When I launched Music Authentic I had the idea to find real people, true artists with open hearts and humble diligence – and connect them together, learn from each other, show the world a different path is not only possible for a brighter future but many already are walking the extra miles for it. Chenél No.1 is an artist and human just like this, one from we can learn from, one with whom the world is more wholesome and greater. A person with strong faith and down-to-earth actions. Someone with a story to tell. Read her interesting thoughts and say hello to her!
And while you are at it, listen to Chenél No.1’s positive song “Just Because of You”:
Music Authentic: Welcome to our site! Let’s begin with our site-traditional question: How did you sleep last night?
Chenel No.1: I always sleep well as I never have a guilty conscience and try to be a positive influence to those around me.
Music Authentic: In which part of the world do you live now?
Chenel No.1: I’m South African, born and raised, and stay in Boksburg, Gauteng.
Music Authentic: Our life has been affected by both of the health situation worldwide and the governmental decisions for worse or for the better. How do you cope with it?
Chenel No.1: For me, I stay positive by being creative and not over-focusing on things beyond my control. Our lifestyle has changed and we are more “germ” conscious than ever. We teach our kids to remain safe in their daily activities and not to fear the unknown. Social distancing has been hard especially for my household during the lockdown period as we are very close to our extended family. We aimed to stay in routine; call, message and video call. Nothing beats physical contact though and I’m glad our lockdown restrictions have lowered so we could visit each other again.
Music Authentic: A little part of the first world has been taking advantage on the rest of the world, being responsible for the majority of pollution and environmental issues, mainly affecting third world countries. As a human, as an artist, how do you respond to this, do you, can you channel your anger?
Chenel No.1: In our household we recycle plastic, glass, paper and tin. We have our own little Wiggler worm farm that feeds of everything we don’t eat and can be turned into compost. Other than signing petitions I cannot do much to change the environmental issues of the world, but I do take responsibility for my households’ actions and keeping the community that I stay in free of waste.
Music Authentic: What is the life in the everyday life in that part of South Africa, how can we imagine it?
Chenel No.1: I think, South Africa is a great country to live in and that we have lot to offer the world in terms of travel, wildlife, food, art and culture.
South Africans are very friendly and culturally diverse. We have 11 official languages and Afrikaans was voted second sexiest accent in the world in 2019. Did I mention that my mother tongue is Afrikaans? The sun always shines here and we have great weather. We pray for rain often and appreciate every drop when it comes. South Africans laugh often and love to braai (BBQ)
Music Authentic: We all need to feel joy and happiness, contentment to feel energized and uplifted and be able to feel “normal”. What little or big things help you in it?
Chenel No.1: My God is my security, my family is my joy and friends are like flowers that fragrance a room. I am content with what I have. I am blessed.
Music Authentic: How do you see now, will there be a united Africa for the common good, maybe in the form as African Union or there are still too many self-indulgent and ignorant leaders?
Chenel No.1: I cannot see anything change unless accountability and proper governance is set in place. Political leaders are using their authority for their own gain and/or agendas. Until leaders come forth that will serve each country in terms of health, education, job creation, law and order without the need to enrich themselves in the process, I remain doubtful if Africa will ever be united.
Music Authentic: Pristine Nature is basically non-existent in Europe anymore and the USA also lack the common will to protect what’s left. What can you do as an artist and as a citizen for your environment?
Chenel No.1: As I mentioned before, I am actively involved in my daily routine to assist with recycling. Thus far I haven’t written any songs about pollution or environmental issues, but do try to influence my friends, family and colleagues to be more active recyclers.
Music Authentic: Novels, series, movies envision a future not necessarily we’d like to live in. When we look around the establishments have been failing us – and we have been letting them to do so. Are you hopeful for the brighter tomorrow to see?
Chenel No.1: Due to dangerous elements that are out in the world I cannot give my children the same freedom as I had as a child. I do think the digital era is robbing children of the joys of being out in nature and experiencing the simple things in life. I am hopeful that the future will be better.
Music Authentic: Would you be a part of a grand change as a Prime Minister? What would you start the change with?
Chenel No.1: I’d start to end corruption, put a system of law in place that protect the innocent, ensure a health system that serves all, provide education that is up to standard to the rest of the world, aim to change inequalities by creating jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities that would stimulate the economy. Lastly I’d spend taxes in a way that would benefit the country and making it better.
(the interview continues below the photo – be brave and read on!)
Music Authentic: On your site, many of your songs are free to listen and to download. Is this a rebellion against the music industry gatekeepers or based on realizing who your listeners, sympathizers are?
Chenel No.1: I don’t make music for money. I make music because I enjoyed, I’m overjoyed if someone listens to my songs and is moved by it. Bills need to be paid, so I work full time to help my husband support our family and pursue my musical dreams after hours. If one day, I can make an income from music it will be directed in creating and producing more songs.
Music Authentic: You’ve taken good care of your art, trying to define yourself as a singer songwriter and a performer. It is a long road sometimes with all the bells and whistles and more often with the gloomy clouds. It usually takes an extreme amount of self-discipline and seemingly endless extra miles to grow in art. On the other hand there are so many wannabe artists who are skipping this with money and technology letting them to live a life of fame and success very quickly. Does it bother you?
