Not many South African artists can boast a following as far afield as Russia, but on Monday 21 April, Joburg singing star Louise Carver is taking to the airwaves in Putin territory. Russian record label Global Dance has licensed her hit single “You Think You Got It Easy” and will also put a remix of the song into the Russian club scene soon after Monday’s release of the original track. The song, featuring rap star JR, is currently also on radio and TV rotation in South Africa
This follows after the singer’s earlier hit I’d Say Yes, which reached number one in SA and on European charts, also became a runaway hit in Russia six years ago. She signed with a Russian agency who brought her to St Petersburg for a series of shows last June. “Global Dance heard me perform You Think You Got It Easy and approached me to licence and release it there. I don’t know if any other local musician has ever done a deal like this, and I am very flattered that my songs appeal in such a different market,” says Carver.
Performing in Russia was an amazing experience for the singer, who says she was blown away when a 1 000-strong crowd in one of Russia’s top clubs started singing along to her songs. ‘I will be going back later this year and plan to learn a bit more Russian so I can at least say “Hello Moscow, thanks for the welcome!” Carver is already a veteran of the SA music scene, since signing her first record deal at 15. She’s had countless hits off five albums, and has established her own record label, Evergreen Music. ENDS
Louise on how music has influenced her life:
Your music career spans half your life. How did you happen to get signed at 15?
I started a band at 15 and the bass player’s father had a record label . He took a strong interest in working with me from the first day he heard me sing, and six months later my parents signed my contract. It took two years of hard training, both as a live performer and as a studio singer, before we released my first single, ‘It Don’t Matter’, which was the start of my life in the public eye.
You’re clearly a musician to the bone, yet you studied philosophy, politics and economics, rather than music. Why was that?
I had private piano and singing lessons from five years old and studied opera from 15 to 22, but I strongly believe that as a singer/songwriter, you don’t need too many influences and should rather focus on finding your own style and voice. I feel that to thrive in the music industry, you need a good head for business and an understanding of how the world works. I also did a postgraduate degree in Music Publishing at Wits, which covered that perfectly for me.
Your first hit came when you were just 17, how did affect your life as a teenager?
On the upside, I experienced travel, fashion and doing what I love from a very early age. I grew massively in confidence and could handle myself in many different situations. But on the downside I experienced a negative reaction from many close friends. Being in matric with a hit single emphasized that my life was very different. I was isolated from my peers for six months until they all realised that I really hadn’t changed a bit and that I needed them in my life. Halfway through my first year at varsity, my social life was back on track!
What kind of music do you listen to at home? Who are your favourite artists? Who inspires you musically?
I listen to superchilled music when I’m cooking or having a glass of wine on the patio. I love Kristina Train, Rodriguez, Coldplay, Jason Mraz, Bruce Springsteen, Marvin Gaye. I get inspired by brilliant lyricists like Tori Amos and Neil Young and love great melody writers like John Barry, who scored the music for Out of Africa, but mostly I get motivated to write music using my own emotions and experiences.
Are you a CD girl, or a download girl?
I download all my music from iTunes – the last albums I downloaded were Shaun Jacobs, “Love Can” and Lauryn Hill, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”
Do you go to concerts? Which artist would you not miss if they came to SA?
Yes, I love going to concerts but I prefer more intimate venues like the Botanical Gardens or a theatre. The last big concert I went to was Bruce Springsteen at Soccer City – I loved it as I’m a big fan. The best concert I’ve been to was Sting, about ten years ago at the Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town. If Fleetwood Mac or Tori Amos came here. I’d be first in line. Bruce Springsteen is also a definite!