Swing City was borne of the love of swing music from three of South Africa’s most loved artists. A harmless side comment from one musician to another ended up in a serious discussion about producing a three piece singing group, backed by a full jazz orchestra and band, celebrating their love of jazz, swing and blues, but adding a modern day twist to the genre.
Swing City consists of Lonehill Estate’s Nathan Ro, whose love for swing music has always engrossed the pop/ rock singer’s iPod; Graeme Watkins, whose background in music and theatre started as a swing singer long before his success on Idols or in his indie rock band “The Graeme Watkins Project”; and Loyiso Bala, whose classically trained background in music saw the singer as part of the TKZee crew, the Bala Brothers in classical song and in the pop world in his own successful career.
The three singers, already friends, jokingly commented what fun it would be to start a swing band. It would be years later, that they took the idea seriously, got into a rehearsal space with their friends from Figure of 8 productions and Swing City was born!
THE GRAEME WATKINS PROJECT
It’s not often that the South African music scene sees a band explode the way The Graeme Watkins Project since its inception in 2011. With two studio albums to their name (‘Corridors of The Mind’ (March 2011) and ‘Soldier On’(2013)) and numerous Top 10 hits, the band returns to the South African music scene after taking a break in 2014.
2016 sees The Graeme Watkins Project release another smash hit and music video for Love in Abundance, which together with its transparent musical growth, has been play listed on commercial radio across the country. GWP brings a dirty, edgy, rough approach to a medley of pop, indie, rock and electronic genres. “A Masterpiece is a stroke of genius in a moment of madness… So live life like a madman” is Graeme’s motto, and there is definitely madness incorporated into his music.
With a range of songs incorporating a host of genre’s ,From Rock, to indie, to pop to deep and meaningful ballads, or acoustic bounce downs of popular chart toppers, this band is full of surprises. Their ADHD inspired beat, the music is designed to get the crowd into the mad-capped mindset of the band members, to break out of their comfort zone and rock out to the all-encompassing movement of the melody.
Three of the most gorgeous and ridiculously talented female popstars come together for the love of doo-wop, motown and shoop shoop to form The Shoowop Shop.
Tamara Dey (Flash Republic) , Mariechan Luiters (Jamali) and Melissa Allison (Idols)
With songs perfectly choreographed and performed in three part harmonies, audiences can look forward to familiar favourites from the 50s, 60s and 70s incorporating swing, jazz, motown and old school rhythm and blues. The ladies come dressed to theme, and ready to get the crowd shaking along to modernized versions of old school shoowop songs, as well as shoowoped versions of popular top 40 hits.
Loyiso Gijana was one of the four Eastern Cape contestants who were sent to the Carnival City auditions by radio station, Algoa FM.
Even though he was only 16 when entering Idols, this student from Muir College in Uitenhage knows exactly where he’s going in life. Even though Loyiso was not the winner of Idols SA 2015, this ambitious young man is determined to make a success of himself, saying, “I still want to go on to study … something like Marketing, that I can apply in running my own career as a musician”.
“You’ve got a bright future in the music business,” Somizi Mhlongo told him after his mature and confident performance of Usher’s “Good Kisser” in the solo auditions at Sun City.
Ever since, Loyiso has been securing great opportunities to perform which include gigs such as the 2015 SAFTAs. He has performed across the country at various festivals, corporate gigs and charity events. Loyiso is currently in studio, recording his first single to release this summer! Doing as well as he currently is; we have no doubt that Loyiso will continue to shoot for the stars and build a solid career in music.
Noma Khumalo is the winner of SA Idols 2016, the first female in the past 8 seasons of the show. She is 23 years old and was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu- Natal. She was a student teacher at Maritzburg Christian School before entering the competition.
Prior to Idols, she was in the KZN/Midlands Youth Choir for 4 years and in 2012 she became the Head Girl of the choir which toured the United Kingdom for the Queen’s 60th Diamond Jubilee as well as the Llangollen Eisteddfod Music Festival where the choir, as a high school level choir, came 2nd in the world against university level choirs. Being Head Girl, Noma was one of the lead vocalists for the choir. Noma has performed at a variety of evetns such as the DSTV Delicious Festival, Michaelhouse Music Festival and many more.
Noma says she competed in Idols to learn as much as she can about the music industry and it is something that she has always wanted to do. She is eager to gain immense amounts of knowledge on the industry so as to help her perfect her artistry and build a lasting and sustainable career.
Noma’s debut album has done very well and it includes favourites such as “Want It to Feel Like it Did with You” and “Moving On”, which as recorded with industry favourite, Sketchy Bongo. The music video for “Moving On” was also recently released and is being well received. Noma enjoyed recording this music video as she got to show fans the streets she grew up on whilst having fun. Noma is also planning to do a nationwide tour where fans will be able to hear her perform some of their favourite songs from the album.