Chenel No.1: It doesn’t bother me at all. I’m running in my own lane and my race differs to theirs. If my fellow artists reach the pinnacle of success before I do, I’m happy for them. I support independent artist and do love to listen to many mainstream ones as well. Music shouldn’t be a competition, it should be purely enjoyed. I don’t want my goal to be fame or fortune, but rather to leave a lasting legacy of persistence and being the best I can be. Even if that means I never reach the top, I would have enjoyed myself and honed my skill as a songwriter.
Music Authentic: Now it’s a question I’m asking around. There is this pressure on us, artists, to turn over quantity to be favoured by algorithms and curators. Doesn’t it sound to you as different forms of gatekeepers, just like editors and radio DJs used to be?
Chenel No.1: In my circumstance I cannot afford to produce a full album or produce it and release it in a year’s time. My song funding comes out of my pocket and I book studio time as my finances allow. So following the 6-8 weeks release strategy from me is purely because it fits my circumstances.
Music Authentic: That there are gatekeepers is a reality and it’s sad that algorithms are now the new norm. I do think many independent artists go under the radar due to lack of favourable algorithms, marketing and not knowing where to tap into possible listeners in this digital era. Covid-19 has made gigging so difficult that artist must explore other opportunities. I’m learning as I go on this journey and hope to get my songs heard by many more by being persistent.
Music Authentic: Here is a lighter tone question, funny enough an actual reality: Would you rather live in the Earth in 20 years or be the part of the first Mars colony?
Chenel No.1: Live on Earth without a doubt. I wouldn’t be able to leave my children, parents, extended family and friends. I like to breathe air freely, look up at the blue skies and feel the sun on my skin while the wind brushes over my skin.
Music Authentic: Top 40, Grammy, Tony, Oscar, big movie placement – are they among your dreams and wishes?
Chenel No.1: It would be great yes! But for that I first need to break through the ceiling of independent to major artist. One can dream though.
Music Authentic: How do you deal with the rampant numbness, self-indulgence and ignorance all around?
Chenel No.1: This is a really hard question as I am an even-tempered person. Feeling numb is not an option. I only self-indulgence in secret if my chocolate stash is low and when it comes to other people’s ignorance, I’ve learnt common sense is not that common. I shake my head in disbelief and move on.
Music Authentic: Why don’t we smile a bit more again with the next question: If you had a chance to play a superhero character in a movie or a series, whom would you choose?
Chenel No.1: Flash! Ah-a. Yes, that was a pun. It would be great to have the ability to do more, so much faster. Sometimes I feel that time is against me and I fear I might burn out.
Music Authentic: Who are the actual superheroes in your life?
Chenel No.1: My mom, she’s truly the best!
Music Authentic: “I want to love you more” or “Anything is possible?”?
Chenel No.1: I think the songs are so inherently different and written for different purposes. “I want to love you more” is filled in metaphors and meaning that it takes a certain type of listener to enjoy it. “Anything is possible” is story based, encouraging and something I truly believe from the standpoint of my Christian faith. From a musical standpoint I’d choose “I want to love you more”.
Music Authentic: We all have dreams. What things would be the greatest achievements for you through your art?
Chenel No.1: I feel like I’m growing with each song I write. Currently I’m focusing on exploring different genres, but mostly serving the song. It would be great if I could get a song or two or more, on TV or film. Mostly I would like to be recognized as a songwriter that is passionate about music and have the opportunity to write lyrics for other artists.
Music Authentic: Are there any artists do you recommend to listen to from the past or the contemporary era and why?
Chenel No.1: Everyone on the planet should listen to ABBA, this Swedish pop band has a distinctive sound with lyrics that draw you like a fish to a lure. They were dynamic in their artistry, musical arrangements and melody choices. I could listen to ABBA, Elvis Presley & Dolly every day of my life and never get bored.
Music Authentic: Do you think artists and musicians will be replaced deemed to be obsolete due to Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence?
Chenel No.1: No, I don’t think machines could ever replace human creativity. A machine can learn, but can it adapt, imagine something that has never been done before? And if they ever do get to that point, I volunteer to shut the power off.
Music Authentic: Whose story had a great effect on your life?
Chenel No.1: I cannot pin point a specific person’s story. However I have learnt from an early age not to repeat mistakes I see others make. So rather than bumping my head knowing the results I choose another path. Learn from others and adapt.
Music Authentic: How do you use your stage as a platform to help others?
Chenel No.1: I like to use social media as a tool to elevate other independent artists. If one indie artist gains a follower through me sharing something of theirs, I feel that I have made a positive contribution to that artist success.
Music Authentic: What are the hardest challenges in society these days you believe the most crucial ones?
Chenel No.1: For me as a South African, I feel the unemployment and corruption in our country is concerning. If people have the ability to provide for their family they would not need to revert to crime. If corruption can eliminated, funds the taxpayer contributes to governing the country could be used in the areas that are really in need of upgrade whether it be hospitals, clinics, schools, roads etcetera.
Music Authentic: When you have some free time, what do you like doing?
Chenel No.1: I read for relaxation.
Music Authentic: Thank you for being with us today. As a farewell, what is your message to encourage others?
Chenel No.1: Stay positive. Never give up and do your best.