Timothy Moloi Tribute to Luther Vandross

Whenever I interview someone, I always try to bring something to the party – in other words, I like to help the artist who is tweaking the golden thread.  But when it’s somebody like the inimitable Timothy Moloi, I know there’s not much I can do except try to spread the word about what they’re doing to a wider audience than he already reaches. His art on its own needs nothing else.  And when it means I’m going to get to spend half an hour chatting to him in a Sandton coffee shop – I feel like it’s Christmas! 

Add to this the fact that Timothy is about to do a show in tribute to the wonderful Luther Vandross and it means we have a lot to chat about! 

luther vandross tributeLuther Vandross – what a nice fit for your voice.  What drew you to him?

Growing up in Soweto,  everyone loved to listen to Luther. At the time he was one of the biggest artists and he literally influenced a whole generation of singers. When I heard him sing he made it sound so easy. At the time people were doing things that where formulaic, but he approached R and B and soul from a place of honesty. He loved music so much that he immersed himself in it.  In many ways,  with music and the church and how he started with his backing vocals, he had a modest start which was relatable to me. And then he landed up having such an amazing career and collaborated with so many people.

He started the Patti Labelle fanclub, which I think says something about his character.

Luther always worshipped Patti Labelle and at the time she wasn’t as mainstream as Diana Ross and Chaka Khan. He administered the fan club for a very long time. They were big influences on each other.  And something that I admired about him was that he managed to keep his life private. There was a mystique about him which made him interesting. I think it’s an old school type of thing which I prefer. When I do music it’s a place I go to to work then it’s good to switch off. He really was all about music. His talent was so far reaching. That’s how he became so influential.

I know Dance With My Father was one of the last things he did.

Even that is interesting because he co wrote it with Richard Marx.

Wow I didn’t know that but now that you say that you can hear the influence – they have a similar sound.

They collaborated quite a bit specially later in his career. They fed off each other. Richard Marx went to an accept an award  for Dance With My Father posthumously. It’s simplicity, but there’s a purity as well – when you think of Waiting for You, that’s one of my best songs of all time. I’m looking forward to the show so much. Everyone is so excited for it. We’re literally like –

A few years ago we wouldn’t have been able to do this one.

I did Motown Magic at the Lyric, Sinatra, but there hasn’t really been much that I’ve seen or heard of someone doing a Luther tribute. It’s never something I do consciously but people have always mentioned that I remind them of Luther. I’ve heard it throughout my career. I think maybe they’re hearing something. I don’t try to imitate anyone, but whenever I perform, I’m hard pressed to find a time that someone doesn’t say ‘you remind me of Luther’.

I saw the Marvin Gaye one with Lloyd Cele. It was awesome.

I was sad to miss that one. But I knew Lloyd was going to be amazing.

I don’t think Luther had it so easy with his father who passed –

Dance With My Father is probably one of the few autobiographical songs that we know of. He was an entertainer, and his music and his legacy was influenced by the music he loved. He didn’t put himself in or expose himself so much, which was the error of the time. You were supposed to be mysterious. A lot of the time you can read things into songs, but what I loved about his approach is it was all about the music. For me music is much bigger than that. It transcends our own experiences. Especially for someone who collaborated so much and he was an interpreter of songs, he sang songs like Evergreen, Superstar and Aint No Stopping Us Now. There was an album of covers and he drew from so many various experiences. There’s beauty in finding out where someone is going to take an idea that you have. They add to it, bring something that you might not have thought of.  And that’s my approach to music. There are so many talented people out there with many different gifts, that I just like to collaborate.  For example the musical director for the show Llewellyn George helped with one or two of my songs on my original album. He’s very young, from Cape Town and Cape Tonians love Luther.

