Symbolism… and ‘an eye for for the unusual’

'In with the new' by Justin Dingwall

‘In with the new’ by Justin Dingwall

Recognised locally and internationally for his portraiture, contemporary artist and commercial photographer Justin Dingwall describes himself as someone who possesses “an eye for the unusual, a passion to explore avenues less travelled and the desire to create images that resonate with emotion”.

The Joburg-based Dingwall recently exhibited a series of portraits, Albus at the FNB Joburg Art Fair held at the Sandton Convention Centre last month, featuring a series of striking photographs of Durban- born model Sanele Xaba, who has albinism.

Dingwall also made the top 10 list of visual artists in The Absa L’Atelier Art Competition 2014, an annual art award competition for South African visual artists between the ages of 21 and 35. The Tshwane University of Technology graduate says the imagery he creates is not bound by language or culture. Instead, he wants his work to speak for itself and for people to interpret it in their own way.

Dingwall explains more about his work and what inspires him.

Sanele Xaba by Justin Dingwall

Sanele Xaba by Justin Dingwall

How did you start the craft of photography? I have always been very artistic, but the first time I picked up a camera was at the age of 18 when I applied to Tshwane University of Technology.

Tell us about the ‘Albus” portrait series, what inspired it and what message did you hope to communicate with it?   The discourse about albinism is generally avoided as taboo in the South African context. When discussed, it is usually viewed as negative or as a sought-after “oddity” in fashion and art trends. My aim is to create an intimate perspective to foreground the myths surrounding albinism.

“This series developed into an exploration of the aesthetics of albinism in contrast to the idealised perceptions of beauty.”

It began as an interest to capture something not conventionally perceived as “beauty”. I began this project with the ethereal portraits of Thando Hopa, a legal prosecutor who is using her visibility to address the negative perceptions surrounding albinism. The inspiring new work features Xaba, a young model with albinism, and uses specific elements to foreground the symbolic meaning behind each work.

“My intention is for the images to become a celebration of beauty in difference. They are not about race or fashion, but about perception, and what we subjectively perceive as beautiful.”

I wanted to create a series of images that resonate with humanity and make people question what is beautiful… to me diversity is what makes humanity interesting and beautiful. The symbols of light and dark are a reflection of my medium.

I use the characteristic nature of photography to capture a unique frame of reference and paint with light in such a way as to represent the revealing of the unseen.

Light represents truth, and it is contrasted against the element of darkness to emphasise the unenlightened state of mind of previous misconceptions.

Water is another element l use to reflect society’s perceptions. Water suggests self reflection and it is often used in literature as a symbol of change.

'Reveal' by Justin Dingwall

‘Reveal’ by Justin Dingwall

The snake connotes transformation – as in the shedding of old skin to make way for new and also, as in medical discourse, to represent healing. The butterflies aim to influence the
viewer’s vision to be transformed, allowing them to view albinism in a new light – as something unique and beautiful.

'Mob' by Justin Dingwall

‘Mob’ by Justin Dingwall

“Butterflies go through a major metamorphosis, and embrace change unquestioningly. For this reason, they have become symbols of growth, surrender, transition, celebration, resurrection and fragility.”

What would you list as your best accomplishments?  My career highlights include my Albus exhibition, which is a major milestone, shooting for Adobe (The creators of Photoshop and Indesign) and creating a mosaic with 48 other artists from around the world that was exhibited at the Lincoln Centre in New York for the launch of Adobe Creative Cloud, and winning the image and magazine cover of the year 2015 at the Caxton awards. And that I have exhibited in London, Seattle, South Africa and New York.

What is your favourite photo shoot you have done over the years and why?  There are way too many to count, but one that really stands out was when I flew to Zanzibar for a week to photograph the actress Terry Pheto from the movie Tsotsi for a magazine cover, inside story, as well as a portrait shoot of a fishing village on the north coast of Zanzibar.

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What/who inspires you and now? Every day life inspires me, but I also do a lot of research. I am inspired by many great artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Lucian Freud, Charles Thomas “Chuck” Close and Eloy Morales.

And photographers Richard Avedon and Roger Ballen.

Before I became a photographer I was an assistant for four years, and learnt from many local, as well as international, photographers the craft of photography.

But if I have to single out two photographers that have influenced my career, it would be Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz.

“Their dedication, time spent crafting, researching, production and planning to produce a single photograph is very inspiring.”