Thami Shobede is a KZN-born musician. He entered SA Idols in 2015 and again in 2016 where he made it to the Top 2 Idols. For a few years now, Thami has been a full-time entertainer who pursues singing as well as acting. During the 2016 Idols competiton, he performed at the DSTV Delicious Festival along with his fellow Top 9 contestants. He has featured on Channel O adverts and is mentored by well-known industry professionals. Thami has written several of his own songs which he likes to perform at his gigs. His afro pop single, Sthandwa, made it to number 1 on the iTunes Charts and was well received by viewers when he performed it for the first time. Since leaving the competition, Thami has been hot on our books, performing at several public and private events. He is currently working hard in studio to release his first album which fans are eagerly waiting for. His charisma, good manners and memorable stage presence makes Thami popular for any event.
Veranda Panda is Liam and Jane.
Born and bred on the east coast of South Africa, the unlikely combination of EDM and Violin has seen the duo rise to become one of the country’s most original and popular acts.
Having performed extensively throughout South Africa, Liam and Jane have a repertoire, style and energy that is unmatched by anyone in their field. With experience in clubs, festivals, corporate and stage, they have rocked their unique brand of music in almost every possible scenario.
Among their live performances they have opened for international DJ’S:
Borgore and I’ll Gates
And supported acclaimed artists like:
Die Antwoord, Goldfish, Jack Parow, P.h.fat, Toya Delazy, Niskerone
Since their inception; the duo has released FOUR albums. Their Drum and Bass single: ‘Two in the same’, held a record breaking six weeks at number one on the ‘Red Cap Radio’ music charts. Along with this, they feature every month on the Saturday Night FIX on 5FM and feature regularly on ‘The Roger Goode Show’. 2015 sees them with a countrywide performance schedule and plans to tour Europe.
After entering the industry in 2009, Afro-soul star Nomfusi has become one of South Africa’s most sought-after export products.
With over twenty international tours under her belt, Nomfusi has given riveting performances across Europe and Canada at prestigious festivals such as WOMAD in England. She has performed with the likes of Angelique Kidjo at the Afrikadey Festival in Canada, and to an audience of more than 8 000 at FMM Sines in Portugal and Lugano Jazz Festival.
In 2015, Nomfusi also opened for the much loved Lionel Richie at Stimmen Festival in Lörrach, Germany. In 2014, she performed together with Hugh Masekela at the “20 Years of Democracy of South Africa” Honour Concert in Brussels. Nomfusi was chosen to portray the character of Miriam Makeba in the long-awaited film about the life of Nelson Mandela, “Long Walk to Freedom,” which was released in November 2013.
The SAMA nominated singer, who made the bold move from The Mother City to pursue her dreams in The City of Gold, was counted under the top ten rising stars on ETV Showbiz Report in December 2011. She has been featured in more than fifty publications, including Drum (who gave her 5 stars for her debut album), Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Destiny, and she has appeared on the cover of High Flyers, Mango Juice and The Sowetan newspaper.
Nomfusi, just as much a child of the soil as a woman of the world, cares deeply for her community, while not shying away from the world of glitz, glamour and success as she sings in her anthem against poverty, “Nontsokolo,”: “Remember your sister, your brother, your mother and your neighbour. Don’t leave them behind. Go back, and make a difference.”
Karabo Mogane was born in Johannesburg and raised in Nelspruit. His love for music started at a very young age as he was a cultural prefect in high school and was part of the choir from grade nine through to matric. Growing up in musically-oriented family had its influence on Karabo as he and his siblings formed a Gospel group called “The Mogane Family”.
Over the years he was exposed to all sorts of music genres such as RnB, Jazz, Rock, Soul, and Gospel. Karabo attended Stellenbosch University where he studied Geo-informatics for three years. A year short of completing his degree, Karabo put it on hold to pursue his musical passions and entered Idols 2015.
Two days after the commencement of the competition, Karabo dived straight into the recording studio at Universal to work on his debut album. A month later, Love is a Verb was ready and his debut single “DING DONG” quickly gained in popularity, securing a spot on iTunes Top 3. Karabo proved his musical talent and won over the hearts of the nation which secured him as winner of the 2015 Idols South Africa competition.
As a highly loved artist, Karabo attends numerous interviews and he is constantly admired by his large following on his social media platforms. He has performed at a variety of corporate events as well as festivals, including a gig in Mauritius and a large Homecoming Concert in his hometown. Mr Mogane has performed alongside various artists and continues to do so.