 And when Collett Dawson from The Colab Network came along it was amazing. She’s driven, but she’s driven for the right reasons. She wants to do good work and I’m very fortunate that I’m working with her. Her coming on board is what facilitated the whole thing happening. So much is because of her belief in me. I’m very grateful to her and very inspired working with her and Cito who will be directing the show.  It’s a whole group of talented people coming together for this. I could not ask for better.

You introduced me to Collett the first time and I’ve met so many people through her, I’m so grateful.

She loves the work so much and it takes a very generous person to connect and network people. It’s all about delivering the goods and she does. Her heart is in the right place and she’s nurturing. I could have a dream of doing amazing things, but it takes meeting someone who believes in them and takes a chance for it to happen and I’m grateful for that. Working with her has been a blessing.

I can’t say enough about them, they make these amazing things happen.

It’s all about work and the reward is seeing the work shine and come across well.  And we have to appreciate everyone, it takes a village and we all play a different part. Goodwill begets goodwill.

I see you’re a big sports fan.

Yes.

I’m disappointed that the cricket guys got beaten by Bangladesh.

They didn’t have a couple of their main people.  You have to take the wins with the losses. For me when I’m not working, it’s such a good way to unwind. When people are representing us like Kevin Anderson (tennis player at Wimbledon). It was so heart-breaking (after he lost in five sets to Novak Djokovic).

And like you said at the end of Wimbledon he was the one who took Djokovic the closest.

And if he could have got past Djokovic he could have gone all the way.  It’s nice to be represented in the international space by people who are excelling and doing so well. We need those few people who excel to inspire us to reach those heights.  And he is still fighting and representing SA and he says that will never change. Sometimes at his own expense – we need to appreciate the fact, and he is inspiring a lot of athletes.   And hopefully Serena (Williams) can get her calendar slam. I’m enjoying watching her, because there will come a time that she doesn’t play any more. Every time I watch I think we’re going to miss watching her.  Garbine Muguruza was good. She beat Serena last year at the French Open. And there are a few people coming up which is a good thing. You want all the younger people coming up.

How did your interest in sport come around?

I always had an interest. Growing up I couldn’t partake in sports, but I began to really enjoy watching it. I had an uncle who was sports mad and a lot of the people I’m friends with love sports and say did you watch that match, even something like World Cup soccer. If you were a sports lover it was a great thing.  If it comes in our country it’s once in our lifetimes, but to have been part of it was, to this day I have goose bumps, specially in this month June and July. I keep seeing memories I had in the World Cup. I was able to watch the open match which was exhilarating to see that first goal by Tshabalala and we did go to one of the quarterfinals as well to see all the international – and so many people doubted we could do it. And we did it well. I saw an interview with someone saying he thought the South Africans did it well.  We excelled, and we can be proud of ourselves. It put us on the world map as a country. This is a modern country that is equipped. This is a country, even though they call us third world, I think we’re first world.

A young woman told me that we’re like a middle economy between first and third.

Sometimes labels don’t do us justice, we compete on the world stage and we excel.  Even after studying in the States, I came back. People were like why didn’t you stay there, and I was like I was away long enough, five years is long enough and I needed to come back. Since coming back I haven’t looked back. For me personally it’s the most exciting place in the world.

If you step out of your comfort zone a little bit and you go find stuff –  you know it’s easy to sit in the suburbs and listen to all the negativity. But then you go and – step out of your comfort zone.

I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time.  We’re very lucky to have someone who led like Madiba did. He led by example. There were hairy moments, we didn’t know what was going to happen but because he steadied the ship and told us to hold onto our horses, calm down and be classy. It’s a miracle that we had him and to this day, we feel the effect of his legacy and it will stay with us for a very long time.  Some people go through a lifetime without experiencing something like that. He built the bridges.  And when you travel to other countries and see that it’s not necessarily better. Every country’s got its own challenges.

I wanted to chat to you about the initiative you’ve been involved in 67 Blankets for Madiba Day.

