Opening for UB40 at last years Stanbic Music Festival was the highlight of my performance calendar. This year I got to open for Boyz II Men and once again the festival was my favourite gig of the year – so far anyway.
I can honestly say that last year I wasn’t quite prepared for the scale of the event, I wasn’t sure what to play or what sort of crowd it would be but everything worked out and I had an absolute party on stage. This year I was so excited when I got the call again and couldn’t wait to put together a killer set for it. I’m a 90s kid and had the best time spending hours going through 90s hits deciding which to learn to throw into my set as a little surprise nostalgic trip for the audience, they seemed to love it! Hearing thousands of people singing as loud as they could made me feel like the songs were my own. Speaking of my own songs though, it was pretty special to play a little teaser for my home crowd of an unreleased original I’ve been working on. The track didn’t even have a title yet at the festival, its since been named ‘La Prima’.
Negative online comments don’t bug me as much these days as they used to. I still sort of take a deep breath before reading anything but have learnt to read between the lines a little better and all the love and positivity I receive daily definitely outshines the negative stuff. It still wasn’t easy the day before the festival to see posts questioning the decision to make me the curtain raiser, questioning what place I had at the festival being a violinist and not an R&B artist – even questioning if I could be considered a local Zambian artist (because the opening lineup is all local). It was silly and I knew it was just a few people out of thousands but I got on stage feeling like everyone had already decided I sucked. I’ve never had to have such absolute confidence in myself as I did that first night. I don’t know why I ever doubted a Zambian crowd to be anything but supportive of me, they were incredible. I got off stage feeling totally empowered and ready to read all the online comments anyone cared to throw my way because I knew I’d done my best and made a lot of people proud.
The reviews that did come in were all pretty amazing and I had a follow up interview with Lusaka Times too.
I can’t end this post without talking about my outfits. On both nights I wore local designer pieces. The first you might recognize from my Something just like this video – by Mangishi Doll. On the second night I wore an amazing dress by Esnoko – I’d seen it shared on Instagram and needed it in my life. I couldn’t have been complimented on it more.
Oh what a couple of nights – there’s no place like a home-stage.
It was only a couple of months ago that I was saying how crazy it felt to be catching a plane straight after a gig in Johannesburg to get to India for a performance the next night. Well I think I beat that madness with this adventure.
So I had a gig in Zambia, followed by a soundcheck for another gig the night before an early flight to Johannesburg to do a daytime event there only to catch a flight back to Lusaka to do a late night gig and then catch an early morning flight back to Cape Town. Phew. Just typing that made me relive it a little and now I’m tired.
The gig in Johannesburg was at Le Kap Lifestyle Fair. A luxury lifestyle event – think champagne, designer fashion, helicopters and horse show jumping – oh my! (Dorothy eat your heart out) Oh and me! I had an awesome stage on the catwalk in the middle of the equestrian arena. I did feel a little lonely out there but it was all very dramatic, especially in my stunning Jacques La Grange Couture attire blowing in the wind. Jacques was an absolute sweetheart and his work is just so femme and lovely, he styled me perfectly to work with both the event as well as my own taste.
Thankfully all travel went super smoothly and I made it back to Zambia for the second event of the day with enough time to put on a different outfit, fix my lipstick and line check before jumping on stage like I’d been there all along.
I somehow was awake in time to catch my flight the next day, I don’t really remember how because in my mind I woke up somewhere around lunchtime on a plane between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Definitely an itinerary I don’t plan on topping any time soon.
You know it – Hashtag Entertainment booked me for another one of their awesome parties! You may remember the Beach Party last year in Lusaka and may even recognize the name because Hashtag is also the club in Kitwe that we shot my ‘Hey DJ’ video in. A great team that are really shaking things up on the Copperbelt events scene.
I was unfortunately pretty damn sick with a bad cold on the day. Luckily my over-rubbed red nose was covered in all sorts of colours thanks to kids deciding I was a great target for their colour throwing. Haha lots of good fun.
I’ve never seen Mindolo dam that packed, thousands and thousands of people turned up for a jam packed lineup which included local DJs, dancers, South African artist K.O and of course all that colour! Trying to get through the traffic after the event took over an hour, it was cray cray.
Highlight performance of the day went to Zambian house producer DJ El Mukuka who I’d heard lots about and was stoked to finally meet. I also really enjoyed Sandy as MC – what a nice guy he is.
My whole family came to the party and had a great time too, I even managed to get a couple of rare pics with my Mom who avoids cameras at all costs. I’ll leave you with this video of me and a super cute friend I made having a little shake off…
There’s nothing quite like Indian hospitality. Growing up I always just thought that my Indian friends’ parents were just being polite when they would insist that I visit them more often or join them for meals whenever I liked (coz let’s be real there’s nothing quite like Indian cuisine either) but this was my second trip to India, to a whole new region and I’ve decided it’s a genuine trait of Indian culture to be unbelievably welcoming.
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You know, it was only a year ago that I was at a gig in Zambia that a big South African act was booked to play at too; they caught the last available flight into Lusaka on show day (just in time for their set) because they had a gig earlier that day in Johannesburg. At the time I thought the organizers were crazy to have agreed to the whole arrangement but it thankfully all worked out without any glitches.
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I last visited Kuwait in 2011. I remember the trip well for a few reasons:
1. I was terribly concerned about what I would have to wear whilst there and for some reason believed I’d have to wear the loosest fitting clothing I owned. I discovered on my arrival, that Kuwaiti women are some of the most stylish I’ve ever come across and loose fitting clothing isn’t at all necessary. I spent the entire time I was there in loose yoga pants and baggy tops because that’s all that I’d packed. The rule seems to be skin-showing (shoulders, thighs, cleavage etc) is a no-no but skin tight clothing is totally fine. Go figure.
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