Francois van Coke is 100% talent and 110% dedication. The juggernaut rock star has become a defining presence in the South African music industry thanks to the well-oiled machine standing behind him.
From PR, digital marketing to sponsorship – the Van Coke empire is a vast one, yet in the end, Van Coke is all about the music. Waiting two years between the release of his first and sophomore solo albums, Van Coke’s latest album, Hierdie is die Lewe gave the world some bouncy party starter anthems, that appeals to a wider audience without compromising his undeniable rockstarness.
Yesterday Van Coke released his fourth music video for the album and song Die wêreld is Mal. Featuring imagery of human atrocities such as apartheid and World War II, the song plays into what is going on in the world now – from junk status to Donald Trump. Van Coke yesterday mentioned junk status, Donald Trump and the ticking time bomb of politics – the world has gone crazy – but the song focuses on love and hope, despite the negatives.
The song has been Van Coke’s top-selling single on iTunes and Google play since the album’s release. The video has also been hit over 15 000 views in just 24 hours. He’s no stranger to YouTube success Van Coke’s 2015 single Toe vind ek Jou with The Voice judge Karen Zoid has reached over 3 million views. It puts him in quite an elite club, the over 1-million club with stars like Babes Wodumo and Kwesta.
It’s no surprise, Van Coke is one of the South African musicians embracing change, and adapting to all things digital. Below Van Coke answers some questions about his new album.
Did you print fewer albums for ‘Hierdie is die Lewe’ it seems you’ve been driving online sales more?
No, but music is definitely moving to digital. No doubt about it at this stage of the game, so I need to move with the times.
Where do you think the music industry screws over artists in South Africa?
It is hard to make music for a living in South Africa. The market is very small, especially if you play rock music. It is very difficult for rock bands to survive because of the financial constraints. There are not many competent managers in the local industry. Also, recorded music does not have the same value after everything went digital.
What do you think the industry needs to do to change that?
I don’t think the industry should change, artists should adapt.
Your online store is pretty great. How involved are you in choosing merchandise?
I am very involved and have been since the start, I get different designers to work on artwork for the merchandise and try and make new stuff all the time. My wife helps me with that and I have a friend that steers the ship daily.
Read the full interview in The Citizen today.