Easy‘, the
first single off their self-titled debut album
and still a radio fixture five years later, as
well as new music including their latest
single, ‘Back in the Day‘ – a chilled wave
of nostalgia featuring De Hofnar. They
mixed up their own tracks with some
personal favourites by other artists and
the crowd lapped it up.
‘It was a good mix of electronic music,‘
says vocalist Juliet Harding. ‘The vibe was
great – very summery and relaxed. Valley
of Waves gives “inlanders” a taste of the
beach – and we think our music goes down
best with some sand between your toes, sun
on your back and a cool drink in your hand!‘
GoodLuck, which consists of Juliet,
saxophonist and keyboardist Matthew
O’Connell, and producer Ben Peters,
went on to enthral the audience at the
Nedbank Golf Challenge Beach Party at
the Valley of Waves in December. They’ve
also performed at a number of other Sun
‘They are all very special and beautiful,’
the trio says. ‘It’s a treat to be able to
perform at venues that capture such
a relaxed but upmarket atmosphere.‘
Sun International loves getting behind
South African music. We chatted to three
of our favourite local outfits – GoodLuck,
Jimmy Nevis and Beatenberg – to get
the inside track on their experiences playing
at GrandWest and Sun City, and look at
what makes Sibaya and Carnival City rock.
12 sun privé i winter 2016 winter 2016 i sun privé 13
The iZulu Theatre
‘It was definitely one for the books – a goal
I’ve been working towards for a very long
time,‘ he says. ‘Now that I’ve played on that
stage, I hope to do my own independent big
show some time in the near future.‘
Afropop trio Beatenberg are also big fans
of the Grand Arena, saying: ‘We’ve seen
some fantastic acts at the venue over the
years. Most notable for us was renowned
US jazz outfit the Pat Metheny Trio in 2007.
It was totally inspiring.‘
One of Cape Town’s most popular concert
venues, the Grand Arena has hosted a
staggering number of local and international
artists. With a capacity of 5 084 for seated
shows and up to 7 000 for standing room
only, it retains a feeling of intimacy thanks
to its state-of-the-art acoustics.
Beatenberg – made up of vocalist and
guitarist Matthew Field, bassist Ross Dorkin
and drummer Robin Brink – swapped their
album in the studio, they’re also setting
off on a European summer tour in May
and will perform in Mauritius on 19 June.
FOLLOW GOODLUCK ON:
grand acts at grandwest
Singer-songwriter Jimmy Nevis, whose
hit ‘7764’ enjoyed massive airtime,
has also played several Sun International
properties. He agrees with GoodLuck:
‘We need more venues like these to
help push our industry and allow the
audience to enjoy our music in an
The crooner from Cape Town opened
for Pharrell Williams at the Grand Arena
at GrandWest in September.
in making his mark as an electrifying stage
performer at shows in Norway, Holland
Their sound is very much their own –
a blend of dance beats and pop with subtle
influences of swing jazz – and has connected
with fans in SA as well as audiences across
the rest of Africa, Europe and the UK.
GoodLuck kept a low profile as their hits
kept stacking up, preferring to let the music
speak for itself. But soon the fresh faces and
voices could not be missed as the accolades
started rolling in, including five SAMA
nominations, nine Top 10 radio singles
and six No 1 hits.
GoodLuck has shared stages with Groove
Armada, Basement Jaxx, The Pet Shop Boys,
Goldfish and Paul Oakenfold. In September
2015 they were selected to open for Pharrell
Williams as part of his world tour, and got
rave reviews. While crafting their latest
seats in the Grand Arena audience for a
place on the stage when they opened for
US rockers Thirty Seconds to Mars in 2014.
‘We were really excited to be invited
to share the stage with such a successful
act – and to do it on our home turf was
really cool. We had a lot of friends and
family in the crowd and the whole
vibe was very supportive.‘
The future of South African pop music
is in very good health if the talents
of young Jimmy Nevis are anything
to go by.
The 23-year-old Cape Town-born
singer-songwriter exploded onto the
scene with his head-turning vocal
performances on songs such as
‘Elephant Shoes’ and ‘Heartboxing’,
plus collaborations with South African
THE STATE OF PLAY
The global music industry
continues to enjoy massive
transformation and evolution.
During the past decade,
musicians and bands of all
shapes, sizes and successes have
seen the bottom fall out of
traditional physical album and
single sales, to be replaced by
iTunes and internet streaming.
Artists like Adele can still move
10 million copies of an album
in the first year of its release,
but she’s the rare exception.
Nowadays musicians around
the world need to dust off their
drum kits, warm up their amps
and take their tunes on tour.
The upside for fans is we’re
getting to see more of our
favourite acts. And here in South
Africa, a greater number of
international acts are coming to
play their greatest hits at venues
like GrandWest and Sun City.
Local acts such as GoodLuck,
Jimmy Nevis, Beatenberg, Karen
Zoid, Kuli Chana, Majozi, Eden,
Al Bairre, Francois Van Coke and
Jeremy Loops keep their home
fires burning with calendars
full of opportunities to share or
headline shows and festivals.
The best part is that fans are
coming out in numbers, never
mind the weather, and are even
buying music and T-shirts at the
shows. This is true here and over
the water, where our local best
also get to take their tunes these
days. From continental Europe
to Oz, New Zealand and the
UK, music is a party passport
and we’re all too happy to
enjoy a growing number of
many of us never thought likely.
– Vic Foy, music and entertainment
journalist with more than 25 years’
experience in the industry.