A place in the world that you have not been you would like to photograph? Without question, India. It looks like an engaging, colourful, chaotic, beautiful country. I have heard from friends and family that it engages all of your senses – all of them, nearly all of the time. I also have a soft spot for Italy.

What are the greatest challenges to making it as a photographer or an artist in South Africa?  As a freelance photographer you can never sit on your laurels, if you aren’t working you aren’t earning. You constantly have to be promoting yourself and getting your work out into the market.

“The very early mornings and the very late nights. But one of the most important things is to be a problem solver. You have to be able to think on your feet.”

What cameras do you use and how important is photoshop to your final images? I use both digital and film. When I shoot film I use a Hasselblad medium format camera and when I shoot digital I use Canon or Hasselblad.

When I started studying and working as a photographer there were no digital cameras, only film. So it was very important to get everything 100 percent correct before shooting. I still live by that principle, but Photoshop is an important tool.

Justin Dingwall

Justin Dingwall

Who is a young or emerging photographer or artist you consider one to watch at the moment?   Tony Gum. I recently viewed her work at the FNB Joburg Arts Fair and she is creating some amazing self-portraits.

        “I live by these two quotes: Gary Player: “The harder I work, the luckier I get,” and “You reap what you sow.”

This feature first appeared in the Cape Argus on September 30 2015.

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Charting the emotional quest of a photographer

Activist Jes Foord by photographer Gary van Wyk

Activist Jes Foord with  Gary van Wyk

Cape Town photographer Gary van Wyk was 18 when he took his first memorable photograph – of a Caribbean sunset.

“It just happened to be this amazing sunset. I witnessed a photographer setting up his camera and tripod to take a picture and I took a picture myself. When I looked at that photograph at home, I went ‘wow!’ There was just this connection… it was like zooming into the sunset as if it was in front of me again. I liked the idea of being able to represent something like that,” Van Wyk recalls.

That was during a two-year gap period which Van Wyk spent travelling after completing matric at Plumstead High School.

“When I finished school I was 17 years old and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I went to London after hearing great stories about it from a friend’s sister who had visited there. I was the first person in my family to leave the country… I literally left with a few hundred pounds.  That move changed my life,” he says.

After taking that photograph, Van Wyk saved up for a Minolta camera and started taking pictures.

“I decided then that I wanted to go back to South Africa and study photography. Nobody in my family was a photographer or doing anything artistic… I had no idea what photography was,” says Van Wyk,

who was raised in Belhar and Lansdowne.

Returning to Cape Town, he started studying photography at Peninsula Technikon, now the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2001, and was headhunted by Independent Newspapers during his second year.

“I started my internship at the Cape Argus in 2003. I was supposed to be there for only two days but I stayed for five years. When Cape Town photographer George Hallett introduced us to documentary photography, I jumped at it… it just made sense to me,” he says.

“It was the best training and experience I could have asked for. I learnt how to shoot under pressure. It was the best way of learning… the best thing that ever happened to me.”

After leaving Independent Newspapers for another company, Van Wyk was approached by photographer and filmmaker Adrian Steirn to join the production team of the socio cultural multimedia project 21 ICONS, which was working on its first season.

Launched in South Africa in 2013, 21 ICONS is the brainchild of Steirn, who is known for his black and white portraits of some of the nation’s most notable individuals such as Nelson Mandela and Nadine Gordimer.

The series, which is produced by the Ginkgo Agency, celebrates the lives of extraordinary South Africans who have been catalysts in shaping the nation’s global landscape in politics, the environment, athletics, sports and the arts.

That was in 2013. Now in its third year (and third season), Van Wyk, 34, has taken over from Steirn and stepped up as principal photographer while Steirn captures the behind-the-scenes images.

Visual artist Athi-Patra Ruga photographed by Gary

Visual artist Athi-Patra Ruga photographed by Gary

“Working with the people from the first two seasons was an incredible privilege. It meant having the chance to be a part of South Africa’s history. Now in Season 3 we are getting to meet emerging South Africans. These are our country’s new leaders and change makers, and working with them, taking their portraits is an extraordinary opportunity,” says Van Wyk.

The short-film series will launch its new season on Sunday on SABC 3, and will feature 21 youth icons, the next generation of South African leaders and influencers. The season will also see a move from black and white portraits to colour photography.

