It changed everything

posted in: The Journey, The Music | 1

In 2005 I couldn’t read or write music. So I bought a second hand keyboard. Took piano lessons as well as voice lessons. All I wanted, at the time, was to be able to translate the songs in my heart into something beautiful. Music has always been a big part of my life.

Labels & radio didn’t quite get my sound. But I am blessed to have a manager who abandoned ‘the box’ and found an audience for my music. 2 EPs and an album later my music was being played (on radio) in 36 countries. The journey was long, often disheartening but I stuck by the music. My journey is obviously different from other artists who have a label and a big machine behind them. I am my own label and everything I do is D.I.Y. Sometimes this can be a lonely journey but it is always fulfilling.

In 2013 I entered the Wawela Music Awards. At first I thought “what are the chances?” but my manager persisted. On the day nominees were announced, I was unable to attend. But I was alerted via twitter by someone that was there. Not only was I nominated once but twice.

 

 

best female 2

He he he. One day people will spell Porcelain the correct way ;)
He he he. One day people will spell Porcelain the correct way ;)

Knowing that I was nominated was enough for me. The Wawela Music Awards focus on singers/songwriters and composers with accomplishments on the local and international stage. I am by no means a ‘star’ in South Africa but my music has a life of its own outside of the borders. I was happy just to be recognised alongside one of my favourite artists (Lira).

My manager informed me that there would be a performance on the night of the awards. It was at this point that I called my father. Voice shaking, I told him that I felt overwhelmed. He assured me that I would be fine and would come back with one award. I didn’t believe him. Award night arrived and my stomach was in knots. Only God knows how I got through the performance of Johnny.

Johnny performance

Everything changed after that. The night is kind of a blur but I remember hearing my name. Giving a teary acceptance speech (I really should have written one in advance), changing my outfit, sitting down again and hearing my name again. Just like that! My whole career had changed.

Accepting my second award
Accepting my second award
I look terrified because I was. It all happened so quickly.
I look terrified because I was. It all happened so quickly.

 

That night I got to talk to Johnny Clegg, Mam’ Dorothy Mauku, Ray Phiri, Zwai Bala, Lira and many other people that I had admire for many many years. I could, honestly, go on and on about selling more albums (via my site) & getting booked for more gigs (both true). But being recognised for your craft, meeting other creative people (who want to collaborate) and being a part of something so wonderful… Nothing can compare to it.

There are 9 days till entries close for the 2014 Wawela Music Awards. Enter. You never know how it will change your life/career: Enter here.

My New Music Video (Hot Pink)

posted in: The Journey, The Music | 0

Late last year I started releasing my new single (Hot Pink). Instead of sending it to radio and being annoyed by responses like “we’re not quite sure what format it is” or whatevs… I decided to release it ‘face to face’. So I went around Cape Town and introsuced myself to people (mainly at offices) and played them my new song.

We had so much fun doing this. My friend (Linda) was at some of these ‘Hot Pink Serenades’ and he put together this music video. I was not joking when I said I am a D.I.Y artist :)

Award Winning Album & stuff…

A few months ago my Manager Lady (Marcee) told me about the Wawela Music Awards. “Wouldn’t it be cool if you were nominated?” she said. I shrugged and moved on with life. You could say that I am not exactly an ‘award artist’. It’s just not something I consider. I spend my time dreaming up fantastic songs, videos and performances.

A few months later I heard via Phiona, from Afripop Mag, that I was nominated for 2 awards. This all happened on Twitter.

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I excitedly called Marcee to let her know that I was nominated. She LOST her damn mind ha ha ha. I called my dad and said “I’m nervous because I am up against Lira in both categories.” My father responded “Lira is great but she is not unbeatable”. Knowing that my parents thought I could win was enough for me.

On the 28th (June 2013) we were all dressed up and ready for the big night.

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Marcee in the waiting area. She kept saying “My Afro is so well behaved tonight” ha ha ha. LOVE that Melody Ehsani neck piece she is wearing

Honestly, I was more concerned with my performance than I was about winning. Whenever I perform I focus all of my energy on the performance. Once that is done, I become normal again. I had just finished my performance when I heard “Black Porcelain”. It was for Best Creative Album.

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I don’t remember what I said. I hope I thanked all the right people. (pic courtesy of SAMRO)

Everything after that is a bit of a blur. I went and posed for a pic (forgive the crazy look).

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My mom always tells me not to pull funny faces. She says this smile makes me look crazy ha ha ha. (Pic courtesy of SAMRO)

I had to get out of my performance dress and as soon as that was over I thought I could relax. While I was looking for a wine glass, I heard “Black Porcelain” again. I couldn’t believe it. It was my second award. TWO BLOODY AWARDS!!