Tim blanketIt’s been amazing – its on-going and it will not stop, and it’s wonderful, specially in this time when it’s cold. Something you can do with your own hands, at your own pace, your own time. When you see the blankets you made with your own hands, there’s nothing that beats that feeling. But you spend a week, day, month,  and that’s for me what encouraged me, it just – you think it’s something I’m doing with my hands. I can put my trust in it and it’s something I can sustain and more and more people are coming into the fold. Specially with the records shattered. Already the effect of it is big. The Mandela Foundation is aligned with it and they only align themselves with things Madiba would support. That endorsement means the world and it’s what caused people to come on board. Young men in particular. When people say they say they don ‘t have time to learn to knit, I say do it in your own time. Whoever wears or uses that blanket, you are part of their life and they are part of yours. It’s not just disposable and it means you have to commit your time and follow through. You commit and do it, and the more you do it the more satisfying it is. And I’m faster than I was before I started. And Carolyn STeyn has led by example to.  She could do anything, but she lives for THIS cause. It shows whatever background you come from, you do the right things for the right reasons. I think that’s why we’ve all been won over. The message resonates. It’s something anyone can do. You don’t have to be rich. And it’s a life skill that you learn, it’s so rewarding to teach someone.  And what I like is a lot of them support the shows we do. It’s such a nice synergy.  And it’s time for us to stand up, take initiative, not complain and rather, instead of complaining – do something.  Be the solution, which is what I always strive to do. I want to be an asset.

Well we think you already are, Timothy Moloi!

See Timothy in  Always & Forever – A Tribute to Luther Vandross is on for one night only at The Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City on Friday 14 August at 8pm.

 Tickets range from R140 – R195 and can be booked at http://www.goldreefcity.co.za or by calling The Lyric Theatre Box Office on (011) 248 5000 or through Computicket.

Read my first interview with Timothy here

Yvonne Chaka Chaka – A Night With the Stars

YvonneSometimes, when I’m interviewing for my site, I can’t believe it’s actually me doing the things I’m doing.  I’m just an ordinary average person, not affluent and just ‘ordinary’. Yet, music and the arts have the power to make me feel alive! And I believe it’s this that is what appeals the most – to touch and BE touched by the souls who tweak the golden thread of humanity.

More than that, there are some things that would just have been physically impossible just a few years ago. Before the fall of apartheid, it would have been very unlikely if not impossible for me to talk to Yvonne Chaka Chaka!!  The Princess of Africa! And I find myself feeling SO GRATEFUL for our freedom, even if we have many challenges facing us today.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka has been in the music business in South Africa since 1985. She is is an internationally recognised and highly respected South African singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, humanitarian and teacher. Among many other successes, the song “Umqombothi” was featured in the opening scene of the 2004 movie Hotel Rwanda.


Even though I have done a number of interviews, I still never fail to feel nervous when I speak to people I hold in such high regard. This interview was no exception, but Yvonne put me at my ease right at the beginning. The reason I’m talking to her is because she’s about to be in a show called “A Night With the Stars” (June 27 and 28) at Joburg Theatre (book here)with the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra and the moment I spoke to her, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the youngsters will be immediately at their ease and be able to do their very best. And one of the injustices of the past is that Yvonne’s songs simply weren’t played on the so called ‘white stations’. So I thought that a good way to honour this profoundly talented and longstanding lady who makes me proud to be South African would be to let you hear her songs so this post has more videos than pictures (please listen, and DON’T download them from here, go get them from iTunes).

What was your original motivation? What is your motivation now? To get in to and then keep creating music.  Do I detect a soul influence, and possibly an influence from 60s / 70s pop bands?

I think it’s influence from the 60s and kind of soul music influences me, I want to think so.

All the stuff in the media about a fire pool made me think of your song I’m Burning Up.


 What’s that song about – the video looks so much fun, please tell me about the process of that song and video?

It was actually written for me, when I started singing most of the songs were written for me. I never contributed anything, I just went into the studio and sang. It was only later I started contributing and having a say in everything that I did.

