I am constantly on the search for new sounds, new artists, someone that will make me sit up and listen, keep me captivated and show me some talent. The first time that I heard Zarni de Wet at a musical event, Acoustic Culture, in Johannesburg this is exactly what happened.
This South African born singer/song-writer/pianist/guitarist has an undeniable talent and sound that emanates soul and that little bit of oomph that grabs and keeps your attention, her sound being described as ?dgy piano pop? Throughout her life her parents noticed an intense interest and flare for the creative arts; her singing and song writing started when she was only 6 and she took her talents further to the Grammy Signature Johnson City High School Music Department. She has recently graduated with a double major in Music Education and Songwriting from the Berklee College of Music (where she also received the Scott Benson Scholarship Highest Award for songwriting). In the time of here college years she has recorded and released two albums; the first of those being ?riday Night Lights?and the more recent one- ?traight Forward? ?riday Night Lights?is described by Zarni as a ?eal?album, she says that it is not as produced as many you find today and still retains a quality of rawness.
The sound on the most recent album harnesses a varied sound, and in Zarni? opinion reflects a world of difference from her first album. ?t takes a while for it to become like muscle memory. So I think I?e really honed into a lot of skills I?e learned?
Zarni found her inspiration in her mother (who is also a songwriter) and older pieces that she heard when growing up; Crosby? Stills, Nash, The Eagles and The Beatles. She tries to keep her influences as broad as possible in order to constantly improve her sound, therefore piano driven writers like Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson and Adele help her hone in on her own individual skill.
In her earlier years her inspirations helped her pile-up a list of repertoires (think Elton John piano hits) to create a name for herself in local bars where she first started performing at the age of 16. She comments beautifully on the nature of the piano and how it has helped create the songs that she has and ultimately mold the musical sound that she embodies; ?he piano can kind of stimulate a lot of instruments- the left hand provides the base line, then whatever rhythm I? playing is also the drumsso it gives you a good orchestrating tool to have the piano.?
Like so many who just have a natural talent for creativity and cannot control how it flows from them Zarni says that she would love nothing more than being able to perform all the time. Growing up she says her parents always gave her all the opportunities she needed (piano and voice lessons, talent shows) and by the time it came to choosing a career path it was a ?o-brainer? Zarni says closes the subject matter by saying, ?y passion has always been very clear to me?
Although Zarni has taken part in all the different mediums of entertainment; TV, radio, a variety of different shows, her focus now lies in live shows. She feels that this is where people best get to feel for what it is she likes to create with her music; ? want them to feel like the songs are somehow about them. I am going for a moving experience?or myself and the audience?
Upon asking Zarni if she has learned anything along the way which she feels she can share with people looking to make something of themselves in the music industry she expresses the importance of honesty, with oneself and others; ?ake both positive and negative feedback and turn it into something that works for you? It is easy to get lost in the lights and the compliment so she feels that all musicians should have a firm grasp of themselves and who they are before all the chaos begins. ?lways be open minded to improving you, but be aware that with so many people in the world, someone is bound to like the unique you? In a final sentence she adds with a laugh; ?h yes and of course?lways make eye contact with the audience.?
To check out more about Zarni visit her site http://www.zarnimusic.com/and listen to some of her songs. Albums can be bought directly through the site (equipped with a real life signature from Zarni herself).