The season’s first five icons include performance artist Athi-Patra Ruga, rape survivor and gender activist Jes Foord, community activist and co-founder of the Kliptown Youth Programme Thulani Madondo, paralympic wheelchair tennis player Lucas Sithole, conservationist and eco-preneur Catherine Constantinides, and textile and knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo.

“Black and white photography deals with the past, it deals with memory and is very nostalgic. Season 3 is about the people making a difference now, who are under the age of 35 and up-and-coming South Africans. Colour just makes sense moving forward… showing the rainbow nation for what it it now,” Van Wyk explains.

“Colour is literally what life is in the now, it describes more than what black and white images could. Also it gives a new energy to the project,” he says.

“Behind each portrait lies a carefully planned concept that captures not only the essence of each icon visually but also their spirit. Each portrait pays tribute to the unique path carved by each icon,” Van Wyk explains during our meeting at the Ginkgo Agency office in De Waterkant where a few of his portraits are displayed on the wall.

“It’s a very interesting way of doing it. There are many ways of doing cool portraits with cool lighting and angles, but it’s not enough to tell a story so that even a child can look at the portrait and ask, ‘Why is that woman standing next to that shadow?’ Or for an adult to be able to look at it and say, ‘I remember that moment’.

“Each portrait has to tell a story. We had to take into consideration everything, including the location and lighting. There is a lot of pre-planning and production involved and it can be tricky. When you watch the films you will realise why the portraits are like that, that makes it even more powerful,” he says.

Working for Ginkgo means Van Wyk travels a lot, photographing a variety of things – from the world’s biggest tiger in Nepal to capturing the Amazon rain forest.

“I get to meet all these famous people and it’s amazing and a privilege, but for me photographing everyday people is the most amazing thing.The most powerful shots for me are spontaneous, raw moments. I live life and photograph the experiences that I have in life.

“A lot of people say that when you take photographs you are missing the moment but for me it heightens the moment. Normally if you are looking at things, you are passing by. But because I photograph things I look at things so much more intensely… I look at the colours and the light.

“I find that I pay much more attention to things since I started photography. The way I look at the world is completely different, everything fascinates me.”

Van Wyk’s girlfriend Caron Gie, who is a teacher, and the works of great photographers are among his biggest inspirations.

“My studies taught me the technical side of things, but technical ability doesn’t teach you photography, photography is a way of life. Everyone observes things differently and if you are able to photograph the way you see things, you are able to photograph the world. You need the technical ability to interpret what you see,” he says.

“You can’t become a better photographer with a better lens or camera. You become better by being more in touch with your emotional state, the way you observe things – deeper and deeper, that makes you a better photographer.”

And what makes a good photograph? “A good photograph strikes an emotion in someone. Even if you can’t explain why, but it does. It has to do with what you see and how you interpret it,” he says.

Van Wyk’s tips for budding photographers include studying the works of great photographers and as taking as many pictures as you can.

“Work hard, that is the only reason I am where I am today. “I don’t think that I have any special skills or ability, I’ve literally shot every day from the time I started and it’s the only way I learnt. I carry a camera every day, everywhere I go and I photograph anything and everything.

“There are many reasons I take pictures. I love the art of photography. There is that magic that you can freeze time. Being a photographer gets me out of the house, it gives me purpose in life and it gives me an excuse to stare at things. It gives me an excuse to be inquisitive.

“It also gives me an opportunity to explore the world and exploring is the biggest reason that I do photography,” he adds.

●21 ICONS (season 3) debuts on SABC 3 on Sunday, September 6, and will run for a further 20 weeks.

This feature first appeared in the Cape Argus on the 1st of September 2015. 

Coréon Dú’s ground-breaking Afro-Caribbean pop fusion.

Coreon Du. The picture is supplied by CSA Global

Coreon Du. The picture is supplied by CSA Global

Angolan musician Coréon Dú is a multi-media artist, known for generating ground breaking pop culture phenomena. He also recently launched his album, Binário, in South Africa. Produced by Grammy Award-winning producer and film-maker Andres Levin, it is a medley of beats in Portuguese, Spanish, and English, creating laid-back melodies typical of Dú’s distinctive sounds which fuse African beats with those of the Caribbean.
The album’s two singles Amor Robotico  and Bilando Kizomba made it to the top 30 on the American Billboard tropical chart.

Dú, who was raised in the US, is also being feted for his work as a creative director, writer and producer for his own telenovela titled Windeck, and his fashion line WeDú by Coréon Dú.

