Reece Baker – a rising star I met at BMI songwriting Camp in July

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Earlier last month I was invited to be part of the BMI Abbey Road 2018 song writing camp. BMI invited me to attend the camp as part of their ongoing support of Music Exchange.

BMI hosted 2 camps in South Africa over the last two years and my job at the camp was to understand and learn about best practice so as to be able to implement these ideas back home.

The camp was held in Abbey Road studio 3 it’s where Pink Floyd recorded Dark Side Of The Moon, Frank Ocean recorded large parts of Blonde and Amy Winehouse recorded her final tracks.

The co-host of the camp Christian Wright will be coming to SA in Sept to host a number of keynote talks and engagements at Music Exchange on 1 September and 2nd September 2018

I spoke to one of the writers from Essex the mutli talented Reece Baker who is 26 from Basildon in Essex, He is Songwriter, Guitar and keyboard player in the band Courts. Reece also writes music for commercials

Currently working with some amazing songwriters and artists: Paul usher, Mary Leay, Blakey, Devon Wright  

When are you happiest?

Probable when in the thick of songwriting and everything starts to come together

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What does music mean to you?

Hits a universal language that needs no words to speak to your soul. It’s everything.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work ?

Working and writing with new people, feeling the creative energy.

What drives you…. Ego or Humility?

Definitely humility, I’m grateful for everything I have in my life

And the people I’ve met. There’s so much to learn from others I feel having an ego would hinder that.

Your heroes?

Nile Rodgers & Kasif. Two absolutely incredible masters of the craft who know how to write a hit.

Which living person do you admire most and why?Again, Nile Rodgers… so many of his records gave and spoke to me

And moved me.

 

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What is your most treasured possession?

My Yamaha DX7

It’s your round what are you drinking?

Spiced rum and coke

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Dream gig to do?

It’s always been Brixton Academy

If you were not a musician what would you do?

Hmm I’d probably be somewhere in the sun selling deck chairs on a beach

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5 Desert Island Discs?

Change – The essential Collection

The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac

George Benson – Breezin’

George Michael – Ladies & Gentlemen

Niki & the Dove – Everybody’s Heart is Broken Now

What song changed your life?

Sister Sledge – Lost In Music

Who do you love?

My two brothers Dan & Luke and Luke’s Little baby Luna

Give us some real proper slang and what it means

“ Peng” – it’s nice/good

Top of your bucket list?

Write

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What is your fear?

Moving slowly

Happiness is?

Being lost in music

On stage I tend to?

Get a little too rowdy

The best life lesson you have been taught

We’re all the same, we’re all on our own difficult journey

Cherish the ones you love and be kind to compassionate to all.

Where would you like to be right now?

A studio with open French doors, backing on to a beach with palm trees and sun.

Wishes and dreams for 2018?

Just to carry on being able to write music everyday.

Social media links

https://www.youtube.com/user/courtsmusic

I compose music for adverts 

Vimeo.com/reecebakermusic 

vimeo.com/reecebakermusic

IG: @reecebakermusic

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Mike Tshehla Phahlane is the man who gave Soweto its name back in 1963

Mike Tshehla Phahlane, the man who gave Soweto its name back in 1963, slipped away quietly two weeks ago without a single mention in local media despite the fact that he was the pioneer of black South African journalism and one of its finest wordsmiths.

Only the Sowetan carried a 31-word funeral notice accompanied by the standard black and white photo in the weekly In Memoriam section. He didn’t make it in the obituaries page.

His huge significance in South African journalism in general and jazz writing in particularly was a fact that the paper’s editorial team was evidently unaware of. He was just another dead Sowetan.

The man nicknamed The Indestructible because of his legendary reputation for having survived a number of near-death experiences, lived most of his life in obscurity and died in obscurity, thanks to an uncaring, insensitive and oblivious society. He was the invisible man in the real sense because all South Africans simply refused to recognise the squat, forlon figure who roamed the streets of Johannesburg as one of the city’s homeless people. He lived a hard and undignified existence, not out of his own choice but because as a country we failed him.

Born 26 March 1921 in old Sophiatown, in 1943 he joined Zonk, the first English magazine for African readers. He covered a number of beats but distinguished himself as a jazz critic, definitely the first one on the continent. He wore his passion for this noble art on his sleeve and with his elegant but cheeky prose, championed its beauty and cause on the pages of the racy publication. Jazz introduced him to a young and lanky pianist from Cape Town. He loved the shy musician’s efforts on the ivories but he didn’t like his name. Johannes Adolphus Botha didn’t have a ring of showbiz to it. So he gave his protégé a new identity – Dollar Brand.