With their infectious melodies, dancefloor-
ready beats and easy vibe, it’s easy to see
why GoodLuck has become one of South
Africa’s most exciting live acts. The original
line-up of the band came together as an
electronic music side project when vocalist
Juliet Harding and drummer-producer
Ben Peters, then working together in
Afropop group jacSharp, got together
with keyboardist and saxophonist
Soon their side project grew into a full-
time gig as GoodLuck released hit after hit,
taking over the radio airwaves with catchy
songs such as ‘Taking It Easy’, ‘Hop On Hop
Off’, ‘Back in the Day’ and ‘What Would
The newest member of the group is
Matthew O’Connell, who joined GoodLuck
in 2015 as the band’s saxophonist and
keyboard player. He has wasted no time
The iZulu Theatre
Jimmy Nevishouse giants Mi Casa, rapper Kwesta
and dance duo Pascal & Pearce.
The self-described alternative pop artist
is keen to get South Africans to fall in
love with proudly SA pop music again.
His two albums, Subliminal and The
Masses, showcase his confident songwriting
skills and willingness to experiment with
a wide range of influences and sounds –
from gospel to electronic and RnB –
to produce a sound all his own.
Having honed his craft singing in church,
Jimmy has the kind of unique vocal ability
and songwriting sensibilities that producers
love to work with.
He’s also been nominated for a number
of major awards, including Record of The
Year, Best Pop Album and Male Artist of
the Year at the SAMAs, as well as Best Male
Artist & Composer at SAMRO’s Wawela
Awards and the Channel O African Music
His sleek, on-trend style and trademark
headwear has also caught the attention
of GQ, which named Jimmy one of South
Africa’s best-dressed men in 2015.
FOLLOW JIMMY NEVIS ON:
LOCAL rocks at
Local music is a huge drawcard at these
venues, as well as at Sibaya and Carnival
City. The Sun International properties are
uniquely positioned to put on big events
and they support local talent of all genres.
Sibaya has recently focused on variety
shows. Forever Unplugged featured
Pakistani singing sensation Zeeshan Shani
accompanied by a South African orchestra.
And Queen – It’s a Kinda Magic had a four-
week run in December in the venue’s iZulu
Theatre. The 3 500-seater Big Top Arena at
Carnival City, meanwhile, has played host
to the likes of Mi Casa, Andile Yenana
and Kurt Darren in recent months.
GoodLuck say it’s always awesome to play
to home crowds. ‘They know the music very
well from radio so they get super-involved
in the performances. Performing overseas is
also amazing, though, as the audiences are
very open to new sounds and will let you
know straight away if they like your music.
We’ve been lucky enough to have most
international audiences get on board.‘
So what’s next for our trio of South
African talents? Jimmy is recording new
music and working on projects with his
philanthropic initiative The Blue Collar
Foundation, which aims to inspire and create
change among the youth of Cape Town.
The boys of Beatenberg are fresh from the
success of their second album, The Hanging
Gardens of Beatenberg, which won Album
of the Year and Best Pop Album at the
21st South African Music Awards. They’re
continuing to tour and make new music.
‘Recording is a very rewarding process –
the crafting of material that’s made to last.
And performing is an adrenaline rush.
So the two aspects work well together.‘
Later this year GoodLuck are touring
Europe, Asia and a few other places, and
The Grand Arena
winter 2016 i sun privé 15
16 sun privé i winter 2016
will be releasing a new album towards the
end of 2016. ‘We’re very busy in studio at
the moment, so hopefully this album is
going to be our best yet!
‘We also love touring – you get an
incredible rush of energy when performing.
As an electronic band our biggest goal
with live shows is to let our audiences see
how we merge electronic instrumentation
with live playing and performance. There’s
nothing “DJ” about our shows – everything
is created and performed live, unless we’re
performing a DJ set, of course, and we hope
this comes across. We try to make our shows
as visual and interactive as possible so the
audiences are taken on a journey with us.‘
We hope to hear new tunes from all three
acts on a Sun International stage soon!
Matthew Field, lead singer and guitarist
of the band Beatenberg, talks passionately
about their music: ‘It’s about emotions,
images and fleeting senses of things;
the mad stuff that everyone feels.’
For this trio of cheeky young men –
including bass player Ross Dorkin and
drummer Robin Brink – the sky’s the limit
after shooting to the top of the charts,
seemingly out of nowhere, with irresistible
dance tracks. Their collaboration with
DJ Clock, ‘Pluto (Remember You)’, grew
to become the biggest smash hit of summer
2014 in South Africa and broke the record
for most weeks at No 1 on radio with
19 weeks in the top spot.
There was no sign of nerves to follow
up such a big crossover hit when their next
single – the catchy and carefree ‘Rafael’ –
spent 16 weeks as the most-played song
on South African radio.
Their sound has been described as
‘contemporary South African’, influenced by
a vast heritage of African artists and sounds.
Blending that with their unique and quirky
pop sensibility, Beatenberg are at once
locally rooted and global in their appeal.
Their debut album, TheHangingGardens
ofBeatenberg, was released in August 2014
and nominated for multiple awards at both the
2015 SAMAs and Metro awards. The album
ended up netting the band a total of seven
SAMAs, including the coveted Album of the
Year award, Best Pop Album, Best Group/Duo
and Highest Airplay of the Year for ‘Pluto’.
This year will see Beatenberg writing new
material for their highly anticipated second
album, as well as international collaborations
– the most exciting one to perform with
Mumford & Sons, Baaba Maal and Alabama
Shakes in Hyde Park, London, on 8 July.
FOLLOW BEATENBERG ON:
Carnival City want A NIGHT OUT
WITH THE STARS?
Check out the Come & Play
section from page 65 to find
out which musos will be
rocking a stage near you