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Well this smile is not so bad (Pic courtesy of SAMRO)
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Aaaaand back to the crazy smile ha ha ha. I was the biggest winner that night. Surely that’s a good excuse for the crazy eyes? (Pics courtesy of SAMRO)

Needless to say Marcee and I partied (like it was 1999) and then took one last picture before we passed out (promptly)

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2 Witches. 2 Awards. We were exhausted at this point. Exhausted & happy team :)

So there you go! I can now say Invincible Summer is an award winning album and so am I. Ha ha ha ha. This silly post has taken me much longer than I thought it would. Love & strength to professional bloggers. I need a nap.

Johnny

posted in: The Journey, The Music | 0

On the 28th of June I performed at The Wawela Music Awards (post about that to follow). I performed a song that I wrote in my first years as a Songwriter. In 2005 I couldn’t read or write music properly. I bought a second hand keyboard and took piano lessons. One of the first songs I wrote was Johnny.

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Pic courtesy of SAMRO

 

To hear people tell me how much they loved the song… It meant so much. More than any of them will ever know. Ray Phiri (of Stimela) said he couldn’t believe that we (songwriters at the awards) were part of his legacy. I was truly honoured to have a legend like him say such wonderful things about my gift. It’s a gift that I am still exploring and having so much fun with.

Album Review (Rushay Booysen – PE)

posted in: The Journey, The Music | 0

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a review. I’m back with some more Summer 196 love. The last review was by Nadia from New York, this time we move back to SA with Rushay Booysen. I don’t change these reviews in any way. I copy and paste them as I receive them. So here is Rushay’s review —->

I’ve been graced with a long overdue taste of your debut album
“Invincible Summer” ,A delightful twelve track album that delivers on a
lot of highs. I’ve got to say this about your album its simplistically
graceful and delivers a musical punch.The album also manages to strike
a balance between production and vocals.I was extremely awed by the
slick production and how you maintained a message when the music could
easily have overshadowed your vocals and ultimately your message.Black
Porcelain manages to create an album that is musically and visually
appealing

Correct me if im wrong but this is a musical diary,written,compiled
and delivered by Black Porcelain! I can title this album jazz,soul,pop
but i would rather label it music cos it appeals to any person that
appreciates good music.There’s a number of standout tracks that caught
my ear but i will focus on “Hot Pink” a banger that could lace any
dance floor at Ministry of Sound or Pacha.I love how you able to
navigate through emotions and how well the tracks balance each
other.My favorite track on the album is  “Johnny” this piano laden
track also exposes Black Porcelain’s vocal range,while expressing some
heartfelt emotion over this “Johnny”.Without saying too much,purchase
the album and put on your Skullcandy’s

-Rushay Booysen

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Look at those eyes. Are those they eyes of a liar? NO! Rushay is no liar, so you better get yourself a copy of Invincible Summer
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That hat is EVERYTHING!!

The album is available from iTunes or you can get it from me and I will post it to you.

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Album Review (Nadia Neophytou – New York)

posted in: The Music | 0

And we continue with the reviews… This time it’s a review from Miss Ntertainment herself all the way from New York. I’m expecting a review from Scotland and Tasmania soon. Yay Summer 196!

Black Porcelain’s debut album Invincible Summer is a mix of all the things that make a woman – tears, laughter, confidence, doubt, and so much more. Carol Mashigo has taken advantage of the times we live in, taking her music career into her own hands. She recorded the album herself, is sending it out across the world and isn’t taking no from radio stations for an answer. Her tenacity can be experienced in her music too. Opening track ‘Today is the Day’ is a melodic intro into the kind of woman and singer Black Porcelain is. Yes, her voice may be sweet but to the man who wronged her, ‘you’re no good, so it’s time to ship out.’ Her vocals may be honey-like, but the message is clear: there’s no beating about the bush, no matter how good it looks. And so it is for the rest of the album. As Black Porcelain makes her way through a variety of genres – smooth jazz, a bit of Afo-soul, pop – she lets you know exactly how she’s feeling. And that through it all, there’s a time for everything: ‘Aching Head’ let’s you know it’s not going to happen tonight, while ‘Hot Pink’ is a call to just give it all up to the beat, no matter how you’re feeling. 
‘Johnny’ is a stand-out track – surely one to move even the hardest of hurt hearts. Kudos to Black Porcelain – long may she sing!
- Nadia Neophytou – (New York)
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Nadia is an entertainment journalist who has interviewed some of the world’s biggest stars. I am completely envious of her. Check out her interviews etc over at Miss Ntertainment.
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Album is available via iTunes, at The African Music Store and you can buy it HERE for me to send to you via post. Whatever works for you :)

Album Review (Anouschka Slager – Haarlem)

posted in: The Music | 0

I do apologise for the silence. I had to deal with some things that could not be avoided. But I’m back with a brand new review from summer 196. Quick recap: Summer 196 is my crazy idea to get at least one review from all the countries in the world this year. So far, so good. Check out the other reviews HERE.