I speak to him about his music and influences:

What was the inspiration behind your album Binario? I always like to involve my nerdy sensibility in my albums. I wanted to keep within the sci-fi inspiration I had for my musical projects but take it somewhat further.

The reason why I chose Binário as a title, or “binary” in English, is because the word itself refers to something made of two elements. My album is a fusion of the organic and the technological.

The organic being the sounds from more traditional African music and tin sounds from genres such as Semba, Kizomba, Cumbia, Bachata, and the technological being from more urban and electronic genres such as dance, hip hop and raggaeton.

How did you get started in music? It actually started with a dream when I was about 15, and that was the point where I decided that I wanted to pursue music professionally. However, that dream was interrupted and I was only able to start pursuing music professionally almost 10 years later. I released my first album, The Coréon Experiment in 2010.

Ever since, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my work with a growing number of fans in Angola and beyond, and released a remix project called The WeDú Experiment in 2013 and my album Binário in 2014.

Coreon Du image 1

What inspires your music? I’m quite a romantic and introspective, so my greatest inspiration comes from my own experiences and from things I observe. The sounds in my music are very diverse, I’m usually seeking to create a fusion between Angolan and African sounds with what I enjoy most about other genres from abroad from both the acoustic and electronic realm.

Describe your typical fan? That’s hard to describe. I consider anyone who appreciates and supports my work a #WeDúFriend or fan. I don’t target one particular kind of audience, because art is unpredictable.

What and who was your music inspiration as a child? Michael Jackson’s music, James Bond’s fashion sense, the style of Bollywood films, and the freshness of Kuduro music which was developing at the time.

How important is developing an online community or fan base? We are in an era where communication is seamless between human and the technological aspect. Both live and online communication are essential for any artist to connect with supporters.

Describe your music in four words? Fusion, romance, humour and journey.

One of your most memorable times onstage? The first time I started performing and the audience sang along and requesting songs from my album. I was used to being an opening act for bigger artists in shows and festivals. It was a wonderful moment
to see people connecting at that level to my work for the first time.

Tell us something about you most people don’t know? I’m actually a very shy person. Most people who see me doing any public speaking, performing or even some of my
occasionally bold outfits, don’t really believe this. However, I was very shy after my pre-teen years until university. I’m still quite reserved but music has actually helped me a lot to communicate with other people.

This feature was published in the Cape Argus on July 17 2015. All pictures are by CSA Global.

Meet Tony Gum

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Tony “Zipho” Gum’s fresh and intriguing visual imagery is creating a stir. Her work, published on her blog spot, tumblr and social media platforms, is getting national attention and has earned her an impressive following. The most recent, “The Coke Evolution: Black Coca- Cola” features Gum in a series of photographs, in different poses and attires with
a Coca-Cola bottle. We get to know the 19-year -old “allrounder” creative who calls Pinelands home, but credits her early childhood in Langa for the the “energetic mindset” she has today.

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How would you describe yourself? I enjoy solitude a lot; mainly because it allows me the time to bask in my thoughts. I appreciate meaningful encounters and fruitful conversations. I’m a hectic beat devotee and when the relevant time of retirement comes, I hope to produce soulful beats till my heart is content.

I love dancing and I have this obscure obsession with dancers, mainly because I
respect them. I have this weird affection at times and an undying kind of love for my family.

I don’t take the term “friend” lightly, I believe true friendship is earned and learned over a period of time. I am also an observer; I tend not to say much so I express myself through visuals.

Tell us about your creative journey?
My creative journey is one that is still evolving… Growing up in kwaLanga township, a place that I believe is the root of creativity, made the transition to living in a suburb (Pinelands) quite unbearable at first as I was young at the time.

But my upbringing is something that I enjoy speaking about. I believe that the bliss and the still very vivid memories of living in kwaLanga had so much to do with the energetic mindset that I have today.

I didn’t have friends in my new Pinelands neighbourhood, children didn’t come out to play. It was strange but, as time passed, I grew accustomed to the lifestyle. When my father had the internet installed at our home, I discovered that there is much more to the internet than just Google. It became my playground. It was the portal to everything I wanted to expose my eyes to: quality and quantity. I surfed the internet for hours at a time.
I “hired” my cousin, who was 12 years old at the time, to take pictures of me showcasing my outfits in various and sometimes dangerous locations. I was 15 years old when I started blogging.

