Gerald Clark – Biography
Gerald Clark is one of South Africa’s best-known blues musicians, singer/songwriter recognised for his extraordinary ability to tell a story with his music. Clark has voice that gets down to the soul and honesty that is the blues. But Gerald isn’t just a bluesman, always original in his approach towards music, he keeps exploring while taking the blues into new territory.
As the former lead singer of South African blues band Delta Blue, Gerald Clark has been a solid presence on the South African live music scene starting with their their first gig in 1997. Since going solo a few years later, there have been numerous excursions with South African legends such as Albert Frost, Dan Patlansky, Koos Kombuis, Theo Crous, Luna Paige and Van Coke Kartel, as well as local and international tours.
He has whooped and hollered on stage with the best of them, including at Kirstenbosch Gardens, Oppikoppi, Splashy Fen, Oude Libertas and Aardklop, picking up a guitar lick or two in the process.
2016 was a big year for Gerald Clark. He spend a full year on the road, doing what he loves most – adventure and music. The road took him to many festival’s main stage, into Africa where he played shows in Namibia and Zambia, to Stellenbosch where he received a WoordTroFee nomination for Best Solo Act at the Woordfees (he was nominated alongside Yvonne Chaka Chaka) and finally to Europe
It was Clark’s second time in Europe. In Belgium he collaborated with Stefan Dixon and played to music lovers across the country. In 2012 he took his golden voice to Czech Republic and did a 20 show, 20 town, 20 day tour, where he was honoured with soldout shows and standing ovations. Last year he only performed 17 shows over 17 days and all ready they want him back in 2018.
This year Clark is keeping busy with exciting collaborations. One of which he worked with the drummer, Barry van Zyl – a true legend, one who has performed with Johnny Clegg, Annie Lennox, Carlos Santana and Robert Plant. With Gerald on the acoustic guitar and vocals and Barry with his masterful touch on the drums and percussion, this project produced top class music and a brand new album, Afrocoustic.
Interview: Gerald Clark
MA: Hey Gerald, really cool to be chatting to you again… how you doing?
Im good thanks. Busy as hell! Leaving on tour this week playing Knysna, St Francis, PE, STRAB fest, Dullstroom, Park Acoustics and then flying to Cape Town straight after my performance at Park Acoustics for a street fest with Aking and Sannie Fox. Then I have the Whacky Wine fest beginning of June. Right after that I leave for Europe for 2 months to play festivals. First one is in Prague called the refufest !Super excited!!
MA: Do you mind starting with a quick 101 on who Gerald Clark is? Where in SA are you from and how did you get started in the music scene?
I’m a singer/songwriter/traveler/adv
I’m originally from the Free State but grew up in Stellenbosch. Started my career with a blues band way way back and have played at every big fest and stage SA has to offer. I love playing at Kirstenbosch in Cape Town. Beautiful Setting. I’m semi relocating to Europe with my girlfriend but will be back in SA every few months to tour etc
MA: What are some of your musical influences?
A whole lot of blues and soul music. I love Nina Simone the most.
MA: Do you have any major highlights in your musical career thus far?
I have released 5 solo albums in the past 10 years and a highlight was working with the members of the Johnny Clegg band and Freshly Ground band on my latest one called Afrocoustic.
My first tour in Czech Republic 5 years ago was also a highlight. Teamed up a super band from Prague and had 21 shows at the most amazing old theatres with standing ovations and response that completely blew me away..
MA: What are your thoughts of our local music scene at the moment?
The SA music scene is growing strongly and super great music is popping out all over the show! So many venues and eager audiences! I’m really busy with performances and it feels like it is gaining momentum. Musicians here really are blessed with a great working platform and people that is organizing events are top class.
MA: Any acts/bands/artists that you think need a special mention?
Just love Medicine boy so much…
I’m working with a legendary drummer for my shows these days and I’m very excited to perform as a duo at Park Acoustics at the end of the month. We create quite a vibe with just acoustic guitar, my stompbox and the very original drumkit setup of Michael Canfield!
MA: Anything else you currently working on that we may be interested in?
I’ve been working on a single and it’s ready for release soon.
I’m busy writing new material that I’m hoping to be recording in Prague this year. I’m doing a tour in Belgium, Italy and Czech Republic end of the year and bring my band from Czech for a tour end of January 2019.We’re already booked for Up the Creek 2019! Gonna be a busy but fun year.
For this year I’m still teaming up with Guy Collins for my #travelbyhorse tour in Botswana ,Zambia and Namibia in September.
MA: Where can people follow you on Social Media?
Follow me on Instagram at geraldjamesclark or on Facebook, Gerald Clark.
All my music is on Spotify and iTunes etc.
See you at Park Acoustics end of the month!
MA: Thanks for your time.