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#MusicExchange: Chadleigh Gowar

Chadleigh Gowar is going to have a stellar year. He opens the new venue Jazz on Red at the Radisson Red Hotel at the V &A Waterfront on Friday, 22 February 2019. Tickets cost R120 from Quicket or at the door; music starts at 7.30pm.
He is also in the running to be on the lineup for the 2019 Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF). 

Gowar is probably one of the most underrated bass players in South Africa. He has a stellar credits list to his name already working with the likes of Ernie Smith, Alvin Dyers, Richard Ceasar, Camillo Lombard, Auriol Hays, Melanie Scholtz, Heinrich Frans, Brandon October and Bianca Le Grange.

I caught up with the young man last week.

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When are you happiest?

Whenever I get to sit down, play my bass – whether it’s live, in studio or even an unplanned rehearsal.

What does music mean to you?

I believe music speaks what cannot be expressed; I sometimes create a piece and think to myself: Do you really wanna give that much away?

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?

Free drinks! Hahaha, just joking. I enjoy travelling, conversations and bonding.

What drives you: ego or humility?

Humility. Growing up on the Cape Flats, there’s no time for ego, Aunt Gerty down the road don’t care what big gig you’ve played, she’ll send you to the tuck shop for a packet of cigarettes and a bread. I’ve also learned life will humble you.

Any funny moments on stage?

Yes, definitely. But the funniest was trying to sing, I horribly failed.

What is your most treasured possession?

My black Cort C5H. It’s my first bass guitar – I composed most of my tunes on that bass, even today still I just take it out if I feel inspired.

It’s your round, what are you drinking?

Trying to lose a few kilos. So water, please?

Dream gig to do?

For now CTIJF, but I’d love to do Joy of Jazz sometime soon.

What makes you stand out?

I’d love to think it’s my authenticity.

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Mr Afrika, some call me chubbo – for being chubby, I guess.

If you were not a musician, what would you do?

A crime investigator/detective.

Pick five words to describe yourself?

Caring, honest, loyal, motivating and teachable.

What song changed your life?

“Giant Steps”. But there’s a story to it. So I’d rather say it wasn’t the song that changed my life, it was definitely who played the song that changed my life. I watched a clip once of Stevie Wonder, a blind man, playing the most difficult standard and it definitely changed my whole perception of “It’s too difficult. If Stevie can, I can.

Favourite fashion garment?

I’m a casual boytjie, I like nice slippers.

Give us some real proper slang and what it means?

“Djy moetie ko try nie!” It means “don’t come and try/push your luck.”

What do you complain about most often?

Talent vs popularity, the way people see popular/famous people above the real talented ones.

What is your fear?

Being misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Happiness is?

Being content, reflecting yearly and see how you’ve grown.

On stage, I tend to?

Talk too much! It’s as if I become more nervous. Therefore I just close my eyes and play like there’s no tomorrow.

Where would you like to be right now?

A rehearsal room or a recording studio. In fact, yesterday was one of those days where I called a rehearsal in 30 minutes. Luckily the guys were in close range.

Do you do charity work and, if you do, what do you do?

I’ve done a lot of building fundraising concerts, but one of my desires is to do something with the cancer organization Cansa. I’ve personally been affected and lost my father and Grandma through cancer.

Wishes and dreams?

I want to create a platform for musicians with similar or worse upbringing as mine, I’d like to inspire them, I’d like to share all my experiences, knowledge and resources and make them believe that there’s no shortcut to success.

Social media links

Twitter: @chadleighgowar
Instagram: @chadleighgowar
Facebook: Chadleigh Gowar Music
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About Martin Myers

Co-owner at Triple M Entertainment, founder Music Exchange, manager Sipho Hotstix Mabuse