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What inspired the “The Coke Evolution: Black Coca-Cola” series and what
message, if any, do you hope to communicate with it?

Largely consumed by black people in South Africa, I feel that Coke needs an individual that black people are able to relate to – culturally mostly. And what better way to share that opinion than through my own cultural experience.

As simple as the beverage may be in comparison to the Xhosa culture and its traditions, together they complement and elevate each other. In other words, I want the relationship between the product and the consumer to be more than just “a purchase”. I want it to be a proud and sentimental experience. The moment the consumer realises that Coke is now
touching on relatable terms, that’s when a connection is made, that’s when Coke is no longer “just a Coke”, that’s when greatness is shared.

(But) I encourage the viewer to also create their own understanding of the series.

What would you list as your most notable accomplishments so far?
I’ve never been fulfilled with the title “blogger”, it just seemed too boring. Being recognised as an artist on the other hand feels like power. I am represented by the Christopher Moller Art Gallery in Gardens. Now I know my “artist” title is real, it’s exciting.
I also got the opportunity to do a “cross continental” collaboration with Teff The Don, also known as The Expressionist, a New York photographer. It was an experience that kept me on the edge 24/7.

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What or who inspires you?I can’t necessarily pinpoint and narrow it down to who or what inspires me. I’m an observer and I seek inspiration through my daily observations.

Which photographers influenced you – your thinking, photography, and career
path? I have so much respect for Teff The Don’s attention to composition and colour. Gabriella Achadinha is officially the queen of the film in my eyes. Artist and photographer Nakeya B’s conscious concepts are impeccable and Dutch Vogue contributor Ivania Carpio is the reason why I can proudly say that one day I’ll drop my bags of colour to become a devoted minimalist.
Because of such people, I’ve come to appreciate and focus on the importance of what is in the frame. I don’t generally work with a good camera and at times I just use my cellphone. Attention to detail is what I could say is my forté.

What is it you want to say with your photographs and how do you actually go about achieving that?
Visuals are important. I live by three rules when it comes to my work: composition, aesthetics and consistency. How I go about doing so? Once I’m set on how the subject will look, I then look for elements or props that will be used to enhance the focus on the subject. Complementary backdrops/backgrounds are very much taken into consideration.

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When did you first become interested in photography?
I can’t say that I’m generally interested in photography. Rather, I’m interested in what’s in the frame. I haven’t had the privilege of working with a photographer who understands the vision, that is why I’ve taken the liberty of playing the role of a photographer.

How would you describe your photographic vision and style, and what kind of look do you try and create in your photos? It’s like a Wes Anderson film but in stills, interconnected with artist Hassan Hajjaj’s astonishing portraits. Simple, yet striking.

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Who were the mentors who helped shape your style, and who would you count among your biggest influences, photographically or otherwise?
Jesus, a true representation of selfless love and peace, is truly inspiring. My brother, his business mindset and his experience in the art definitely helps with my gathering my thoughts out of the clouds. And my parents, they are so supportive of the indecisive creative that I am.

If you could visit and photograph any place in the world that you haven’t been to, where would that be? Nairobi, Kenya – considering the fact that I’ve nicknamed myself
“Naairobi Naairobi”. Morocco may take the cup as my dream destination. It looks packed
with colour, organic and rich in culture and religion – it’s a dream.

What are the greatest challenges in making a living as a photographic artist and what is key to succeeding at it? The challenges I’m facing at the moment are the resources. I still don’t even have a proper photographic camera, but I’ve come to learn that such challenges are not impossible to decipher; they can be faced and challenged, literally.

I’ll never forget the day my brother was driving me to my first photoshoot as Tony Gum. I was ecstatic, busy raving about all the things I needed to get because I had finally made my “big break”. He just simply said: “Work with what you’ve got.”

His words flew right past me because at that very moment they meant zilch to
me. I needed the latest Canon , the finest attire – in essence, I wanted the best of the
best. He went on to ask: “Do you have a camera? Just use what you have. It’s been working for you thus far.”
Challenges are blessings, more so, they are lessons. I’ve come to understand them as diamonds in the rough.

One just needs to work hard so that you can see the results of your challenges are equal to diamonds.

