Nakhane Touré

Musician

Singer songwriter Nakhane Touré watches documentaries for relaxation and says his lyrical writing style is inspired by the Bible.

That’s hardly the image of the live-fast die-young musicians we’re used to, but hopefully it means Touré has staying power and intelligent, meaningful songs that will endure for years.

You can get to know him through his work – with melodic, haunting vocals – singing songs that expose his fears, feelings and experiences.

His debut album Brave Confusion won the Best Alternative Music Album at the South Africa Music Awards (Samas) in April.

His next album, due out in September, will be very different, he says. “Brave Confusion was written completely on acoustic guitar and I’m not that person any more. I always believe each album should be a snapshot of who you are as a human being at that time. I’m now writing a lot of it on computer and electric guitar.”

Now 26, he grew up in Port Elizabeth before moving to Johannesburg at 15.

He was raised as a Christian reading the Bible and attending Bible classes, and that remains a big influence.

“From a literary point of view the stories and the turn of phrases in the Bible are incredible. I’m very particular about the words I use and I take that part of music writing seriously. With pop music, people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what they want to say.”

He says his influences include Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Virginia Woolf, then laughs and admits that a friend has told him to lighten up a little. “But that’s fun for me, it really is,” he says.

“I sound like such a stick in the mud, but watching a documentary is fun for me. Education is fun.”

Touré knows he needs to get on stage more often, and he’s excited to be performing some gigs around Johannesburg and Pretoria before the Grahamstown Arts Festival in July. His ambitions are to write a novel, write better albums, perform better shows and be a better human being, he says. — Lesley Stones