What made you decide to get into that?

 When I started singing, music was not something I wanted to do. I always wanted to be an accountant. My mother wanted me to be a lawyer. For me this was a totally new thing. I sang in church and school. But it was not a career that I anticipated. I did not think there was anything in this kind of life so when I got into it, I thought if it’s done well, it looks like there is longevity. So I thought let me try my luck. It’s influenced by the see and feels around you and I started travelling, going to places like Kenya, Tanzania. Experiencing other people’s lives. I wanted to write about the things I saw. Attie van Wyk and all the people that I worked with, they gave me a chance to be able to write about my experiences.

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Being an artist of more than 27 years standing, you have seen the best and the worst of South Africa.  You have been a wonderful ambassador for South Africa and are one of the people who makes me proud to be South African. Thank you for that, from me.  Let’s say you were a teacher (which you are) and South Africa was your student, what would you give us on your report card today, and why?

I’m humbled by that. I really think we as South Africans have come a long way. I’ve been in the music industry for 30 years. I started singing in 1985 and 10 years since I became a UN goodwill ambassador. Being a South African born during apartheid you could only imagine these things. I think to myself I never anticipated this, never thought I would be in New York. You can only imagine some of those things. In 1963 when Miriam Makeba was at the UN talking about what was happening in South Africa and you can only imagine that this was a South African talking at the UN Chambers and now today I say I’m in that position. It can only be something that God has planned. I say to myself being a South African and we look and say so much has happened to us. We are able to talk about it. Today you and me are talking, you’re white and I’m black and we’re talking as equals about our country. Not yours or mine. So for me we’ve come a long way and we’ve learned to tolerate each other. If we write a report we’ve come a long way, we can never be the same, but we can learn from one another.   We always paint each other with the same brush, which is terrible.

We have some challenges as South Africans. High levels of crime, high unemployment, levels of dissatisfaction at corruption. What can high profile South Africans, as well as people on the ground, do to help our country from the position we’re in now?

I think what is good now is that freedom of speech is here, people are able to say whatever they want without being scared. People are able to say we don’t like what we see or hear. Ages ago we didn’t know what was happening in our country. Whether there was corruption or whatever, we were not allowed to talk about it. We were not part of the system. There’s even an Ombudsman. So now that we know what our rights and what is corruption, we should not allow it to happen. Our country should be growing not with the slow pace as it is. We can’t afford to retrench people. We need more people being employed. We are getting more young people in Africa so we can’t afford to not empower them. We need to ensure that SMMEs are upskilled and young people are given the skills they need.  We can’t wait for government.  We need to go back to the drawing board to see that we are able to walk freely to do things we need and get rid of crime and corruption. Am I able to do this or that that I need to do? You need people to be efficient to do ordinary things as if you can’t do ordinary things it becomes cumbersome. We need likeminded people to be able to do things above board.

As I get older I realise more and more that as white South Africans we lived an incredibly sheltered life. I get more and more annoyed about it because it prevented us from mixing with ALL South Africans, from learning their languages, learning their cultures, befriending them, and – listening to their music. Back in the 70s and 80s, what sort of support did you receive from South African radio and TV stations? Could radio and TV have done more to integrate society and break down barriers? Could they do more now?

Well I wish more could have been done. Music becomes a universal language. With music you disseminate information but obviously during those times,  we were rebelling and telling the world about the atrocities happening in South Africa. So some of the music was not played because either they did not understand or felt it was not acceptable to them.

Music is universal. When it hits you you get healed. It was sad because there was music for black people and music for white people. It’s sad. I would appreciate my music to be played everywhere, on Radio Five instead of categorising music like a language. I don’t think there’s white or black music.  One thing that was advantageous to us is we were forced to speak English and Afrikaans, French and other languages, it was advantageous and white people could only speak English. We could interact very easily with other people.

