Cape Town – In celebration of Women’s Month, singer-songwriter Luna Paige chats to us about being an independent female artist in the South African music industry.
Channel24: Have you seen growth in opportunities for female singer-songwriters in SA over the last decade or so?Luna Paige:
"I have definitely seen improvement. When I started out performing and releasing albums years ago (2000-2003) one did not often see females at music festivals. You could literally count them on one hand, especially in the more alternative genres and festivals. Nowadays if one looks at the line-ups of festivals there is a variety of female singer-songwriters.
"What I would like to see however is that more female artists be given the opportunity to play on main stages at festivals. There is still that notion that they should be playing on smaller, more intimate stages. Granted – their music often falls under the more laid back vibes – but I am sure –given the opportunity to perform with full bands and with a decent budget – these female artists will be able to give kick ass shows where ever they go. Female artists I have seen work hard over the last couple of years are Andra, Josie Field, Laurie Levine and of course – one of the leading ladies, Karen Zoid. Channel24:
How does an independent artist make his/her career work in a commercial industry?Luna Paige:
"It is always a challenge. Independent artists often have the least resources available to them. Many respond and say that we are lucky to have the advantage of online and free marketing. This can be extremely beneficial and has proved to ensure success for many independent artists. It is however still a challenge.
"The reason for this is that due to the fact that everyone makes use of free online marketing – putting out a decent online video still costs money! One can still spot a low budget video/ recording a mile away and competition still is rife. I believe it is important for independent artists to be so much more business savvy, find corporate investors, donators or sponsors and work with marketing specialists in developing concrete marketing strategies.
"Investing money in albums and tours are not enough. Few independent artists get distribution deals or airplay – they thus need to find innovative ways to get their music distributed and heard. And it takes more than putting your music on iTunes. I do believe in collective power and I think it is important that independent artists should collaborate and tour together."Channel24:
Do you believe that diversity in music genres is being encouraged and supported in South Africa?Luna Paige:
"I think our listeners and music lovers support diversity in the industry. I think the gatekeepers often don’t. I think they often underestimate their audiences and are afraid to take risks that might rock the money-making boat. I would love to see more and more diversity on local radio – specialised programmes focusing on various genres – especially in a country like ours where we have so many cultural / ethnic groups who each have their own contribution to make."There are some online radio stations who try to do this and I hope they do get the support they deserve (from investors as well as the public). One such an online station is Bakgat Radio (www.bakgatradio.co.za) who only plays South African music. I find this exciting! Another is Zone Radio who also supports local music immensely (www.zoneradio.co.za).
Where can we read more about you, your music and performances?
On my website, www.lunapaige.com.
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