Cape Town is bustling with crazy cool music cats, and our latest discovery is the ultra slick, edgy and talented super Diva Ghia. Ghia’s solo music career has been almost a decade in the making, though during this time she has established herself as a vibrant local performer comfortable on stage and screen.
The edgy, provocative, political and pulsing first single BossyBoots, taken off her debut EP State Of Being, showcases a brand new frontier in Ghia’s sound and artistic expression.
For this EP, Ghia collaborated with many acclaimed creative professionals that crossed her path over the years, including Rian Zietsman and Louis Nel of Sticky Music (Taxi Violence and Beast,) Mr Sakitumi (Lark and Jeremy Loops), Kurt Diedericks ‘Kumodi’ (Southpaw and Sannie Fox) and Luke Langston ‘TehSynes’.
We took some time out to chat to Ghia about her current State Of Being –
The EP is incredible by the way – beautiful BIG classic alt sound
- What is your state of Being?
Current state of being, insomniac. Of course, I’m also excited that all the time spent creating this EP is finally coming together to be put out in a live show.
- The songs on my debut EP are all deeply personal. At the time of writing and developing these songs, I was inspired by experiences surrounding my creative process and decided to explore the notion of grappling with life’s challenges. Looking back, it was a vulnerable place to be, but I find strength in the fragility that pushed me to expand my creative boundaries. It is thanks to these struggles that I was able to find my core, my voice,” Can you give us a bit more personal info on what sort of struggles and experiences you went through and how you found your voice?
That’s a massive question. How do I explain my whole life in a few sentences? As a person of colour, growing up in the 80s in a middle class home in Old Belhar in Cape Town, getting into the entertainment industry was not an accessible future. My parents, as many of us experienced, just didn’t believe that it was possible to have a sustainable or successful career in the arts and steered me away from it. At the time, who could blame them?
As a result the creative field I ended up working in just didn’t fulfill me, so now I’m chasing what I actually wanted. I am super excited of course, but still, a career change around the age of 30 has its terrifying hurdles.
All this, combined with the death of my mother and grandmother, other personal family difficulties, a lack of accessible support network for my creativity, and an industry with numerous racially skewed hurdles meant that there has been plenty to work through. It’s getting there thankfully! My music was a wonderful outlet for all this, almost therapeutic in fact. Discovering that what I have to say is also social commentary happened by default. I may not create music in this way forever. It may be a process that I needed to go through to get to the other side, but this is where my voice is at now.
- Bossy Boots is a surreptitiously political track that addresses sexism, racism and general states of entitlement that surprisingly remain prevalent in today’s society.
Can you elaborate for us?
As many women and South Africans of colour can relate to, our lives, definitely in my own, are full of situations where we are confronted with by extraordinarily entitled people, along race and gender lines. One gets the sense that some people see their lives as more urgent or relevant than yours, in a painfully persistent feeling of being condescended to by people who clearly believe they have more right to exist than you. From strange men commenting, completely uninvited and inappropriately, on my choice of clothing, to friends who can’t respect boundaries, BossyBoots is about them all.
- For this EP, Ghia collaborated with many acclaimed creative professionals that crossed her path over the years, including Rian Zietsman and Louis Nel of Sticky Music (Taxi Violence and Beast,) Mr Sakitumi (Lark and Jeremy Loops), Kurt Diedericks ‘Kumodi’ (Southpaw and Sannie Fox) and Luke Langston ‘TehSynes’.
Can you tell us what each of these collaborations brought to the project for you and why you chose to work with these artists?
To be honest in the beginning I wasn’t really sure who I needed to work with. It happened organically. Rian and Louis of Taxi Volence, who are such talented musicians with their solid rock background, brought a nice classic big alternate sound with thick bass rock undertones to ‘Fight’ and ‘Where What How’.
Sean Ou Tim, aka MR Sakitumi, whom I was constantly referred to but never thought I’d actually get the chance to work with, surprisingly made himself available after I approached him at CTEMF. It was such a treat to jam with in studio with such a multi-skilled instrumentalist who really knows his genres and really understood the 90’s trip hop style I am so strongly influenced by. It’s a sound we managed to pull off in ‘Let It Rain’, and with ‘BossyBoots’ he brought a hint of his trademark bouncy flavour into the mix.
The last track I composed with Kurt Deidericks (Kumodi), a skilled drummer and keyboardist, who creates the most beautiful melodies so easily, which is how ‘Live Love laugh’ was born. I roped in Luke Langston (Tehsynes), a drum n bass DJ/Producer who plays a mean electric guitar riff, to session and do the final mix and engineering. Working with various producers on this EP allowed me to explore my sound and create a bit of a lucky packet of songs, which I personally like in an album.
- The EP has a big classic anthem James Bond inspired style. Where else do you draw your inspiration from, – fashion wise, Movies, music , books etc? Anything that particularly moves you?
It’s funny that few people have compared ‘Fight’ to a James Bond soundtrack, which wasn’t the intention, but I do find I tend to gravitate towards music that sounds like a film score. There’s a long list of artists I love listening to but I’d say the artists/bands/DJ’s who inspired me the most during the creation of this EP would be, Portishead, Skunk Anansie, Massive Attack, Lark, Xenia Rubinos, Brock Berringon, Mos Def, and Tricky, who is one of my biggest influences and inspirations. Vocally I feel inspired by greats like Ella Fritzgerald, Etta James, Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse, whose music I cover in my corporate band and am sure has some influence on my vocal style. I have a thing for quirky Tim Burton or dark art house movies. The first movie that jumps to minds that’s ever inspired my work is ‘Under the Skin’.
- Tell us something about Ghia no one else knows. What gets you up out of bed in the morning? I like nachos…like I really like nachos. It’s a new thing. My dog, who needs to wee.
- After State Of being – what is your next step in your artistic journey?
The next step is live performances, taking the EP – State of Being along with new music to stage and more collaborations. I want to perform and travel, particularly, if I can, to a Tiny desk concert in New York, in Bristol in the UK, Berlin wherever they’ll have me!