Get To Know a Few of SA's RBMA Alumni

Cape Town Editor / February 12, 2016

Throughout the previous 17 editions of the Red Bull Music Academy workshops and talks and events - that now happen across two semesters every year - there have been a lush variety of great musicians being chosen to graduate through the program.

Some of those RBMA alumni have gone on to achieve great things and build great careers, including Hudson Mohawke, Flying Lotus, Lunice, Evian Christ, Tokimonsta, Mr Hudson, Brenmar, Dorian Concept, Teebs, LAO, Aloe Blacc, Nina Kraviz and many more. As the deadline for RBMA Montreal entries looms closer (7 March), we look at 7 of the top South African acts to have gone through RBMA over the years and where they are now.

Black Coffee (Cape Town, 2003)

Since attending RBMA in 2003, Black Coffee has had an explosive career, becoming arguably the most successful electronic music producer and DJ to come out of SA, as has been well documented by Red Bull’s #10yearsofBlackCoffee project. The interactive website celebrated his trophies at Ibiza’s DJ Awards, his RA ‘Origins’ documentary, playing the first ever CTEMF, the ‘Africa Rising’ film, performing with Bra Hugh Masekela, launching the Black Coffee Foundation, his set at Sonar in 2007, his record label Soulistic Music, and more.

Culoe de Song (Barcelona, 2008)

Whilst his music is not defined by his achievements, De Song has done well. In 2008 he was signed to Black Coffee’s label Soulistic Music, released his first EP on Germany’s Innervisions and performed at Barcelona’s Sonar Festival in 2009 and won Metro FM’s Best Male Album in 2014 for Exodus. He has broadened the podium that previously featured Black Coffee alone and has inspired many aspiring artists to chase that musical dream.

Jullian Gomes (London, 2010)

Having released music on powerhouse labels like Soul Candi, Gomes has performed on most of the most prestigious stages across Southern Africa and abroad, he’s been nominated for a SAMA and won a MetroFM Music Award. Jullian Gomes has cemented his place as a stalwart of the SA music landscape, most recently by establishing his new label with Kid Fonque, Stay True Sounds. We’re expecting the first release from that label to drop in the next few weeks.

Behr (Madrid, 2011)

As part of the Jozi-based collective Hadedah, Behr has been working on many interesting performance and event formats. He’s also been composing and releasing music comprised of sampling and live recordings mixed together to create live loops with various instruments, he makes music “using sounds within nature and our environment and the manipulation thereafter.” Definitely one artist to keep an eye out for.

Trancemicsoul (New York, 2013)

As a prolific sophisticated deep house producer and DJ from Pretoria, Trancemicsoul has also played a set at RBMA’s Sonar stage in Barcelona amongst a myriad of superb soulful house sets across SA. When you see him on a line-up, expect a spectrum of influences blended smoothly into richly spacious natural groove.

King Bruce (Tokyo, 2014)

After a chance meeting between King Bruce and Louie Vega at RBMA Tokyo, Vega and Bruce exchanged ideas and contact info. A few weeks after the Academy, King Bruce sent Vega a few tracks that developed into his My First Walk EP being released on Vega Records at the beginning of 2015. Vega says that wherever he plays cuts from that EP, “the dancefloor erupts!” He's just released a new EP on Dub Temple Records, titled Lost In Time.

Sebastiano Zanasi (Paris, 2015)

One half of Christian Tiger School with Luc Vermeer, and both Hessien+ and Yes In French, and also label-owner with all the artists on Quit Safari, Zanasi has been busy before and after going to RBMA Paris last year. Since attending the Academy he has released new material under Yes In French and announced a nationwide SA tour with Rival Consoles starting later this month in Cape Town.

If you’d like to be a part of this prestigious group of global Red Bull Music Academy alumni, get your (physical) entries in before the cut-off date of 7 March and hope and pray for the opportunity to have your horizons expanded in Montreal later this year.