I started my website because I’m interested in the golden thread of humanity – as singers, artists, writers, etc, people have the ability to touch others across generations, nations, genders, and race. To inspire people. A song you sing today could inspire someone in generations to come – who isn’t even born yet. Is this something that you think about when performing your music?

Everybody does – like you, you may think you’re not, but the fact that you’re going to write, someone is going to pick up your article and be inspired. I really think everybody out there in their way does inspire people. I always think because I’m in the limelight and I travel a lot and I’ve been given my platform by the people who support me. I don’t think I’m a celebrity I don’t call myself one. (we do!) but I always respect people, it doesn’t matter who they are. You learn from different people every day and for me I always love being inspired and learning from others.

Throughout your life and career you’ve been a wonderful ambassador for South Africa and have broken down barriers. 

  • You were the first black child to appear on South African TV.

Some say I was the second, others say I was the first, it doesn’t matter to me.  It was in 1981 when Black TV started, with TV 2 it was only between 6 – 8 and it was just cartoons and there was a programme called The Conquerer, a guy called Bernard Joffe. It was a Talent Search programme which he put together and it was a singing competition. There were young people playing instruments and dancing. I was the first one there, and he paid us. He paid me R500. That was a lot of money then. My mom earned R40 a month and I made more than her. I was walking with my shoulders up there. He paid us so much money. So I think when he packaged that whole programme he put me first. It was just one of those things.

  • You’ve performed for HRM Queen Elizabeth II, US President Bill Clinton, South African President Thabo Mbeki and a host of other world leaders. Please tell us about these experiences. How does it feel for a girl from Soweto – the Princess of Africa – to perform for the Queen of England?

 Born in Soweto, my father died when I was 11, I never once thought I would travel and see all the faces that I’ve seen or touch them or be amongst them, so for me – to get invited to the White House – perform for Madiba, performing for the Queen, I met Michael Jackson and Whitney. It’s like I kick myself and I think you can never let your background deter you from wanting to be what you want to be. You can never take anything for granted. Everything that you have or that you are has always been planned for you. I constantly say thank you to God.  I’m a strong believer, I’m a Christian.  I never take anything for granted. I had my feet firm on the ground and worked hard, I never thought I had to be there. I never think like that. You never know. What goes up must come down. I never take anything for granted. I’m grateful for the little I have.

You’ve seen a lot of changes in the music world. From vinyl to cassette to CD, with videos too – to mp3s and the internet.  And back to vinyl! Do you find issues like piracy to be a problem – in that it affects your income – and how do you counteract this? Do you think the advent of iTunes and other legal downloading options in South Africa have helped counteract piracy, having made music more accessible?

Oh yes. I really think that’s the biggest problem that we have. When we started singing there is no social media that there is now, which is a great tool to expose music.  These young people with music now, there’s so much exposure, that’s very good but on the other hand, other people explored those avenues for bad reasons. I’m on Google Alerts, and in a day I find my name more than 40 times. They put my music there, upload all your stuff there and you don’t even know who uploads all your stuff. Piracy is at its worse. And that’s stealing someone’s livelihood. In some of the other countries rules are being adhered to but in Africa, most of our stuff is being pirated. They’re stealing our intellectual property and that’s why some artists end up dying like paupers. I think it goes back to education. If you are being educated that you are buying something that’s not authentic, it’s stealing.

On 27 and 28 June you are performing in “A Night with the Stars” with the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra Company. What does it mean to be performing with these young people – possibly born after the fall of apartheid – during Youth month?

When they approached me, for me it’s like giving back and actually encouraging these young people. Like me wanting to perform with my idol. I think these young kids; you can have ambition, because they do have the talent. I have a problem when the jobs want people to have experience, where are they to get it if they haven’t worked? I want to say I’m here; you can work with me as well. I’m prepared to come down to your level and you can work with me. I’m putting myself in your shoes and sitting here with you. Whether they make mistakes, I’m saying it’s okay, I’m going to be there with you. If you are going to go up with me, it’s okay. If you are not it’s still okay but this experience means you can say I did perform with Yvonne Chaka Chaka. It’s during Youth Month, for me it’s supporting these young people. Saying we know you’re young but in 5 – 10 years they could be in the main orchestra or whichever. I would like to encourage other stars to avail themselves for the youth. To be there. I say to myself if you don’t give them a chance who will.

