Godfrey Johnson on his love for the music of Coward and Porter
Godfrey, the last time we spoke to you, you had entered our songwriting
How's 2012 been for you so far - any musical highlights, either personal or
competition, Sing 'it. What do you think of the competition concept?
I think it is great. People should write as often as possible and if a competition inspires them to get cracking, excellent.
What are your thoughts regarding the quality of the winning songs?
Varied and exciting. The standard is very high.
As a very successful musician yourself for many years already, do you think
enough is being done in South Africa so that artists/musicians, etc can
earn a decent living out of their craft?
We have an amazing variety of influences culturally, historically and artistically. I get frustrated when I am forced to listen to generic sounds – it’s boring. Very often image disguises a sad lack of talent. I don't care if you spit on stage, as long as you follow it with some hot singing or playing or profound originality. The people producing and paying for
albums to be made should be more open to new sounds and concepts. We don't need another Adele or Mariah Carey or Lady Gaga – they already exist. Also, don't wait for opportunities to miraculously appear – go out there and find them.
something you've seen?
It’s been great. Working on Coward and Cole
has been fun. I have been travelling quite a lot with various one-man shows. I love it. I am also structuring an album and a new show. The Smallest Man in The World
. At the end of last year I went to see Tori Amos and was blown away by her disciplined and sincere performance. I am a huge fan.
Tell us a bit about the concept of Coward and Cole?
Roland Perold and I love the songs of these two giants and we decided to collaborate and interpret them in our way.
Take us through the show quickly - how does it work, and what can audiences
There are two pianos and we both play, sing and act our way through 70 minutes of nuttiness. Really good, old-fashioned entertainment.
What made these two composers so successful?
A combination of intelligence, wit, pathos and satire, and the ability to make words and music work seamlessly together. Their content is varied and covers subjects from picking flowers to murder. Good writing lasts forever. I have heard both these writers performed by people such as The Divine Comedy, U2 and Suede and it is amazing – it shows that good writing can transcend generations and work in any style.
Where can one buy tickets for the show?
What else are you working on and where can we keep track of your
I am rehearsing Stories of Crime and Passion
, a lovely cabaret about murder and crimes of passion, directed by Jon Keevy. We will also be taking Coward and Cole
, directed by Paul Griffiths, and The Shadow of Brel
, directed by Sanjin Muftic, to The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. I am curating an exhibition from 25th March at the Framery in Sea Point to raise money for the Darling Trust and the Sea Point High School art department. I always
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