Interview with Christi: Rising from the Rain

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In the swirling heart of the music industry, there’s a fresh voice to be heard; a beacon of raw emotion and melodic charm, rising from the South African town of Potchefstroom. Christi, a young, ambitious singer-songwriter, isn’t merely a new entrant to the industry but an eloquent storyteller, pouring her heart into her lyrics and allowing us a glimpse into her deepest thoughts.

With her latest single ‘RAIN’, Christi has chosen to bare her soul, crafting a narrative that revolves around the raw experiences of emotional numbness and depression, a courageous admission that many would shy away from. Written during a difficult period in her life, ‘RAIN’ encapsulates a desperate yearning to feel, to shatter the silence of emotional numbness that was once her reality.

Below, you’ll find my interview with Christi which dives into her journey, her ambitions, and the raw, undeniable talent that makes her music as heartfelt as it is. So grab a cup of coffee, settle down, and join me in uncovering the soulful world of Christi.

Christi, from DJ’s daughter to a burgeoning pop sensation! Tell us a bit more about your journey and how you got started with your music career?

“As a child, all I wanted to do was perform. My father was always playing music and I would just sing and dance along. At a young age, I released that music was a way for me to express myself and that just made me fall in love with it even more. I started writing songs around 15 to keep myself busy in class. I played my songs for my choir director and he encouraged me to continue pursuing music. After high school, I took a gap year and then decided to go study music. During Covid, I got the opportunity to record a few demos of my music and that’s basically where my journey. My father sent my music to one of his friends that works at a radio station (one of his old DJ’ing contacts) and I got connected to the right people who believed in my music as much as I did. From there I wrote and recorded my first single “Fall Apart” with the team at MUSE Studio and that kickstarted my career.”

Now, I’m intrigued by your roots in Potchefstroom. It’s not what folks typically think of as a music hub. How has this unique background moulded your sound?

“Potchefstroom actually has a great music culture. The North West University definitely takes a lot of pride in arts and that gave me a lot of opportunity to be exposed to music. Growing up, I would go watch serenades, musicals and orchestra performances at the university. The NWU music department was right next to my high school and that gave me many opportunities to grow as a musician. I was trained in classical music and choir and I definitely think that has a great influence on my sound. I use classical music theory when writing music and I love playing around with harmonies.”

Alright, time for some fun. You’ve got this soft spot for 80s music, right? So, if you had the chance to jam out with an 80s music legend, who would you pick?

“This is such a hard question! I would have to say, David Bowie. I love his music. He has such a unique sound and I feel he plays around with his music. He was also such an amazing performer. I love his stage presence and I’m obsessed with his different personas.”

Your tunes have this wonderful blend of lightheartedness and serious themes like mental health. How do you find the balance when you’re in the creative zone and crafting these songs?

“Usually, when I’m writing a song, I focus on the theme and the message behind the song. Lyrics are a very important part in my writing proses. It’s the part where I voice my emotions and work through whatever I’m going through in my life. However, the fun really starts in the producing proses. When the melody and lyrics are done, I start working on fun ways to portray the song. I love taking my “sad songs” and producing it in a lively and upbeat way. By sort of splitting the proses in two, it helps me to really touch on the theme of the song but deliver it in a fun, almost more relatable way.”

Being an artist, I guess you grapple with staying authentic to your message but also wanting to reach a wide audience. How do you strike that balance?

“I think it’s so important to speak from the heart. You need to find your voice and decide what you want to achieve with your music. My music touches on mental health issues, something that I have struggled with throughout my life. It is something that is so close to my heart. Having gone through depressive episodes, I understand the struggles of the illness. To be honest, I just want to share my story with people so that they don’t have to experience what I experienced. I don’t want people to feel alone and ashamed of what they’re going through. With that being said if you want to reach a wide audience, find an issue that you’re passionate about and just share your heart with the world. People want to connect with people.”

Christi, you’re a proud South African, and that’s something we all love about you. How has growing up in this vibrant country influenced your music and personal style?

“South Africans have an amazing sense of humour! I love how we find a way to laugh about the negative things happening in our country. This definitely influences how I look at life. In the tough times, I try to find the silver lining. I think this is where my mixture of upbeat music and serious lyrics comes from. Furthermore, South Africa is so culturally diverse. This inspires me to think outside the box and find ways to blend different sounds together.”

Every country has its own unique rhythm and sound. How would you say South African culture and music scene have shaped your artistic direction?

“As a child I loved watching MK (musiek kanaal). I enjoy alternative and rock music and MK was the place to hear that type of Afrikaans music. I loved listening to the Afrikaner’s take on rock music and hearing how we made it our own. This showed me the importance of taking something and being authentic to yourself. Bands like Glass Kas, Die Heuwels Fantasties and Polisiekar took sounds that were associated with English music and created a whole new sound for Afrikaans music. Also, South Africa’s rich musical diversity exposed me to so many different genres and sounds. I love combining them and I feel South Africa is the perfect place to embrace differences in one work of art.”

If you could collaborate with any South African artist, who would be your top choice, and why?

“I would love to work with Die Heuwels Fantasties. Even though my music is English, I still love my home langue and would love to bring out an Afrikaans song one day. I love Heuwels’ sound and I think our music would be magic together.”

This journey of self-discovery you’re on sounds really inspiring. Who’s been there cheering you on? And what gems of wisdom about yourself have you picked up along the way?

“My family has definitely been my biggest supporter. I realised that having a personal relationship with your family is truly one of the biggest blessings on earth. Last year I really struggled with my mental health. I got to a point where I just didn’t want to do life anymore. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to work for my future, and I just didn’t care anymore. It was so overwhelming for me to get out of that black hole. I learned to really take things one step at a time. I had to make a conscious decision to take a step forward every day, however small it is. I had to learn to “walk” again. In the beginning, each step was a struggle but as I went on, it got easier.”

Rumour has it there’s a debut album in the pipeline for this year. Can you give your fans a sneak peek of what they might expect?

“The album gives listeners a glimpse into my life. All my songs are about personal experiences and struggles. I talk about my insecurities, my mental health and other experiences that have shaped me. The album is so dear to my heart as it touches on serious issues but it is delivered by a fun, lighthearted pop sound. A few of the songs were written at my most vulnerable moments. I hope that my music would help listeners who are going through similar experiences.”

It’s a pleasure to see you express yourself so freely in your music and performances. Can you share a fun or memorable moment from behind the scenes of your music video shoot?

“In the music video, I was wearing high heels. Even though I love heels, I rarely wear them. While preparing for the music video, it didn’t cross my mind to practice in my heels. So when filming the music video, I stumbled over my feet occasionally and really struggled to keep my balance most of the time. However, it made the experience funner and gave me something to laugh about. I think it also helped in keeping the performance more natural and authentic.”

To wrap things up, if you could pick three words to capture your journey as an artist so far, what would they be?

“Just the start.”

Follow Christi’s Journey online at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok

Christi, your journey is a testament to the power of resilience, your music a beacon of hope to many. Thank you for sitting down with me, for letting us into your world, and for reminding us that from the rain, we can indeed bloom. Here’s to more soul-stirring music, to more stories, and to the artist that you continue to become.

Shaun Zietsman

Blogger and Content Creator from Johannesburg, South Africa.

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