Check out more of her work here>>tonygum.blogspot.com/ OR tonygumonline.tumblr.com/

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on June 10 2015

‘Happy’ singer Pharrell Williams is working for a greener planet

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HE SINGS and the world claps and dances and his style is emulated by youngsters
everywhere, but lately Pharrell Williams has been using his influence to galvanise the masses to support environmental causes. It was announced yesterday that he has become the style director for Woolworths, a collaboration that will see the star and the business align their values and actions to make a difference to people and the planet.
“We hope Pharrell will help us make sustainability cool for the next generation of South Africans and help us create a better future for our children,” said Ian Moir, chief executive of Woolworths.
It’s a cause Williams has wholeheartedly embraced. In an exclusive interview in Los Angeles for Independent Media, Williams reveals he became an eco-activist because he began to realise the importance of the environment. “You realise that this is your home,” he says.
“If you can tend your lawn, field or garden, you can tend the Earth because it is the biggest lawn we have. “It’s this big rock; it’s the only thing we have. It’s our biosphere, it’s where we live… we have to think about it,” says them musician and designer, who was not wearing the vintage Vivienne Westwood mountain hat he made famous but rather a dark green cap.
“To have a corporation like Woolworths understand that and for them to have the kind of matching initiative in South Africa, in the middle of that precious gem and continent… I have to be a part of that,” he says.

Williams is spoilt for choice when it comes to the number of people knocking on his door to work with him, so what does it take for him to lend his name to a corporation or collaborate with an artist?

He says he first examines their intentions and then asks himself whether he can contribute. “If I don’t feel like there is much I can add to it, I don’t want to get in anyone’s way,” he says.

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As the creative director of Bionic Yarn, which makes ecologically sustainable yarns and fabrics from recycled plastics, he has helped forge eco collaborations with clothing manufacturers.

The biggest of these is RAW for the Oceans, an initiative that recycles plastic from the sea into G-Star denims. Addressing an event at the UN in New York last month to celebrate the International Day of Happiness, Williams highlighted the importance of
tackling climate change. He asked supporters to sign a petition to put pressure on world leaders to commit to climate action.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, he joined Nobel peace prize laureate Al Gore in announcing a Live Earth music event on June 18 to demand action on climate change. He is serving as creative director of the event taking place across all the continents, including Antarctica. Cape Town is one of the cities hosting a Live Earth concert, about which Williams says: “Expect energy and intention. There will be music that will be played with intention so you will feel it. You feel the intention.” At Davos, Williams called for the support of everyone who believes in clean lakes, rivers and oceans, who cares where their products come from and who is giving to make sure every kid gets
the best shot at a great education, an issue he regards as close to his heart.
Although Williams’s mother, Carolyn Williams, was a teacher, he has admitted
not doing well at school at first and says that words of encouragement from his teachers kept him interested.
“Don’t give up,” he advises youngsters. “Keep looking for that one spot that makes you interested in learning.”
He adds: “It’s super simple. If you figure out what you love to do, what you would do for free, that is usually where it starts.

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“Then you ask yourself: ‘Is there a way to actually service humanity while you are doing it?’ If you can, then that is a dream job.
“And if you are helping humanity at the same time, now God loves you too.” Williams feels that process starts as early as primary school. And if the Woolworths fundraising programme, MySchool, “is going to offer that, I want to be part of it”, he says.
Currently one of the judges in the eighth season of TV singing competition The Voice and with a new album out titled GIRL, Williams is a busy man – and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I don’t want to take any of it for granted,” he says. “I would rather stay focused on the work.”
He says he appreciates his success “because I know where it comes from. It comes from the seed which is the work, being curious about what you do and being appreciative to be able to collaborate with people. That is where all of this comes from”, he says.

He says he was humbled by the success of Happy, the song from the Despicable Me 2
soundtrack, and had no inkling it would become such a global phenomenon. It was
the best-selling single of last year, peaking at No 1 in the music charts of over 20
countries, and sold 12 million copies.

“You never know that,” he says, “because it’s not up to you. It’s up to the
people. “That is why I’m always saying ‘thank you’ and ‘I am so grateful’.
I really mean it. “To be supported in that way, and to the magnitude that I felt,
is humbling.”

Woolworths_Campaign_Image_6

As we shake hands at the end of the interview, he says something which will excite
his many fans here: “I am looking forward to coming to South Africa.”
●Nontando Mposo was flown to Los Angeles courtesy of Woolworths.

This feature was first published on April 10 2015, in the following Independent Media Newspapers. The Star, Cape Argus, Pretoria News and Daily News.