Is there anything else that you would like to bring across in this interview?

 We need to encourage young people, they need to work hard. I’m here to mentor them and I’m sure I was also mentored. I didn’t just wake up and become what I am.  And maybe when they’re older they can do it for others.  They have so much talent.

Book now for A Night With the Stars! 

Elvis Blue is one of South Africa’s best

In South Africa, Elvis Blue needs no introduction. But for the benefit of everyone from other countries, Elvis Blue is a legendary South African singer. He’s the winner of Idols 2010, but he’s much more than that.   Elvis Blue shared his prize money with the other finalist Lloyd Cele, and in that moment he cemented himself a place in the hearts of South Africans – and did more to unite a country with a very divided past in one moment than some politicians have done in 20 years. 

Subsequently he did it once again with his stunning production of the Afrikaans translation of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika together with another South African great Coenie de VilliersSeengebed. He is in my mind one of South Africa’s greatest sons and in keeping with this it makes me incredibly proud to bring this interview to you. 


I want to say a big thank you to both Elvis and his assistant Kona for assisting and conducting and preparing this interview for me to publish. It would not have been possible without you. You guys rule! 

I’ve loved Elvis since this beautiful moment. Just a guy standing there with his guitar making the most peaceful music you ever heard: 


Talk me through your range of emotions singing that song to that group of judges? (I’ve watched it over and over and it just gets better and better!) 

I’d sung that song thousands of times up to then. I remember being a street musician and playing that song over and over again because I loved it so much. I never had THAT reaction though, and that is the thing that made this day special. Something happened….it’s almost like there was something in the air that had changed. I felt as much a spectator as the judges did.

When you were announced the winner, it  seemed like an interminable moment before they called your name .What’s it like to stand for so long and then be announced the winner? And you split the prize, which cemented an already established fandom for me 🙂 are you still in touch with Lloyd, possibly a chance of a collaboration between the two of you? 

Elvis Blue and Lloyd Cele 2010 South African Idols finalists
Source: http://teeveetee.blogspot.com/

I had done 5 albums before I did Idols, and none of them sold particularly well. Standing there made me feel as if all those disappointments were worthwhile. Lloyd and I shared the money because we had made a deal. We collaborated on my first album and we are still in touch today. Who knows what the future holds.


Tell me more about little Elvis who inspired your name? (Elvis’s real name is Jan Hoogendyk. He took the name Elvis Blue as a tribute to an 11-year-old friend with the same name who passed away from HIV/Aids complications in 2009). Is there a trust or anything like that that people can donate to in his name? or maybe some way that we can remember him? 

Source: http://bethesda-home.org/

There are so many places that you can get involved with to make a difference to someone like Elvis. He was in a children’s home here in George called Bethesda. But wherever you are in South Africa, I can assure you, you don’t have to search very far to find some sort of hospice or childrens’ home, or a place where you can make a difference.

Idols 2010 was four years ago. Not all the Idols winners manage to sustain their popularity but you I think are going from strength to strength and deservedly so!  What have been some of the highlights (and lowlights I guess) in the time since Idols?

Let me mention the highlights: Album sales, the 3 Sama awards, touring and supporting with James Blunt, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Without sounding completely cheesy, the biggest highlight is simply being able to do what I love every day.

It’s also not everyone who can appeal to both the English and the Afrikaans market. I certainly think you do (and I love that you post your social media in both languages) (sorry that this is in English!) Do you have any preferences as to which language you prefer to sing in and also do you have influences you can name from both English and Afrikaans? (probably safe to say I’m hearing some Bob Dylan in there?) 

