Genevieve Vieira
2 minute read
26 Aug 2015
9:00 am

Toya Delazy and David Kramer collaborate

Genevieve Vieira

For the past two years, 5FM's MashLab – now known as the Xperia MashLab – has been bringing South African artists together to collaborate and write a song on public radio, following the process from inception to its debut on air.

Toya de Lazy. Picture: SAMA Flickr

But none have been as interesting as this month’s combo: David Kramer and Toya DeLazy.

They couldn’t be more different. DeLazy is a young electro-pop artist gracing current Top 40 charts. Kramer, on the other hand, began his career in the mid-1970s, as a solo guitarist folk singer known for his early opposition to apartheid.

Like the saying goes “music speaks a universal language”. It brings people together the world over, and that is exactly what happened here, as two uniquely diverse artists found common ground, while venturing into untouched territory to produce something worthwhile.

Kramer admits: “I didn’t even know who Toya Delazy was, and I don’t think she knew who I was. I was curious, so I googled her, but we only really got to know each other in studio.”

The show, which was founded by Jon Savage in 2013, has evolved so that contestants are chosen by means of public votes, along with a suggested theme and storyline for the song. In this case, the chosen topic resembled the musicians’ present situation: two very different people – yin and yang –whose paths cross.

“There’s a suggested love story about two people who set out on a journey and meet at a crossroads,” says Kramer. “There’s a sense of déjà vu, as they come to the realisation, ‘I always knew it would be you’.”

Though challenging at first – Kramer stipulates there was no one directing the process – the two began to play each other bits and pieces of their music, finding likeness where they could.

He says: “We had to grope our way through the darkness until we found something that worked for both of us. I think the listeners will be surprised by my part, because it leans more towards Toya’s style of music. It is quite different to the stuff I’ve done in the past and very experimental on my part.”

While Kramer is used to working with different artists and characters in his theatre productions, his enthusiasm for this project is palpable.

He says: “The production part of it was very interesting and exciting for me, because it was so different to the approach I’m used to.”