Babyface clueless about Mzansi

2009-10-28 14:00

BABYFACE has no idea what he has signed up for.

The US R&B singer, songwriter, composer, producer and owner of

LaFace Records says he will be doing “guesswork” when he performs for local

audiences in December.

“I have no basis to know the most popular songs that the South

African audience likes. I don’t know what they will respond to,” he told City

Press during a telephonic interview from LA this week.

“I am coming (to SA) with four musicians, a great band and will be

on stage to perform love songs from my past albums and songs I have written or

produced for other artists. The 90 minutes will be very ­energetic and


Babyface, whose real name is Kenneth ­Edmonds, was last in South

Africa for the opening of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls two

years ago. “I didn’t see a lot. We were shuffled from place to place,” he


“The one thing I managed to do was visit the house Nelson Mandela

used to live in in Soweto and that neighbourhood. This time around I am hoping

to see a lot more and ­connect with the people.”

He adds: “Musicians like Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Madonna,

Toni Braxton and Boyz II Men gave me a voice. My music would not have been heard

the same way had they not recorded these songs, that is the greatest


The man from Indianapolis, Indiana, says the world needs artists

who can comment on the state of the world and touch everyone. “We haven’t had

those types of artists in a long time, musicians like Stevie Wonder and Michael


“If I could bring three musicians back from the dead it would be

Michael Jackson, who I think left far too soon; Bob Marley, who would still

inspire many more musicians by what he stands for; and I am also curious to find

out how the world of music would be like had Jimi Hendrix still been alive. He

was the best of the best.”

Asked whether he has received any tips about SA from his celeb

friends, Babyface responded, “I will email Oprah for a list of dos and don’ts

when I am done here.”

  • Babyface performs at the Heartfelt

    Arena in Pretoria on December 5, Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town on December 7,

    ICC in Durban on December 9 and then at the Joburg Coca Cola Dome on December


Tickets are already available at Computicket from R250 to


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