I would probably sing in Zulu if I could speak it. We are very lucky as South Africans to have so many flavours in our country. I make a point of listening to a large variety of music in both English and Afrikaans…..and Zulu.

I love all your songs and I SUPERLOVE Seengebed!! I think you did more to unite the country with that one song than many people did in 20 years. Please walk me through the inspiration and reasons for doing an Afrikaans Nkosi Sikelela? 

 
Thank you so much. I did that song with an Afrikaans icon – Coenie de Villiers, the first time. So many people don’t actually know the meanings of the words when they sing it. Growing up I also heard many people complain about the song, and I must say I got kind of sick of it. I realised it was because people didn’t know how beautiful the words where. That is why I recorded it in Afrikaans, so that people would know the meaning of the words. Our song is beautiful and I wanted people to know that.

The premise of my blog is the fact that all artists, musicians, authors, etc have the power to tweak the golden thread of humanity. By your music you have the ability to touch the consciousness of humanity – it goes over generations, countries, races.  Is this something that you think about? You really seem to sing from the heart! 

Why do people listen to music? There are probably many different reasons. I listen because it makes me feel and think. Sometimes it can be something jovial or joyous. Other times it can be more intense. I am sure all artists who make music think about those things, but more often than not we are kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel and you are just trying to make something sound beautiful. Sometimes just writing one song is difficult, and all I am trying to do is finish the song.

I love the way that you work with social media. You’ve embraced it in such an awesome way, and you currently have a campaign with #toeonsjonkwas (When We Were Young) by which you’re creating a lekker feeling of nostalgia among all your followers! Are you planning something with the photos people have sent or something big with Toe Ons Jonk Was? 

Elvis Blue – Toe Ons Jonk Was
Source – Elvis Blue Facebook page

Ja. I think the biggest thing with the campaign is just that social media platforms are for everyone using it, not necessarily for me to use it. The idea with the campaign is for people to share their pictures with other people.

Check the album out here:


What lies in the future for Elvis Blue


To keep doing what I am doing right now. There are big dreams and plans that I still have. But making music and doing what I’m doing now is the biggest one. We will have to see what happens in the future
Is there anything you’d like to add to this? 

Just thank you.





Actually, I think I need to say thank YOU – posts like this reiterate to me again the strength of the internet in being able to connect with and spread the message of people who make the world a better place. 

Elvis Blue will be performing at the Alberton Civic Centre on 23 September 2014. Get your tickets here.

Follow Elvis on Facebook  here and on Twitter here and check his website here

Timothy Moloi Stars in Aladdin – and talks to me!

I first heard South African tenor Timothy Moloi performing in an open air production of Shakespeare at the Johannesburg Zoo. His voice carried across to me at the back of the audience in that blustery, open terrain, and I knew that here was a talent I wanted to follow. So my excitement was great when I heard that Timothy was about to star as Aladdin at Joburg Theatre. I knew I had to see the show, and I was very happy when Timothy agreed to do an interview for this blog! 

Born and raised in Orlando, Soweto; Timothy Moloi grew up in a home filled with song. It is this love for music, and his flair for infusing familiar and beloved standards with a new freshness, that has made him a favourite with audiences throughout South Africa. With his smooth-as-velvet voice and masterful range, Timothy is one of South Africa’s most extraordinary talents.

He returned to South Africa in 1999, having completed his studies at Ohio Wesleyan University in the USA. Since then Timothy has led a busy performance schedule, and has performed with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, the East Cape Philharmonic, the Electric Pops Orchestra, the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, the Johannesburg Big Band and the Soweto Gospel Choir.




Timothy Moloi’s powerful acoustic versions of some of today’s biggest hits can also be heard online on YouTube, featuring his smooth renditions of some of the world’sbiggest songs. His videos have received more than 500,000 hits to date onYouTube

You are currently starring in Janice Honeyman’s Aladdin at the wonderful Joburg Theatre as the Genie of the Lamp amongst a cast which includes Jeremy Mansfield, Christopher Jaftha, and Bongi Mthombeni. How did this role come about?