Early 2016, Karabo recorded the theme track for Disney Junior’s “The Lion Guard” to be played across Africa. It is a great honour and privilege for Disney to welcome Karabo into their well-established and highly loved family. Along with the Disney collaboration, Karabo has released a music video for his single “Ngifuna Lo” and his second album, “Matters of the Heart” which was released late November 2016.
The Rockabilly Ravens are a high-quality, star-studded ensemble featuring Samantha Peo (multiple Naledi Award winner and judge on Strictly Come Dancing), singer Musa Sakupwanya (featured in shows by Nataniel), Martin Rocka (guitarist with Wonderboom and former musical director of Idols), American preliminary Grammy Award nominee John Fresk as the Musical Director, and a horn and rhythm section with formidable experience.
The Rockabilly Ravens balance timeless rockabilly classics with arrangements of contemporary hits done in the rockabilly style. They're a refreshing, fun and energetic class act, guaranteed to appeal to a broad and diverse demographic. More importantly, this music with its infectious rhythm and toe-tapping appeal will inject the fun factor into your event. So spoil your guests with the Rockabilly Ravens – a guaranteed winner!
Stellenbosch-born musician, Tebogo Louw, started singing professionally in 2010. Not only does this talented artist sing but he also dances and acts.
Tebogo first entered Idols in 2014 where he made it to the Top 30. In 2015, he entered again only to make it to Top 30 before being sent home. This resilient vocalist entered Idols once more in 2016 and he has made it as far as the Top 3, wowing viewers all the way through.
After many years of singing and performing, Tebogo has really learnt how to perfect his craft. He has performed at a variety of events and venues such as The Rockwell in Cape Town, Stellenbosch Lights, Cancer Walk for Men, countless wine farms across the Cape, candlelight concerts, private gigs, corporates, The Amazink, and recently at the DSTV Delicious Festival to name a few. Tebogo plays guitar and piano which is a lovely addition to his performances.
He is always ready and willing to please the client as he is happy to perform solo, on backtracks or with a full band. Tebogo’s musical style is what he would call a “Jazzy, Pop, African vibe.” He brings a professional, energetic style to the stage and his love for performance and the musical industry guarantees that his shows will never be anything less than impressive.
The Buzz is a teen pop sensation developed in early 2015. Comprising of 12 energetic young adults, they are ready to launch into the South African industry with a BANG!
All 12 members are between 15 and 22 years old, and hungry to make an impact on the Youth of today. The Buzz forms a platform for them to launch into the industry as a starting point for their very bright futures that lay ahead. Out of the 12 artists, clients may request specific make ups to fit their budget, and size of their event. 7 of our 12 artists are still in school, and the other 5 have either matriculated or are in a home schooling environment.
Aimed at the ever growing, and popular, “Tween” market, the artists within the buzz each cater to unique sub cultures that exist in the pop market today. Be prepared to squeal along to popular tracks by artist’s ranging from WHAM!, Katrina and The waves all the way to popular artists today, Olly Muhrs, Demi Lovato, 1 Direction and Beyonce. This Buzzing Bunch are guaranteed to get everyone on their feet, regardless of age. Each artist has a unique story and background, and have put their all into this team.
Fashioned on the model of Glee, The Buzz has no specific market, but rather are relatable to each and every person who watches them.
Lucia Jakeni is a 26 year old vocalist who made it to the Top 5 contestants of the SA Idols competition.
Lucia has been singing from an early age. She has been trying to get recognition as a musical artist since 2009. In 2013, she entered SA Idols but unfortunately didn’t get far in the competition. Lucia then performed at the Clash of the Choirs in 2014, representing Gauteng as part of the group Shugasmakx. The team came second overall.
Lucia performed at DSTV’s Delicious Festival this year with her fellow contestants. Lucia is mostly influenced by afropop, RnB and gospel music. She has worked with Shugasmakx, Graeme Watkins, JR and other known musicians over the years. Not only has Lucia been pursuing her musical career but she has also appeared in a Disprin advert and a DSTV advert.
As Lucia continues her journey in the music industry, she is excited to build relationships, perform her heart out and make a name for herself.
Nosihe Zulu is a Pietermaritzburg born and raised singer, songwriter.
Having grown up in a musical home, she was inspired by her parents and fell in love with music. Nosihe grew up in the church community and she was often asked to perform at several functions. This led to her realisation that she loves to perform and entertain people. She learnt to play the piano so I could accompany her performances with an added element of creativity.
Nosihe is an eclectic singer; performing a wide range of genres such as Pop, Jazz and RnB. Nosihe feels privileged to have been a part of various festivals and events such as Splashy Fen, White Mountain Music Festival, MITH (Music In The Hills), and recently DSTV’s Delicious Festival just to name a few. She currently participated in Season 12 of Idols SA 2016 and she made it to the Top 8. She is now looking forward to the musical journey that lies ahead.