17 September 2012 | SIBUSISO MKWANAZI
“If you make it, they will buy it,” asserts up-and-coming local rapper Ross Jack, whose first single Seven45 is charting on various radio stations.
“There is just too much of a discrepancy, when you look at some of South Africa’s CD sales,” he says.
“How can Locnville release their debut album and sell 7 000 copies in the first five days, and then some artists still maintain that South Africans are not buying local music?
“There are plenty of examples of SA musicians that are doing wonders in terms of album sales. What this means to me is not a problem with the listeners, but with the people making the music.”
Up until now, Jack has worked behind the scenes as a producer and songwriter for the likes of HHP (on Mpitse), Toya DeLazy and Chiano Sky. Why the move to take up the microphone, and why rap?
“Music has always been a part of my life and my passion for it gave me no choice but to always be in close proximity to it. Whether it is pop or dance, I am attracted to it,” he says.
“When it comes to my own music, it was always going to be rap.
I’m an Eminem baby, so that period influenced my music a lot.”
Does Jack know he is being touted as “South Africa’s Eminem”? Does he mind?
“Not at all,” he laughs. “I am white and I do rap, so it only makes sense for people to make the connection.
“As long as people don’t limit to a white guy who raps, I’m fine with it. I’m more than just a white rapper.
I’m someone who believes in making quality music that will ultimately be backed up by listeners.”
Jack speaks with an indistinguishable accent that comes through every now and then.
Is he a seasoned world traveller, and have his escapades influenced his songs?
“I’m half British, grew up in Benoni and lived in Spain for five years, and yes, my international experience does come through in my beats,” he says.
“I’m always wary of blending in with everyone else, hence the distinctive sound.”
There are a number of local and international “underground” artists that do not see sales as a measure of success. Does Jack use sales as the only way to measure how successful an album or artist is?
“In short, yes,” he confirms.
“I think success has to be quantifiable, and for now, this is measured in CD sales and digital downloads.
“It is up to us musicians to make sure that we stand out of the crowd and only make music that will be pleasing to the ear.
“My EP is called Chandeliers, because there is more to a chandelier than a normal light. I’m trying to set a precedent using my music,” Jack says.
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