#MEX Music Exchange Interview South Africa

#MusicExchange: Heinrich Frans headlines Cape Town Jazzathon 2024

The 26th edition of the Cape Town Jazzathon will once again take place at the V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre, from 12-14 January 2024 with headline acts including Germaine Leonard, Heinrich Frans, Empress Naphtali and Sonic Citizen.

The annual, free-to-public festival, hoested up-and-coming live bands, and newly discovered talent, and as per usual, featured a few surprise artists and Jazzathon legends.

“This musical formula seems to work well for the festival,” says festival director Craig Parks. “We try our best to feature as many jazz-related music genres at the Jazzathon, as possible. The Jazzathon Summer Showcase lineup was extremely diverse as we have a whole range of music styles including Afro Jazz, Cape Jazz, Hip Hop and RnB, Reggae, Gospel and Neo Soul, and Straight Ahead all crammed into three days of back-to-back entertainment”

Heinrich Frans is a stalwart of the SA music industry. His career spans from solo performances with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (under the direction of Bernard Gueller), live performances as lead and backing vocalist for Allou April, Ernie Smith, Wanda Baloyi, Mynie Grové, and recording sessions as lead and backing vocalist for Vusi Khumalo and Ivan Mazuze.

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He also performed as the lead and backing vocalist for international artists Jonathan Butler, Kirk Whalum, Oleta Adams, Diana Ross, Bebe Winans, Josh Groban, and Mark Fransman.

We chatted with Frans, who performed with his stellar 3-piece backing him (Charlton Daniels: electric bass, musical director; Roderick McKay: electric piano and Damian Kamineth: acoustic drums) at the Cape Town Jazzathon 2024 on Saturday, 13 January 2024 at 5pm.

What is your purpose?

My purpose is to live a life in service of humanity.

What does music mean to you?

To me, music is one of several mediums through which I can serve humanity.

My music is about.


What is your motto?

Be encouraged and encourage others.

Fame is about...

In today’s day and age particularly, fame is about everything except that which truly matters.

Retirement will happen when.

I am deceased.

I don't do

Bad music.

I would love to co-write with.


Where do you go for inspiration to create?

My music library.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?

The music.

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The song you must do at every show?

Yesterday by The Beatles.

Any funny moments on stage?

Catching the giggles with a duet partner... Monique Hellenberg can attest to this. We laugh about that moment to this day.

My heroes are.

Too many to mention. Freddy Arendse is one that I was able to meet with - for the first time recently.

My style icon is.

Wynton Marsalis.

Which living person do you admire most, and why?

Freddy Arendse. His sense of humanity and grace, is second to none.

What is your most treasured possession?


It's your round; what are you drinking?

Jack Daniels and Coca-Cola, for sure.

Dream gig to do?

The Heinrich Frans Quintet; live at Carnegie Hall.

What makes you stand out?

My commitment to serving the music, first and foremost.

Any nicknames?


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

I would be a chef, for sure.

Pick five words to describe yourself?

Patient, kind, caring, nurturing and humorous.

Five must have songs on your Spotify playlist.

Electric Relaxation - A Tribe Called Quest
Let It Ride - Nicholas Payton
That’s the Way of the World - Earth, Wind and Fire
Ah Yeah - Robert Glasper Experiment
Everybody Loves the Sunshine - Roy Ayers

Greatest movie ever made?

The Departed

What book are you reading?

The Bible.

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What song changed your life?

Walk Tall by Mark Fransman’s ‘Strait & Narro’.

Who do you love?

My soon-to-be-born son and his mother.

What is your favorite word?


Top of your bucket list?

Spending a winter in New York City.

Your greatest achievement?

Having survived a global pandemic.

What do you complain about most often?


What is your biggest fear?

The fear of not being a good enough parent.

Happiness is.


On stage, I tend to.

Sing with my soul.

The best life lesson you have learned?

Rest is for the privileged.

What has been your favourite journey so far?


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

I spend much of my existence sharing knowledge and experience. Developmental work – in the context of music – has always been a focus of mine.

Wishes and dreams?

Equal access for all!

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About Martin Myers

Co-owner at Triple M Entertainment, founder Music Exchange, manager Sipho Hotstix Mabuse
Let's do Biz