It is difficult for an independent artist to make a name for himself – especially in an environment where people appreciate cover versions of songs, instead of original work.
So said Athlone musician, Nur Felix, 27, when asked why he and his band have to host a fundraiser to generate money for the filming of their upcoming music video.
He added that he means no disrespect to those bands who do cover versions.
As a full-time musician for the past six years, things have not been easy for Mr Felix. He is yet to release an album, but said he had, over the years, performed live “at many places” to generate an interest for his album. Known as the Nur Felix band, his band members include bassist Spencer Mbadu, and percussionist Michael de Wit.
Mr Mbadu used to play with the late Brenda Fassie, toured the UK with Abdullah Ibrahim and today he teaches bass at jazz workshops.
The trio will perform on Saturday August 13, at A Touch of Madness in Observatory, to raise funds for the shooting of their music video, for the song, Brand New Day.
Their music has been described as a fusion of folk, soul and reggae.
The band was only formed three months ago. Before, as a solo artist, Mr Felix used to collaborate with other artists.
“Music has become an industry where you don’t make a lot of money as an independent artist. The industry is tough, but I don’t want to sacrifice my creative freedom. I have a message I share, and my main thing is writing songs,” Mr Felix said.
His early work included songs dealing with politics and spirituality, and now he has started writing about relationships and “personal stuff” as well.
As an independent artist, Mr Felix had to learn “the hard way” about business skills, he said.
“It’s difficult, because you have to do everything yourself – you have to book gigs, apply business skills – and now that we are a band, it costs money to rehearse and to get to the gig. We would love to do free fundraisers, but it is not always possible. As a solo artist, I just used to grab my guitar and my cords and go do a gig, but now there’s transportation costs of the band members and their instruments. Yes, it’s tough, but I have artistic freedom, where I get to walk and explore my own musical journey without being packaged in a certain way (like when you have a record label).”
Mr Felix has written 40 songs, and 10 of these will be recorded for the debut album.
Filmmaker Nicky Felbert will be directing the video for Brand New Day.
Tickets to the fundraiser on Saturday August 13, at 8pm, are R50 each, and available at the door, at A Touch of Madness, 12 Nutall Road, Observatory.