In February 2014, I spoke to Cape Town-born, classical crossover artist Selim Kagee. Since then, he has been doing everything from performing alongside Irish supergroup Celtic Woman, singing the national anthem in Australia to performing live at the Sergio Franchi Memorial Concert in the USA. It seemed only fitting to do a follow-up interview before his up and coming show at the Artscape Theatre on the 29th & 30th October 2016. Let’s get started…..
Me: Selim, welcome back to Suitcases and Lattes.
Selim: Thank you for having me in your suitcase again.
It’s been over two years since we last spoke, update our followers on what’s been happening with you since then?
Well, since we last spoke, there’s been a lot happening, yet I’ve also tried to strike a balance with growing my graphic design business. This year, however, most of our focus has shifted towards the upcoming concert. We’ve been having workshops with our musical director and the Indian musicians. I’ve been working with some incredible people to create a few new songs and on the whole, we have a wonderful new show that brings people together.
I see that you’ve been featured in many newspapers, magazines and even on television shows in South Africa. Has all this media attention had any impact on you?
I would like to believe that the attention hasn’t had any impact on me. I get to pursue something that I am passionate about and I see the media as a platform to reach out and engage new audiences.
Do you have any celebrity crushes and if so, is it someone you would love to collaborate with?
Mila Kunis… and I’m not so sure whether singing is a part of her repertoire, not that it matters (chuckles).
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would you dream of sharing that stage with?
The Herod Atticus in Greece would be incredible and I guess it has always been a dream to work with someone like David Foster. (For those of us who haven’t heard that name before, he is a Canadian songwriter/producer who played a huge role in the success of artists like Josh Groban, Celine Dion, Michael Buble and several others)
In terms of your personal preferences, what is that one song that you can listen to on repeat all day?
I prefer my meditation music, to be honest.
What embarrassing songs might I find on your music player/cellphone?
There’s no trace of the Spice Girls or Britney Spears in any of my collections, (bursts out laughing) but I should probably be a little ashamed of the fact that I went to the Justin Bieber concert.
Do you still get nervous when you perform on stage or do live interviews? What calms you down?
Yeah, I do get nervous, but I have learnt that nothing relaxes me more than the reassurance of knowing that I have prepared well for something.
What advice do you have for any young artists who’d love to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t. Hahahaha. On a serious note, invest a helluva lot of time in actually mastering the craft that you wish to perfect and surround yourself with a really strong team of people. It is especially important to have mentors that keep you on your toes and share similar values to yours.
With all the time spent performing and rehearsing, how do you make time for your private life?
During show times, it can be quite taxing, but I do have a wife who is very supportive of me and that helps to keep me grounded.
What is your favourite restaurant/cafe in Cape Town? (In other words where are your fans most likely to bump into you?)
Can’t tell you that, it’s a family secret. (It’s his mom’s kitchen) but most likely around Constantia Village.
So please tell us a little bit about your upcoming show?
To me, music has always been a way of bringing people together. I have always tried to draw from various influences too. Then I started noticing quite a few Indian people coming to my shows so I thought, why not do something that brings a bit of an Indian influence in and tastefully infuse it to the music I usually perform. So now we’ve got a wonderful show, with several classic, old-world love songs with just a hint of India.
Do you plan on taking the concept to the bigger stages and maybe doing a world tour?
Absolutely. My team is already hard at work lining up concerts in Durban and Johannesburg early next year, then plans are afoot to take this to Dubai, London, other parts of Europe and hopefully the Americas too.
For the S&L followers who may not have heard about you before, what can they expect when attending your shows apart from a dashingly handsome man in a suit?
Big Big Big! An Orchestra. A Choir. A touch of India. And a whole lot of really beautiful music.
Tickets and other details that they may need to know?
Selim, thank you very much for joining us and we wish you all the best.
This interview has made me super excited for the show and if you don’t have your tickets yet, please go out and get them! This is a show not to be missed! See you there!