The first time I met Black Porcelain (Carol Mashigo) we where working on a project called Golden Arrow Magazine circa 2009. I could quickly tell this lady means business and her album Invincible Summer takes you on a journey filled with Afro Nu-Jazz, soul melodies and lets not forget that healthy helping of no nonsense lyrics.

What Black Porcelain managed to include are all of her self-motivated influences, which gave the album depth and a bird’s eye view into the past three years of her life. Due to this true-life aspect most of the songs where melancholy of timbre but after reading the CD sleeve it put things quickly into perspective. 

“Slip” featuring Richard the Third was a brave metamorphosis and one she pulled of successfully. This is my favorite track and shortlisted on my iTunes Library.

Miss B P continues to voice the things we wish to say. Much love. A

-Anouschka Slager (Haarlem, the Netherlands)

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Anouschka is originally from Cape Town but is now living and studying in the Netherlands. She is an awesome musician and lover of the music industry. One of these good days she is going to join Team Black Porcelain for reals ;)

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You can buy the album via PayPal and it will be delivered to you or can get it on iTunes. More info HERE.

Album Review (Eric Johnson – Memphis)

posted in: Fun and Games, The Music | 0

We took a bit of a break from reviews, while trying to figure out what the next single is. Have you listened to both choices and decided yet? Anyway… Summer 196 is me asking weird and wonderful people around the world to review the album. So far, we’ve had a review from Cape Town, Maputo and Geneva.Up next is Eric Johnson from Memphis :)

Black Porcelain has released her truly independent self finance album.  We first wrote about her in 2011 when she released a remix of Butterflies. Then in 2012 when she released the video of “Today Is the Day”. To this day I still love this song.  Which listening to “Invincible Summer”, I was very happy to hear it as the first track.  Kind of a feeling of being at home, and put me in comfortable place with this new material.

As I said the first song is “Today is the Day”.  It’s a very deceptive song. It’s the most upbeat positive “Get the Hell Out” song I have every heard.  The simple yet effective piano keeps the song very light and positive.  Most other singers in the genre would and have made this subject more dark than it should be.  That’s why for me it’s very refreshing to get her take on this type of song.  Also the horns arrangement on the song is excellent.

The next two tracks “Aching Head” and “Hot Pink” continue the strong start of the album.  With “Aching Head”, the bass guitar plays big part in establishing the tempo of the song.  Which could be taken as a drinkers anthem. lol.  In the song “Hot Pink”, her voice really stands out and takes over the song.  In doing so, you realize something.  That the first three songs are not similar at all, and Black Porcelain’s voice handles each distinctly and masterfully.  You don’t notice her voice strain, or reach areas where she is uncomfortable.

The album continues with song after song that describes her on her Journey.  Each song is a glimpse into that journey and her life, which makes this album very personal and meaningful.  This album has many reasons why I love independent artists.  I feel that each fan, album purchase and “like” helps that artist accomplish their dreams, which is repaid by more music for the fans.

– Eric Johnson (Memphis, TN, USA)

Eric

Eric is a music lover and blogger who live is Memphis and loves to travel. Did I mention that he LOVES music. I’m not joking. Check out his blog Soulified if you don’t believe me.

CoverGet Invincible Summer on iTunes or you can do it via PayPal or EFT. Just choose whatever works for you HERE.

Help me choose!!

posted in: Fun and Games, The Music | 0

By now you know that my self financed album (Invincible Summer) is now out and also available on iTunes… Now it’s time for us to choose which single we send out to radio and shoot a new music video for. I’m having a hard time deciding. I need your help. Which song should be the ‘next single’? Aching Head or Hot Pink. Have a listen below and then let me know.

*This is my 100th post. Look how far we’ve come. Soon I will be giving this baby a facelift :)

Album Review (Chris Born – Maputo)

posted in: Fun and Games, The Music | 0

Summer 196 continues. What is Summer 196? Its me trying to get at least one review from all 196 countries. So far, so good. We’ve done South Africa and Switzerland. This time, we have someone from Mozambique. And that someone is Chris Born :)

A few years ago, I worked with Black Porcelain on ‘Green’, a bedroom collection of eclectic, breezy pop songs – the kind of fuzzy feelgood music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  I use ‘bedroom’ quite literally here; it was a home studio affair plagued by barking dogs and a series of freak equipment failures that I prefer not to revisit.  I do look back at this early work with great fondness but have often wondered, as any self-loathing producer would, what Black Porcelain’s compositions would sound like in the splendor of a professional studio. Fortunately for me, this album looks to be just that:  A polished, well-produced pop album that gives us Black Porcelain as she deserves to be heard.

