At the Lowveld Oktoberfest last year (2019), I remember clearly getting there and being hand an ice cold beer and the following sentence “You got to watch Coenie later” by Belinda Erasmus. I thought okay, I will give it a go. And on this massive stage stood a handsome young guy with his guitar and something inside of my musical head said “Watch this oke”.
A year later and Coenie Naude is THE name on every Lowvelder’s lips that have seen him or read about his future success. What I always like about Coenie is how down to earth he is. And this music teacher by day has captured a lot of national success (aka Francois van Coke). Soon to be first-time-daddy I asked Coenie a few questions. This interview forms part of the Lowveld Local Talent series Small Town Music will be doing over the next few weeks and big plans in 2021;
STM: How old were you when you first pick up your first instrument to play?
CN: I was 12 years old when I bought my first guitar. It was a blue “Stagg”.
STM: Where in the Lowveld are you based?
STM: How long have you been staying in the Lowveld?
CN: I was here in my Grade 11 and 12 years. Then I moved to Jo’burg for a couple of years to study. I’m back in the Lowveld for about 5 years years now
STM: You are fairly ‘new on the scene’ as a Lowveld musician – how do experience this journey?
CN: Amazing!!! I originally studied Sound Engineering and always thought that it’s better to work “behind the scenes”. I guess I prefer the stage. Incredible.
STM: What is your day time job?
CN: I am a music teacher at Nelspruit Primary school.
STM: How is the Lowveld gigs picking up in Stage 1 of lockdown for you?
CN: It is steadily picking up again. Obviously the lockdown hurt us a lot, but it gave me more time do be creative. It is now getting back to where it was before.
STM: During hard lockdown what kept you going creatively?
CN: I wrote A LOT of music. I forced me to do something productive. I wrote about 40 songs – 10 of them will be included in my upcoming gigs.
STM: If you can change one thing about living in the Lowveld what will it be?
CN: There’s really not much that comes to mind. May I ask for an ocean closer than Mozambique?
STM: What is your dream as a musician?
CN: To perform at The Van Coke & Vriende show and STRAB festival at Ponta Malongane, Mozambique.
STM: How do you balance family, day time jobs and your music career?
CN: On that – me and my wife are now 4 months pregnant with our first born. My wife is very supportive of my music passion and she is my biggest inspiration. My jobs mostly consist of music, so without effort, I am constantly living my dream. (And conducting a Primary School Choir really helps with my high register, LOL)
STM: What kind of music would you like to see more of in the Lowveld?
CN: Afrikaans Rock (I flippen miss MK)
STM: What is your favourite song to perform live?
CN: I recently wrote an acoustic song for my wife. At this stage, that is my favorite to perform. In general, it gives me much pleasure to perform my own songs.
STM: What has been a musical highlight for you thus far?
CN: Not a big show, but the first one after hard lockdown, I got to open for Danie du Toit (Spoegwolf) I think my highlight so far is after my set when he came, hugged me (or waived at me if the police are reading) and said “Dit was befok gewees”. Definitely a huge moment for me.
STM: What is the musical future for you?
CN: I dream of becoming a professional musician. I would love to perform most of my shows with a band. At this moment, I am writing more music and I’m preparing original music to record an EP.