In Conversation with: Roeshdien Jaz

Image of Roeshdien Jaz - South African artist

Roeshdien Jaz is a South African singer-songwriter-recording artist, professional development coach and a leadership development specialist.

How did you get into music? 

Started off in theatre productions in high school, then Grahamstown Festivals, then got little scholarship to study music at local music college in my neighbourhood, majored in Music Business and Songwriting and live performance. Then I managed an 8-piece urban soul, jazz funk fusion hip hop band called Supadan for about a year, we connected at music school. The band parted ways to pursue solo projects and I decided to focus on my own music. I released my first hit radio single, ‘Feel for Life. More info can be found on my website. 

Where does the inspiration for your songs come from?

Life, love and all its many beautiful contradictions. That’s also the title of my debut album, 8 years in the making called, ‘The Contradiction’ (Every Mood), out Summer 2019. 

How has it been working on your debut album? 

Honouring a creative process in pursuit of an outcome, whilst being mindful of Divine timing. I’ve taken a different approach and consciously chose to release singles since my first release in 2010. With the fundamental intention being to give each story full presence, and creative energy to represent a specific moment/chapter of my journey, more emphasis on appreciating the process and not fixation on any specific outcome. And now, 8 years later I feel it’s time to release a full body of work, a culmination and appreciation for all that came before, and a coming of age, creatively and as a man.

What have been the highlights of your career so far? 

Having my very first single, make the number one stop for 3 consecutive weeks, 13 weeks in total on the SA Top 10 charts and entering the International Top 30 on Heart FM in addition to airplay in UK and Thailand, respectively. 

Being invited to perform twice at the Annual Cancer Survivor Summit at Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town, being a survivor myself.

Releasing a single inspired by my journey overcoming cancer, called ‘The Calling’ and musically inspired by Johnny Clegg, particularly his ability to fuse English and Indigenous languages. This show took place 5 May 2017 at the Cornerstone Institute for Higher Learning. Which lead to another significant highlight, on the night I played tribute to some of my inspirations including the late ‘Tupac Amaru Shakur’. Unbeknown to me a very distinguished American gentleman emerged from the audience, came onto the stage with tears in his eyes, hugged me, then gracefully took the mic, expressed his deep gratitude. He then shared what would completely stun everyone in the audience, myself included. He was the personal psychologist for at New York/Clinton Correctional Facilities for the revolutionary Tupac Amaru Shakur. A night I will NEVER forget. 

Then more recently my invitation and privilege to be one of the featured acts on 26 October 2018 for our very own, living legend Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse. Returns to the iconic Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, 30 years later. His last performance at this precious venue was in 1985, I was 7 years old. 

Image of Roeshdien Jaz- South African artist

Who are your music influences? 

My musical influences/inspirations are Bob Marley, Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Bibby McFerrin, Marvin Gaye, Lauryn Hill, Jason Mraz, Arrested Development, Tupac Amaru Shakur, Pharrell Williams, Brendan Adams, Supadan, Godessa, Johnny Clegg, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, Jonathan Butler.

What do you hope people will get from listening to your music?

My music, my stories are a tribute to life, love and all its many layers and beautiful contradictions. Quite literally a piece of timeless art, that has been consciously created to appeal to every possible human emotion (Every Mood).

Where has been your favourite place to perform your music? 

The Nassau Centre in Newlands, Cape Town as well as the ‘Reeler Theatre’ in Rondebosch, Cape Town. Nice and intimate show which allows me to really connect and engage with my diverse audience.

Of all your songs which one is your favourite? 

It’s quite ironic, my favourite song is in fact the final track of my album which is currently in post-production phase. Written and produced by South African legendary Songwriter, Clive Ridgway. He’s written for the likes of Judith Siphuma, Kurt Darren, Dr Victor and the Rasta Rebels, Black Byrd, Jonathan Butler to name a few. It’s a new song deeply inspired by Robert Nester Marley, called ‘SING TO ME OF HOPE’, Reggae.

What is the one thing that you can’t live without?

Prayer and My music. In a world that has been historically and still currently in the midst of so much negativity, drama, turbulence and infamous politics. MUSIC continues to be the one fundamental constant, that has stood the test of time, and right up to the present state if the world, still connects us and brings us so much joy, and other necessary emotional experiences. 

Which artists would like to work with and why? 

Pharrell Williams, his is the quintessential epitome of this generation’s ability to be balanced, ‘Socially conscious with commercial appeal’. The ability to balance the fundamental needs of both the soul and the ego. Innovative, dynamic, from musicality to fashion, singing to rapping to producing. Inspiring an encouraging other to ‘dare to be different’, not be afraid to embrace your uniqueness, your individuality whilst being ‘Commercially Aware’ at the same time. ie. (BALANCE)

What is the soundtrack to your life? 

‘One love’ – Bob Marley 

‘My way’ – Sinatra 

‘What’s going on’ – Marvin Gaye 

‘Changes’ – Tupac Amaru Shakur 

‘Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’

‘Mr Wendel’ – Arrested Development 

Describe a typical day in your life?

Training/Facilitating/Coaching/Mentoring young emerging leaders in the Corporate space. If I’m not writing or in studio recording new music. Or at a coffee shop, watching YouTube music documentaries, reflecting, reviewing my goals and objectives. Asking myself: “What worked this week?” “What did not work this week?” “What would I like to DO differently next week?”.

What are you most proud of about being South African? 

Our culture is incredibly rich with so much diversity, and wisdom from those precious souls that came before. We have so much to offer the world. 

How would you like to be remembered? 

As someone that was able to use every single one of his gifts, skills, life experiences to add value, uplift, elevate, empower an inspire, be it in the capacity of my people/leadership development work, or as an emerging creative using music as a medium for social change and transformation. And ultimately create something that will outlive me, and with God’s grace, continue to impact lives in a positive way.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists? 

Understand that it’s called the ‘Music Business’ for a fundamental reason. It’s a ‘BUSINESS’. Ask lots of questions, read books, Google. We have incredible access to information as never before. Study the art/skill of building ‘trust relationships’ with people. Watch the ‘YouTube’ clip by Simon Sinek (Start with WHY). Learn about what he calls the ‘Golden Circle’ and what made ‘Apple Computers’ so successful. Remember, success leaves clues, and so does failure. Last but not least. We must look after the Goose that lays the Golden egg – Steven Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People). Life is ultimately all about balance (Looking after the heart/mind/body/spirit).

Social media

Facebook: Roeshdien Jaz 

Instagram: Roeshdien Jaz 

Twitter: @MR JAZ 11


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