It would be one big lie to say that I am not relieved and excited about the massive industry change in Afrikaans music. When you used to refer to Afrikaans music as soon as 5 to 6 years ago, unfortunately is was dominated by headlines such as “Afrikaans is dying”, an article posted on News24 (https://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Afrikaans-is-dying-20130822) and “when Afrikaans videos go(very) wrong, another News24 publication (http://www.channel24.co.za/Newsletter/Please-Stay-Classy-South-Africa-20130423). I wish I could defend the industry and tell everybody off for writing such nonsense but unfortunately it was true!
I remember being a little girl, going to see an artist perform and your jaw used to drop. You would not walk past a singer in a shop without nervously asking for an autograph in your autograph book that you carried with you everywhere just in case. So what happened to the industry? I am not dissing the old hero`s like Bles and Corra, they were leaders in the industry setting an example for upcoming singers to follow – but something went horribly wrong! We ended up with I am sorry to say a bunch of mediocre artists, that could barley hold a tone for 10 seconds. To compensate for that, they turned to like the Afrikaans people would say “tong in die kies” songs, shallow without any meaning and music videos would rather be idiotic to make the audience laugh and not notice the lack of vocal talent. We then moved to the “sokkie bokkie” era where everything would just be full of beat, but if you listened to the words once again shallow and without any meaning.
It became just a normal job to be an Afrikaans singer, it was not a honor anymore. There was actually nothing to it. If mom and dad had a little bit of money, you could make your own cd and unleash it upon the world, no problem. It was not something big to see an artist in the mall anymore, and autograph books died a quick death. Anybody that thought they could sing a verse in the shower could enter the industry.
This killed a lot of good artists, because instead of paying for one artist, you could take that same amount of money and get 3 of 4 mediocre singers that will probably still draw a crowd, and they would probably still clap and cheer at all the cover songs performed because original content was not the norm anymore.
Thankfully somebody caught a wake up call and my oh my what an awesome time we are in now! For the first time in ages we actually have Afrikaans singers with vocal talent, we have songwriters that dont just slap together a few words, add some drums and beat and call it a hit, if you listen to the words it is actually something you can relate to. They sing about life, love and reality. It is so refreshing! You can watch a music video of a new Afrikaans song, most of them anyway, without wanting to stick your head in the ground, it is high quality productions, yes productions, not slapped together in somebodies garage with last years Christmas lights.
The market has started to sift itself, removing the wheat from the chaff. Smaller labels have gone extinct, and although a lot of people does not agree with only 2 or 3 big labels dominating the market I think is was the best thing that could have ever happened!
Well done for redeeming the honor and dignity in the industry, I think autograph books are making a serious comeback 🙂