It takes a lot to stay relevant in this constantly changing music industry. Songwriter, composer and producer Gabi Le Roux has managed for many decades. Le Roux is most often recognised for producing one of SAs big crossover hits, ‘Nkalakatha’ …
1. How long have you been composing?
I started playing Guitar at 5, Piano & Organ at 7 and Composing basic songs at 10. That means I have been Composing for 47 years! (Time flies when you’re having fun!)
2. What is your creative process? How do you start creating a beat? / How do you start writing lyrics to a beat?
I normally first clarify the Genre (I compose in most Genres). That normally pre-determines things like Tempo and Style. This would normally be followed with the Chord progression that will form the Chorus or “hook”. (Played either on Piano, Synth or Guitar, often to a click-track) I will then add more Rhythmic elements(Drums and some percussion). Bass Guitar/Bass Synth comes next to support the rhythmic structure and mostly also Rhythm/Lead Guitar at this stage. Then I will compose the Verses, Intro, bridge, ending, etc. according to this style and ‘feel’. Next comes filling in the textures, String/Synth lines, as well as Drum Fills and Sound FX, Cymbal Crashes/ Rides, etc. Finally comes Vocals. I normally write or co-write the Lyrics at the time of recording, that is section by section, with Chorus first. I believe the Chorus is the main element (‘hook’) in the Lyrical Content and everything else should be built around it.
3. What made you chose a career in this field?
It came naturally. There was never any doubt in my mind what my destiny was.
4. Did you do any courses for your career field?
I studied Classical Music Practical and Theory. I also did some Practical and Correspondence courses in Jazz. Later I did Brass Orchestra Composition and Arrangement, including Orchestral Percussion (tuned and un-tuned).
5. What advice can you give to aspiring composers?
Give yourself the advantage of a decent grasp of at least 1 instrument (piano or guitar). Also constantly research current trends and structures in successful Compositions. Remember, composition is not only about expression by the creator of the content, but also the experience thereof by the target audience!
6. What other composer’s or artists have you worked with?
Many including Mandoza, Lebo Mathosa, Brenda Fassie, Ringo Madlingosi, Kabelo & Magesh from TKZee, Busi Mhlongo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Danny K, Thembi Seete, Brown dash, Mapaputsi, D Rex, (I’m sure I must have left some out, but I respect them all!)
7. What has been the highlight of your career?
There has been many, but I guess the success of” Nkalakatha” must be right up there.