He reasoned that a dollar was the world’s most powerful note and his charge was destined for bigger things in the US, a brand everyone wanted to experience its dream. Years later the protégé expressed his gratitude when he recorded Tintinyana, an evocative jazz tune dedicated to Mr Phahlane’s daughter, for Tintinyana was her name.

She grew up to become a fine lady and brilliant medical doctor but sadly she passed away in the prime of her life. He also lost his only son, Dr Michael Phahlane. The US-based psychiatrist was killed in a car crash in 1981. In 1983 he was diagnosed with amnesia and confined to Sterkfontein Hospital, a psychiatric institution for the mentally challenged as a state patient. One of his inmates was Dimitri Tsafendas.

When Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd was assassinated on 6 September 1966, Phahlane had quipped that Tsafendas had exterminated apartheid. The authorities never forgave him for that. His institutionalisation cost him enormously. He lost his Soweto house and other priceless belongings. It was reportedly auctioned off at the behest of a vengeful ex-father-in-law.

Since his discharge from the psychiatric institution, Ntatemoholo Phahlane, as the indomitable nanogenarian preferred to be referred to in his twilight years, has been struggling to get an RDP house. He initiatiated a series of correspondence with the former Gauteng premier, Mbhazima Shilowa and the Gauteng Department of Housing. His pleas fell on deaf ears.

By Sam Mathe

Music Exchange masterclass : Sponsorship for artists & events and what is retail radio ,Sat 28 July

Sponsorship for artists & events and what is retail radio.

Two big topics being covered :

1) Sponsorship for artists & events with Darren Sandras from One Eyed Jack

• Creating a proposal to get sponsorship, key things to include, tips on design, who to target

• Negotiating fees

• Managing a campaign and deliverables

• Tips for reporting, meetings and contracts

• Case studies on great brand / artist collaborations

• Any PR related tips to amplify a partnership

2) What is retail radio with Benito Vergotine

• What is retail radio?

• How artists can access this platform in South Africa

There will be plenty of time for Q&A’s at the end of each session.

Date: Saturday, 28 July 2018

Venue: Paul Bothner Music, Plumstead

Time: 10h30 to 12h45

Cost: R50.00 for tickets purchased online or R70.00 at the door

Enquiries: 021 761 4828 – Paul Bothner Music, Plumstead

Fostering Fever, spearheaded by Sophia Foster at the Artscape Arena Theatre on 20 and 21 July 2018

Fostering Fever, spearheaded by Sophia Foster, will showcase 12 young artists backed by a young seven-piece band at the Artscape Arena Theatre on 20 and 21 July 2018.

Each act in Fostering Fever will present their creative journey in the face of challenging odds. These are real-life stories

This Fostering Fever empowerment initiative includes the first-hand retelling of real-life stories of each artist, depicting what happens in their neighbourhoods.

Mentored by Sophia Foster, one of South Africa’s entertainment pioneers, the cast will present two performances guided by Sophia and musical director Celeste Williams.

Celeste has worked with Loyiso, Emo Adams, Soli Philander, Alistair Izobell and Gloria Bosman. She has also collaborated with Josh Groban, Diana Ross, Michael Bublé and Foreigner. Her TV work has included being the anchor for Lieriekeraai.

Sophia Foster will feature in the show as the catalyst who opened the door to mentor and train these young performers through her foundation, The Fostering Foundation. She will share the stage with her students in showcasing their journey and the development of their talent.

Actor Jody Abrahams has thrown his support behind the foundation and will direct the show. Abraham’s began his professional acting career in the role of Broertjie in David Kramer and Taliep Petersen’s District Six – The Musical and worked for almost two years on this show, including a tour to Johannesburg and finally Edinburgh. Other roles include Kat and the Kings, Poison, Ghoema and Second Time Around.

Through the involvement of the Fostering Foundation in the Youth Jazz Festival, held in March 2018 at Steenberg High School, Sophia auditioned singers and dancers. Out of that experience, a group of girl dancers were enrolled into The Fostering Foundation and will appear as part of the Fostering Fever showcase.

The band members were sourced through the Celeste Williams development project, which is focused on the development of previously disadvantaged young musicians of the Western Cape.

“Local support is fundamental in providing a platform for the development of our youth within the arts. We need to ensure that the talent of our kids is encouraged, appreciated and showcased whenever the opportunity arises,” Sophia Foster adds. “We are truly grateful for the opportunity that Artscape has afforded us enabling dreams to turn into reality through the Fostering Foundation Initiative.”

What: Fostering Fever
Where: Artscape Arena Theatre
When: 20, 21 July 2018 at 8pm
Fostering Fever tickets Artscape: R120 each

Info: Martin Myers martmyers

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