On the surface, “Invincible Summer” plays through like a greatest hits compilation with each song imparting a unique feel, in some cases even sounding like they’re from different eras or countries. Genre bouncing is a challenging proposition for any artist, but where many albums come unglued, Invincible Summer finds its bonding agent in Black Porcelain’s smooth, buttery vocals, teasing harmonies and lyrical pique.  Pairing up with producer Mark Goliath pays dividends here – his arrangements are articulate, well-structured and sensitive to her playful phrasing. With his prolific session background, I’m not surprised to find the instrumentation richly layered and sweet on the ears; an ideal bed for Black Porcelain’s soulful musings to toss and turn in.

Of course I have my preferences, one or two that didn’t really do it for me, and a good number growing on me with each listen. “Hot Pink” is an immediate favorite, a clubland romp lamenting the misery of day-to-day life before leading into an opulent chorus a la “We Are Family”. The lyrics are suggestive, Minoguesque (if I may, an ugly word for something youthful and joyously seductive) with soaring disco synths and superb harmony work. I’ll admit the song lured my imagination through the doors of an exclusive gay club. If I do finally attend such an event, I’ll be very surprised if this song isn’t playing.

“Perfect Lie” follows suit with an unapologetically synth-laden, uptempo pop epic. In some ways, this track emerges truest to the album’s title. I felt privy to love-struck girl chat here; it’s cheeky, brimming with pride, and like a tip of the hat to the divas before her, makes sure to mention how long Mr. Perfect can last between his kitchen and cleaning duties. With my personal allegiances to pre-1976 blues, funk and soul, I couldn’t help feeling really guilty for loving this one!

Other notable tracks include “It’s not News” a piano-driven R&B ballad I could have sworn was released in the early nineties – a good thing when you consider the gems of that era: early Mariah, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Ms. Braxton, Boyz II Men, Mary J., SWV, Badu, Janet and so on – without question a golden era. Black Porcelain captures this sultry urban vibe beautifully and had me reminiscing right away. “Time for Heartbreak” also rises from the pack, for completely different reasons – a lilting, brassy jazz number with classic double bass and piano performances. The velvety, luxurious features of her voice seem more prominent here, a fitting performance with all the accoutrements of a great jazz standard.

Beyond these personal favorites, the album is full of unexpected delights. She confidently interprets a number of pop angles – Ragga, dub-step, rock and hip-hop all feature in some form. Invincible Summer’s variety lends a worldly feel to the album, reinforced by Black Porcelain’s uncanny ability to veil any obvious accent – I really like this feature of her work; it’s receptive, free from the restrictions of any niche market, and hard to place geographically. I’m sure she’ll appreciate my use of “international mystique” here.

Invincible Summer shows Black Porcelain exploring her options; while it is undoubtedly ambitious in scope, the album shines brightest when she focuses on two of her many fronts: First, her sun-drenched mega-pop sound (“Perfect Lie”, “Scandalize March”, “Hot Pink”) and second her more vintage-voiced jazz/neo-soul vibe (“Time for Heartache”, “Johnny” and “Today is the Day”). At times Lauryn Hill, at times Nina Simone, and at times Kylie Minogue, Invincible Summer is the release of a confident, versatile singer. Black Porcelain has delivered a rich, creative pop album that is implicitly feminine, fun & seductive, occasionally romantic, and filled with all the ooohs, aaaahs and laaaaas you could possibly need for a drop-top cruise with the femfam. 

Overall, an impressive radio friendly debut that will appeal to anyone with an itch for unadulterated summer pop. I can see young listeners devouring this as they navigate puberty, Generation Y-ers appreciating the clever 90’s references and a more mature audience enjoying it for her voice’s vintage appeal. For me, it’s been the perfect guilty pleasure for my aging taste, and while it is a massive first step in her promising career, I have no doubt her best is yet to come.

– Chris Born (Maputo Mozambique)

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Chris lives in Maputo with his wife and many pets. As you can see, he enjoys sipping on espresso on idyllic beaches. I can’t say I’m mad at that AT ALL :)

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You’ve read the reviews, now get the album. Its available on iTunes. You can also buy it HERE via PayPal or using an EFT and we will send it to you… Whatever works for you :)

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