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INTERVIEW: Tabi Gazele

Hi Tabi, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi VENTS, I’ve been very well thankyou.

From all the songs out there, why did you choose to cover Brenda Fassie’s “Touch Somebody”?

I really love 80s funk, feelgood music so I chose ‘Touch Somebody’ because I couldn’t stop playing the track on repeat. Instantly I could hear it being sung and enjoyed by many people today. I think the style is timeless, it’s classic.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I didn’t write this song however, while I was in the studio working on other songs, a couple of people mentioned that my voice reminded them of the late great Brenda Fassie so I decided to try re-imagining some of her songs to see what it would sound like. I’m so happy with the result.

Any plans to release a video for the cover?

Yes, I’m currently brainstorming ideas for a video, stay tuned.

How was the recording and writing process?

FUN. My recording sessions always turn out better when there’s a wonderful energy and vibe. This one was special because this project was just me and my brother. We stayed up for hours working on getting the vocals and the production right. I’ve never worked with a more brutal producer, a couple of times we worked till the sun came up, I loved it. We made the songs our own and gave them a modern feel.

How has Mary J. Blige influence your writing?

Mary J Blige is one of the realest tell it like it is, hold nothing back kind of writer/performers that I’ve ever come across. I love that she writes about life and the feelings people experience everyday – love, loss, disappointment, success …I like to write relatable lyrics that people can listen to and say ‘yeh, me too’. That’s what I get from MJB.

What made you to dedicate an entire EP to Brenda?

Just like what we see a lot of in Jazz, many artists take on the standards and reinterpret popularized versions of amazing songs and totally make them their own while paying tribute to the icons before them. When I was listening through Brenda’s albums I heard so many great songs and what started as just a one-off experiment has turned into this EP that’s coming out as I learned more about her life story and the impact of her music when she was still alive. She deserves the recognition for what she gave us.

How was the selection process behind the songs featured on the record?

I researched which songs of Brenda’s were the hits and ultimately which ones I could hear being played and enjoyed in 2017. Also a factor was choosing from the English songs as many of Brenda’s song are sung in her traditional language.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Yes, the EP will be released mid August 2017 and it’s called “Remembering Brenda”.

Any plans to hit the road?

No dates booked in yet but getting out on the road is definitely in the pipeline.

What else is happening next in TabiGazele’s world?

I’m always writing and recording so hopefully releasing my own songs in the not too distant future.

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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