Chit Chat: Deborah Fraser

2012-04-05 07:42

When did you start singing?
I was about six or seven years old. I remember being in Grade 1 and the teachers made me sing in the Grade 3 and Grade 4 choirs. I didn’t even have shoes back then and because I had solo performances, everyone had to run around looking for shoes for the competitions.

When did you know singing was going to be your future?
When I was growing up in KwaMashu, my family attended the St John’s Faith Mission church. It’s a very spiritual congregation. The prophet who was the founder of the church told my parents ‘this child will take care of you and your family with her voice’. It’s been a natural progression since then.

What has been the most memorable moment in your career?
Definitely winning the Crown Gospel Music award, the South African Music and Metro FM Music awards, and being asked to sing the national anthem for the first time at a rugby match in Cape Town. But one of my favourite moments was recording an album with Italian superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli and many others.

What other goals would you like to achieve?
I have started a project with the Further Education Training colleges to raise fees for learners. Many of them used to knock on my door asking for money. I felt bad when I couldn’t help everyone, but at the moment I have 63 students in different institutions.

How has the gospel genre changed over the years?
It has grown a lot bigger. When I first started out, there were already many musicians doing well, but what I’m concerned with these days is that artists are not as creative as they should be. We can’t sing hymns all the time.
When I write my lyrics I have to tell a story. It needs to touch someone and let them say ‘this song is just for me’. It needs to uplift people when they’re feeling down.

What was the most challenging aspect when you first got into music?

It was that people pretended to be what they were not, just to uphold a clean image as gospel singers. They acted like divas, but that’s a given in any industry. With me, what you see is what you get.

When you’re not singing, how do you spend your free time?

I focus my energy on getting sponsors for my project to get people educated. I want to be the next Oprah. We should do things like that ourselves and not expect people like her to do them for us.

What’s the one thing people don’t know about you?

That I’m a caring and loving person. If your world is crumbling, I’ll come and put a smile on your face and tell you everything will be okay, no matter who you are.

If you weren’t a gospel singer, what would you have become?
I’d probably want to be social worker. I like to get close to people and find out what their needs are so that I can help better their lives.

What makes you happy?

Anything that is right. People who do wrong, especially to others, just irk me completely.

What does Easter mean to you?
Easter is a special time for me. It’s a reminder of God’s eternal and unconditional love for us. It’s a period I respect and I am most thankful for everything He has provided. No parent will do what He did for me.

Can we expect another album?
I’m working on my next album, which will be released soon.

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