South African artist Bijou Bijou released her new single “Voodoo Man” on May 24th.
Written by Bijou Bijou and produced by Wesley van der Westhuizen, the song comes from a loss of hope and impatience.
“Voodoo Man” talks of how hard it is to break into the industry and the often false promises that sneak their way through to you, companies insisting that if you pay a fee they'll hook you up with A&R's and Labels, if you pay for this and that they'll get you heard by the big dogs and radio play... "you're the next big thing babe". Because you're hopeful it's easy to fall prey to scammers,” explains Bijou Bijou.
The singer/songwriter revealed her first project Seratonin Screen in 2018. Followed by “California Calls” and “Thing For You”, Bijou Bijou has been crafting her own musical signature by fusing elements of contemporary pop, surf and rock'n roll.
“Voodoo Man” is now available worldwide.
Introduce yourself - where are you from?
I am Bijou Bijou, born in South Africa to a Greek dad and a German mom, quite a mix! I am an Alternative pop musician using influences of contemporary pop, surf and rock'n roll. I guess we could call my genre of music a mix between alternative pop and dream pop.
What's your story?
I mean my whole life story or my goals? Goals, I want to get more music out, reach as many ears as possible, get some dope radio play and perform some amazing shows. I want my music to connect with people and for them to love what they hear from my vocals to the production. I would hope my music is easy to relax to and easy to listen to. I’d love to move to LA (my soul home) with my dog and make this dream come true.
Could you describe us your childhood a little bit? How would you describe it?
My childhood was interesting, my mom and dad divorced when I was 18 months old so that's never fun going between two parents but I was very loved and a little spoiled. My older sister has always been "protector" fixing me when I walked into walls, fell downstairs and out of trees. She's a gem! My mom always made sure we received the best of the best education and had the latest things even if it meant she didn't. So when I say spoiled I mean my mom’s a damn rockstar and that did all she could for her two girls. I was a little cheeky one with a bad attitude but cute as all hell. Singing and playing and just having a good time. Adventuring with my dog, playing outside in the sun, riding bikes and pretending to be a star performing for my toys on my self made stage (the couch).
When did your love for music begin?
I have always loved music, I've always been drawn to pianos and guitars and started writing when I was super young. I’d sing along to Dire Straits, Vaya Con Dios, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra. Anything and everything.
When did you start singing?
From what I remember about 4 years old. My mom says earlier you know when you're little and still trying to grasp the right words! I've been singing ever since, but never really took it seriously because I would compare myself to other artists with stronger vocals. So I'd sit in my room and again pretend I'm headlining a show!
When did you know you had to become an artist and release your original music?
I've always wanted to be an artist but in September 2018 I saw a Psychic and she put me back on this path and told me this is what I'm meant to be doing with my life. I always kept coming back to music but again let fears in the way. I've been going for it professionally since and it seems to be going really well!
Who was the first person to ever believe in you?
Probably my sister, I’d write her breakup songs when she and her boyfriends broke up and then my best friend Nadia, she was one of the first people I "performed for" back on our High School piano! They've both used me for this and believed in me and this dream even when I gave up. I am super grateful for them like you could not believe.
How would you describe Bijou Bijou the artist?
A very confused person not knowing what the heck I'm doing but doing it anyway and loving it. A little dark, a little heartbroken and afraid to be alone but also strong, determined and chilled. Bijou Bijou shows vulnerability through cracked confidence and honestly just wants love and a cool track to kick back to. Filled with dreams and aspirations.
You recently released your new single "Voodoo Man" - what's the story behind this song?
“Voodoo Man” came about from a loss of hope and impatience. I didn't think this road would be so rocky and take so long. I've been scammed out of tons of money by people offering false promises but at the time believed them. I received rejection after rejection and even though I had many more positives it's really the negatives that sit with you. “Voodoo Man” talks of how hard it is to break into the industry and the often false promises that sneak their way through to you, companies insisting that if you pay a fee they'll hook you up with A&R's and Labels, if you pay for this and that they'll get you heard by the big dogs and radio play... "you're the next big thing babe". Because you're hopeful it's easy to fall prey to scammers. Basically its the consideration of selling my soul to the devil to make my dreams come true but instead deciding to stay true to myself and keep pushing forward even if takes longer than expected, at least I know something big and great is coming my way and when it does that I deserved it and worked for it.
You worked with Wesley van der Westhuizen, how was it like to work with him on this particular song? When did you start working on it?
I wrote “Voodoo Man” and the melody on my guitar and sent it to him and said give it a fab/beachy/cheeky vibe. He is an exceptional producer and somehow with my awful musical lingo understands what I want and the musical elements I want. He gets the guitar riffs, drums, and beats that would work and keeps it similar to my other songs. When we record it takes me normally 30 minutes to 45 minutes to bang out the vocals and around a week to get it mastered and produced.
What do you like the most about this song?
It’s super chilled, it has a surf element to it that I love and the lyrics are easy to listen to and understand. It takes the seriousness out of the song and makes it an easy and catchy listen. It's perfect to sit back to and chill and it's also perfect to blast and sing along to.
What is your goal for this new single?
Radio play and performances. I have a few singles I'm working on and really just want to perform and reach as many ears as possible. Being an independent artist it's hard to break through but I have faith it'll work out for me as it should.
What message do you want to convey through your music?
Life may suck sometimes but keep doing you and believe in yourself. Take time to relax and take time to work. Don't give up on your dreams. Have a little faith in yourself and the Universe/ God... whomever you pray to.
What does singing make you feel?
Release. Releases any and all tension, calms my anxiety honestly as cheesy as it sounds... I feel euphoric when I'm singing. It's like there's nothing in the world that can get me down.
What's your favorite thing about being an artist?
Finally doing what I was born to do. The reactions from those that listen to the songs and like them and the courage you get each day and faith that grows within you.
You are from South Africa. How would you describe the country?
South Africa is home. Although California is my Soul Home, South Africa is the most amazing country. Yes, our crime is bad and the economy a nightmare but what country doesn't have their problems? South Africans are friendly, our scenery is amazing, our weather is incredible and we all just try to build each other up... especially the youth! The youth is doing some amazing things here and I have no doubt in my mind that this country is going places.
How's the music scene in South Africa?
It's pretty good! There are a few incredible bands/ artists that deserve more recognition but all in all, I've grown up watching bands play and seeing women in music take over and lead the way. The music scene is so diverse and the artists here are so incredibly talented and supportive of one another.
What do you want to be remembered for?
How I make the listeners feel when they listen to my music.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
SO MANY THINGS. Politics, environmentalism, human rights, religion. The list goes on. If we as a collective could show respect for our environment and each other and all the living beings instead of allowing greed to consume us then I think the world would be a much better place. Racism is still alive... it's 2019... come on! Slave trade and sex trade is still happening, women and children are still being hurt and not much has changed to protect us, victim shaming, poaching, pollution there's a lot wrong and I think some our leaders should take a seat. At the end of the day, this is the only planet we have and still, we are destroying it. Just respect each other and our planet.
What are the biggest life lessons have you learned so far?
Some people are lucky and some aren't but sometimes you need to create your own luck. Nothing worthwhile is easy and believing in yourself is honestly one of the most difficult things to do but one of the most important. If you don't believe in you then how can you expect anyone else to?
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