We chatted to Nakhane about his friendship with Madonna, his tour to SA, and his love for fashion

Get your tickets for the ‘You Will Not Die’ tour now!

Nakhane Interview You Will Not Die tour

South African artist Nakhane is multifaceted. He is an author, a singer, a songwriter and an actor, and he’ll be returning home to showcase his You Will Not Die tour this week. 

We chatted to him ahead of his tour about what he misses about SA (he is now based in the UK), his next acting role and his fave designers.

What does it feel like to be back in South Africa?

Oh, it makes me so happy. I worked long and hard on this album, so it’s amazing that it is appreciated. I still remember writing these songs on the floor of my apartment in Yeoville, testing some of them in live shows I used to play downtown.

You Will Not Die is an incredibly personal body of work. Was it difficult to be so vulnerable?

When I’m writing alone, I don’t particularly find it difficult to be vulnerable. I’m writing/performing to an audience of one: myself. It’s only when I am preparing for the live show that I start to worry a little bit. But as soon as I’ve played a few shows, I get over myself and hand the work over to the audience.

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How would you describe your unique style of music?

It’s pop music. Sure, maybe some of my influences are a little left-field, but – especially with You Will Not Die – I was interested in writing verse/chorus/bridge songs.

Who would you consider to be your biggest musical influences?

Busi Mhlongo, Brenda Fassie, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Ali Farka Touré, Miles Davis, Nina Simone and Charles Mingus.

Do you think that the music industry in South Africa is becoming a more inclusive place for queer artists compared to the rest of the world?

I think there is this myth that ‘the rest of the world’ is this utopia for queer artists. It’s not. We have to kick in doors everywhere. And a lot of governments are becoming more right-winged, and that leaks into the rest of the world. I never, ever believed that Europe was a place where I could feel free, as opposed to SA.

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A NEW MINDSET IN FULL BLOOM ⁣ with @i_d and @gucci⁣ ⁣ i-D x GUCCI IN BLOOM / CREDITS⁣ ⁣ Director: ⁣ Alexandra Leese / @alexleese⁣ DOP: ⁣ Luke Casey / @luke_guy_fi⁣ Edit & Grade: ⁣ Studio RM / @studio__rm⁣ Production Company: ⁣ LG Studio / @lgstudio_⁣ Creative Producer: ⁣ Gracie Yabsley / @gracieyabsley⁣ Production Coordinator: ⁣ Cami Lewis / @camillamlewis⁣ Stylist: ⁣ Bojana Kozarevic / @bojana_koz⁣ Hair Artist: ⁣ Kiyoko Odo @ Bryant / @kiyokoodo⁣ Make Up Artist: ⁣ Siobhan Furlong @ LGA/  @siobhan_furlong⁣ Set Designer: ⁣ Danny Hyland / @dannyhyland⁣ Talent: ⁣ Nakhane / @nakhaneofficial⁣ Talent: ⁣ Paloma Elsesser / @palomija⁣ Talent: ⁣ Fee Greening / @feegreening⁣ Talent: ⁣ Rina Sawayama / @rinasonline⁣ Executive Creative Director: ⁣ Georgina Bacchus / @georginabacchus⁣ Senior Account Manager: ⁣ Kayleigh Gray-Layton / @kaygraylay⁣ Business Director: ⁣ Hannah Metcalfe / @hannahmetcalfe202⁣

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Inxeba: The Wound was such an important film and a beautiful showcase of your talents. Would you return to acting?

Oh, definitely. I acted in a film this year that’s coming out next year.

Fashion has always been a part of your brand. How do you think the industry, both in South Africa and internationally, has inspired you?

When my career was starting out, there were these young black fashion designers who were breaking boundaries at the same time: Rich Mnisi, Lukhanyo Mdingi, etc. I remember growing up in SA and having to look outside of the country for inspiration. That no longer exists. The designers at home are so inspirational. Rich is my friend, and whenever we collaborate, he always pushes me to go even further than I normally would.

Who are some of your favourite designers?

Rich Mnisi, Nao Serati, Cimone UK, Orange Culture and Wales Bonner.

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“Excuuuuuuuuse me”. ? by Dieter Dewulf at Dour Festiva

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Who is the most exciting person you’ve met so far?

I’ve met some incredible people this year – and this is going to read like such a ‘humble brag’ – but Madonna is still very exciting. We have quite a few things in common. The commitment to the art, the focus on doing her own thing… And we laugh a lot when we’re together. F*ck, I love spending time with her.

What do you miss most about South Africa?

The people and the food. Going out in SA is enriched by the people you will meet. The way that we are not afraid to sweat on the dance floor… Our almost problematic self-love.

What is next for you?

I’ve just finished writing the next album. It’s coming out next year. I’ve got a couple of films coming out next year, too: a feature and a short.

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Last night in Paris ? by @xavierdeyagg

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Catch the You Will Not Die concerts: 

Thursday, 28 November

The Chairman, Durban

Cover charge: R200 pre-sales on Howler; R250 at the door 

Friday, 29 November

Youngblood Art Gallery, Cape Town

Cover charge: R150 pre-sales on Howler; R200 at the door

Saturday, 30 November

Arts on Main, Johannesburg

Cover charge: R200 pre-sales on Howler; R250 at the door

You can buy tickets here.

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