If you’re a follower of my site, you’ll already know that there’s an amazing show taking place on 1 July at The Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg – Born To Perform – a Stageworx Production as I’ve just published the interview we did with Cito, Graeme Watkins and Nathan Ro. You’ll also be well acquainted with Daniel Baron, the exciting young SA musician who we interviewed in January 2014.
Daniel is also involved in this talent showcasing show and we caught up with him again on a cold morning in Joburg.
The show that you’re doing, it’s a once off isn’t it?
Yes, it is but, I know the people very well that are putting it together and this is the first of many that they’re going to put on. I’ve been rehearsing with the kids and it’s absolutely incredible to see the talent. When I was a kid I didn’t have anything like this. I think it’s going to carry on and they will do a follow up one next year. It’s something that’s not going to end here. Matt Marinus and Gemma Marinus are the producers. Matt actually is from the Graeme Watkins project. He’s produced a couple of my music videos.
They are showcasing some young kids, up and coming young talent and then they’re featuring myself and a couple of other guys to duet with them. It’s going to be quite a nice showcase for these kids.
I haven’t worked with Cito before but I know Graeme well because we were in Idols together and then Nathan I know well as well. Cito has got an incredible voice and he does incredible opera songs as well.
How did this whole thing come about?
The producers Matt and Gemma run this talent school and they’ve been coaching singers, actors, dancers – stage performers for the past few years. Stageworx School has expanded to a large amount of kids and students and they wanted to put together a show case, not to showcase the kids to their parents, but to the public.
I’m going to be performing a couple of my well known radio hits. Like a medley and I’ll be one of the guest performers and then four of the kids will come up and duet with me which will be nice.
Were you involved with the kids at all, the selection or mentoring?
Not the selection but I was involved with arranging their performances, putting together how it would sound and musically arranging stuff. Some of them are quite young. I don’t know the exact ages, but it’s about 6 – 18. These cute little six years old coming on. They’re so talented and really good.
I think they will be. And it’s the Lyric Theatre – working with kids is very rewarding for me because as I said when I was a kid I played instruments and I sang but there wasn’t really a platform like this to be part of. It’s an honour to be able to help these kids out, give encouragement. You have a dream when you’re younger and there are discouraging factors with wanting to become a musician. I mentor them, though my support structure was great but there wasn’t something like this to go straight onto a stage. I had to work my way through performing at restaurants and pubs so it’s nice for something like this, for them to get a taste. It trains them and gives them motivation – this will really help them with their nerves. The first time I stood on stage it was a little talent show at school and I could barely sing I was so nervous. Something like this is really beneficial. Little things, little vocal things and training.
It makes celebrities more approachable. I’m just imagining with this event, kids must have it so different. Probably not easier, it might even be tougher to deal with today’s world.
I guess there are dangers of the social media thing. It’s another world. You can almost get almost caught up. It can pull you away from reality but it is beneficial for this industry.
How do you deal with fans and stuff like that?
I’ve got to be open with what I do in every day life. You take photos at a show or having a meal, fans like to see you doing normal things. I do separate my personal life to putting that on Facebook, but I love it because my fans can contact me, ask me what does this lyric mean and give me advice on my career. It gives me a personal link to each and every fan and I do take time to try and respond.
When it comes to negativity, I don’t put out anything negative. I’ve got to be careful what I say. That’s one thing. If someone is negative towards me I just don’t respond. That’s up to them, it’s their opinion. Fortunately I haven’t had a huge amount of negative publicity.
What would you say the aim of this show is?
I think it’s for the kids, to give them that initial platform. To stand on stage and give them that opportunity to perform on a massive stage to a full crowd audience and then I think it’s obviously, mainly for the kids, to give them that initial exposure. There may be people in the audience who are talent scouts and it will put a lot of these kids on the map when it comes to this industry.
Maybe to show South Africans we’ve got up and coming talent.
