By Marley

For those still seeking (and hoping) for a hidden treasure in the South African music industry, you can stop looking once you’ve heard Andra’s music. Andra who hails from Namibia, a beautiful country known for its desert, coastline, diamonds and rich German history. What sets Andra apart for every solo female artist today is she will completely overwhelm you with her sweet and dark stage personalities on stage, much like her favourite drink – coffee.

Over the past short years, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Andra on different stages in both South African and Mozambique. Every single performance can’t be boxed, it’s never the same really but that is refreshing. When you speak to her she is sweet, deep and a storyteller, you might want to start classifying her in a certain group. But once she’s on stage with her black box guitar and ukulele you sit upright, when she starts singing you are completely blown away. With songs like “Broken Spanish”, “Cockroach” and “Fall too Slow” you can sure that you will be fascinated with this lady.

I caught up with Andra for the first time in two years since her last visit to the Lowveld. It’s truly exciting to see her back in our home town of Nelsparta.

STM: It’s been nearly two years since we last saw you in Nelspruit, what have you been up to?

Andra: I made music in many beautiful places, for and with amazing people 🙂 and I drank lots of coffee! I have so much gratitude and awe for this journey called LIFE that it is difficult to highlight certain events and exclude others.

STM: You posted a lot of photos of your December tour on social media, it was like taking your audience with you. What was the best part of touring for you?

Andra: Touring, as an independent artist, is at the same time the most incredible privilege and the toughest challenge. It is not easy to be responsible for every detail and to always be dependent upon attendance and the kindness of strangers to help keep you going. But those supportive “strangers” become new friends very quickly, and that is the beauty of it all – the People. It’s always about the people – the trusted special ones you are touring with, and the music-loving dear ones you meet on the road. REAL, quality, extraordinary encounters in small towns as well as big cities… It is baffling and exhilarating at the same time.

STM: How does your song writing process work?

Andra: I just show up. Ready, curious and awed. I spend a lot of time with my guitar, and sometimes unfamiliar sounds and ideas meet us there. We all get to know each other better over many cups of coffee, and when the song is done – I have no precise recollection of how it happened or if I will ever be able to do it again.

STM: How much do social media play a role in promoting music these days?

Andra: It used to be a brilliant tool, especially for independent artists, but it is not easy to get and keep people’s attention these days. So, I just do what I do, and do what I can and don’t trouble myself with that stuff too much. The right listeners will always find you.

STM: Last year you won the Standard Bank Ovation Award for your performance at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Tell us how you felt in that moment when you heard you’ve won?

Andra: I found out during my last couple of hours in Grahamstown. I was waiting for my friend to finish up so we could hit the road and was killing time paging through an old festival newspaper – I was completely dumbfounded to see my name on the list of award winners! I had no idea. It was a very surprising and pleasant first for me. It was also a huge eye-opener, to be honest. I realized that I am human after all, and that recognition is extremely encouraging. A great honour indeed.

STM: We saw in the teaser of “Die Wasgoedlyn” TV show that you will be featured on the program. How was that stripped-down approach and working with Victor Wolf aka Riku Latti?

Andra: I don’t have a lot of experience in the video/film world, so the stripped down approach felt quite natural… I don’t know art any other way really.

My respect and admiration for Victor Wolf (Riku) as a person, musician, artist and thinker know no bounds. It was a privilege to have him in my home!

Andra - photo by Monsoon Photography
(Monsoon Photography)

STM: You are a Namibian native – can you name any other great Namibian artist/group that we should check out?

Andra: Wambuseun ’s music is a lot of fun. (we were in High School together). And whatever PD Stoman is up to is always great stuff!

STM: You’ve played at almost all kinds of venues and festivals – how does show differ between playing a small town gig compared to a festival?

Andra: I don’t compare gigs, I just experience them. Every gig has something unique and wonderful to offer and there is always something new to learn. As a bit of a hermit and ‘non-socializer’, I tend to not see a crowd… I see individuals – and one can observe just so much, regardless of the size of the group in front of you.

STM: When will you bring a new studio album out? (If you have a new out please let us know where we can get it)

Andra: I am very fortunate to have never had any record label pressure to push product — so, the luxury of time is a precious gift that I am happy to accept and use. There is no telling when the next album will be completed at this stage, but I am most definitely working on the new songs and saving up to record them.

STM: You will be playing in Nelsparta at the end of February again. What is one of your favourite memories from the Lowveld?

Andra: Late at night after gigging I enjoy spotting the mystifying nocturnal creatures that roam about while everybody’s sleeping. I love how nature persists in spite of human “progress”.

Thank you again to Andra for chatting with us. You can follow us on social media as well as Andra to keep up with the latest in music and entertainment.

Marley is the founder and owner of Small Town Music. Born and bred in Nelspruit aka Nelsparta. Marley loves music (rock being a firm favourite), tattoos, festivals, animals and South Africa. Self-taught photographer and writer.