I was offered the role by Bernard Jay, from the Joburg Theatre, at the beginning of year. It was a wonderful opportunity and I did not hesitate to say yes!

What are highlights that audiences can watch out for in the show?

The show is a spectacle! Audiences can look forward to great costumes, amazing sets and lighting, wonderful performances, music and choreography, and of course Jeremy Mansfield as the wonderfully evil Abanazer! 

What’s been the most fun working with this cast?


It’s a real ensemble piece and there’s been a wonderful sense of togetherness and supportiveness from each and every member of the cast which has made coming to work each day such a joy. 

Is this the biggest theatre production you’ve worked on?

It is definitely one of the biggest productions I’ve worked on.

What’s it like working with this kind of music, lighting, special effects, etc?

It’s been a lot of fun. Especially because there’s such attention to detail and all the technical elements help us with our performances. We have an amazing technical crew behind the scenes who help create the magic! Our musical director is Roelof Colyn. He has done an amazing job with the music for the show and it’s a great privilege performing with him and our fantastic band.



You’ve got a star studded career in show biz here in South Africa having amongst many other things performed the song “Hope” at the OPENING CEREMONY of the FIFA 2010 WORLD CUP at Soccer City to an estimated global audience of 500 million viewers,Television performances have included the MTN SOUTH AFRICAN MUSIC AWARDS, MISS SOUTH AFRICA, SABC3 JOBURG POPS, the SABC2/Sowetan COMMUNITY BUILDER OF THE YEAR AWARDS, the SA RUGBY AWARDS and the MNET “HEROES AGAINST CRIME” AWARDS, as well as several guest appearances on popular programs. You’ve sung for President Nelson MandelaGraca Machel, and King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands at Douw Steyn’s private game reserve Shambala in the Waterberg.  Describe the experience of singing in front of Nelson Mandela? What did you perform for him?

We performed a special concert for them as part of the World Summit in 2002. It was amazing because it was at such an intimate event, and Madiba had such kind words for us after the show. He has an amazing presence and it was a great honour performing for him and meeting him after the performance.

How different is it to sing on TV than in the theatre?

Live TV can be quite exciting, especially on large events such as Miss SA and the World Cup. But I love the immediacy of theatre. It’s great to feel the audiences response.

Which is your first love?

My first love will always be performing live in front of an audience.

You were born and raised in Orlando, Soweto, and studied in the US at at Ohio Wesleyan University in the USA. What did you study?

I got a BA in theatre with a minor concentration in music.

Ohio is a far cry from Orlando. What was it like studying so far away from home? How did it come about that you would study in the States? Were there any teachers or lecturers who played a specific role in your life – who are your mentors?

It was a special experience studying in the USA, especially because that’s where I started performing professionally. I had a family friend who helped me with the application process to a number of colleges, and I chose the university that gave me the most financial assistance. There were many great lecturers, but my acting teacher Elaine Denny was the one who really helped me gain confidence on stage. I’ll be eternally grateful to her. 

What was your first break into theatre and how have you grown since then?

My first break into theatre happened when I returned to South Africa in 1999, and immediately was cast by Janice Honeyman in her production of “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Joburg Theatre. It has been a really special experience returning to this wonderful theatre 14 years later to work with her again.

In South Africa we almost have a responsibility to encourage our youth to embrace their talents and create their own opportunities. My own son is 13 and enjoys being on stage but he is changeable, shy and has a bit of a lack of self confidence. What would you say to kids like him?


I would say practice, practice and more practice makes perfect! As performers we never ever stop learning and improving. The whole process takes time, so it’s important to be patient and to persevere.

Aladdin is currently running at the Joburg Theatre. It’s not to be missed. 

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