To see where the next Prime Circle is going to come from. It’s a talent hunting opportunity. Some of these kids are already recording. Stageworx give these kids a chance to sit in the studios and record.
My brand new album Apollo is out at the moment, there are a few well known songs on that. I did a bit of writing in America over December, and when I came back you interviewed me. My girlfriend is my manager so it’s over a year she’s been managing me and being my agent. It’s been working phenomenally and we can travel together and it works well. Just going back in my career the biggest highlight was opening for Bon Jovi. My single is Indestructible and I’ll be performing that on the show and I’ve just released a song with an Afrikaans band Ada and I’ll be doing that – I’m friends with one of the guys from the band. They’re popular in the Afrikaans market and I always wanted to do a colab with an Afrikaans artist. It’s an English song and we released the song last week. It climbed to the top ten on the iTunes chart. It debuted at 39 and in the space of 2 days it climbed to 10.
It’s lekker that people can buy the song as opposed to free downloads. Have you found that that’s been a big influence on your sales?
I think so, though there’s still a demand for physical copies. After shows I sell a lot of physical copies because the people want signed CDs and stuff. The most revenue for me comes from my song writing. I do a lot of song writing for corporates, for adverts, corporate motivational songs. It leads to them then booking me in my band. Live performances and songwriting is where the revenue comes from.
How many musicians are true musicians?
Not everyone can write music, if you look at the history of music, with Elvis, Frank Sinatra, we went to see Kenny Rogers and I found out he didn’t write a lot of his own songs. Some of these legends have songs sourced for them. Then there are the Beatles, U2, Cold Play. I wouldn’t be able to release a song I didn’t write. I prefer to have a hand in what goes out. I like singing covers, but if I were to release, I prefer to write my own music.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I write about everything, literally, it started off writing about love, heartbreak and little things. That is, love is a central theme in music worldwide. But I write a lot of motivational, inspiring songs. One of my biggest hits was a song called So Much More, same as my other song indestructible. My goal is to inspire people. I 100% do believe that we’ve all been given certain talents and responsibility. I believe my responsibility is to inspire others through music. Countless times where I get a message from a fan saying the song has helped them through a tough time. I was performing at a school the other day and a 14 year old came up to me and said my song Indestructible saved her life and it hit me like full force that music has that power. Though I wrote that song I think it’s from above – I’m a channel. That type of thing motivates me to write more. Sometimes it’s difficult to sit down and say let’s write a new one. Though I love it and I could not do anything else. It tires you.
I bet for that one that says it there’s more that feel it.
Music is so universal, it’s something that everyone has in common. You could be a completely different nationality and language
What lies ahead for you after this?
I will be going back to the States. My next goal is to get my music out there in a big way. I’ve been , I’ve toured to a point, I did a UK tour in 2013, and I played about 10 – 15 shows there. That was awesome, my first time meeting people and playing and I got a nice reception. We got the song on radio which was quite cool. I’ve performed in Switzerland and in the States as well. I’ve got family there so it’s quite easy to go there and travel around. I’ve got a manager in the States so things are developing. If you make it in America you make it worldwide. I’ve never been to Australia, people say I should go there and try my luck there. In the UK a couple of South Africans attend my show. There are expats everywhere, but my main aim is to get my name out through the general public as well.
With Itunes I get a sales report every few months and you can see what countries are buying your stuff. I think I sold close to 1,000 albums or MP3 downloads and in the UK and then 10 – 15 in France. It is slowly getting out there.
Is there anything else you’d like to chat about?
The main thing is the show or the Stageworx production and the album Apollo which is on iTunes. It’s available all over the internet. People can get in touch with me and order a signed copy. Interestingly the most album sales in my career has been sales at gigs. My first album sold over 10,000 copies and 5 – 10% were sold in a shop. If people want a hard copy they can get it at the show or order online. People can watch social media for updates.
For a wide variety of photographs of the talented youngsters involved in Born To Perform, click on this dropbox link for access:
Watch these videos to give you an idea what to expect from the youngsters on the night: