By Marley

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?

CN: Nelspruit

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.

Coenie Naude playing guitar - photo provided
Coenie Naude
(Photo provided)

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.

You can follow Coenie on Facebook and Instagram. Coenie will be performing all over the Lowveld so keep an eye on The Small Town Music Calendar

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.