In what can only be described as a jam-packed and celebratory September, Sheer Publishing is proud to announce the successful signing of Australia’s biggest Gospel Music Publisher, Hillsong United, while renewing its agreement with Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi.
Having been awarded an honorary doctorate degree in The Human Letter in July, Dr Mtukudzi is making and recording some of Africa’s finest original music today. As part of the Sheer stable since 1998, Sheer Publishing and Sheer Sound’s continued investment in Oliver makes perfect sense.
Over the past 16 years Oliver’s 60-strong album catalogue has sold in excess of 650 000 albums in South Africa, and with no less than three albums prepped for release over the coming year fans of everything released since his first Sheer Sound release (1998’s Tuku Music) have a great deal to forward to.
More than two years ago Sheer Publishing made a genuine commitment and investment in the local and international gospel market, signing local songwriters with a view to taking their music to the world. The successful signing of Australia’s biggest gospel publisher, Hillsong United, is the next step in making that dream a reality. “We’re really proud to be working with such a powerful and respected global brand,” Sheer Publishing Managing Director David Alexander says. “Our investment in gospel has already seen the first African Language composer listed on Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI). Written by Nathi Zungu, and licenced globally through Sheer Publishing to CCLI, this is the first of many Sheer Publishing investments in the gospel market to bare intentionally acknowledged and devoured fruit.”
Hillsong United publishing now in place with Sheer Publishing, and incorporating their youth arm Young And Free, will further fuel the brand’s pilgrimage in the hearts and minds of all South Africans. “You can expect to see and hear more from Sheer Publishing in the months and years ahead,” Alexander adds. “We’re keen to increase our commitment in gospel by brokering local songwriter opportunities with our bigger international partners too. If only to help grow audiences, while sharing this country’s wealth of lyrical talent.”
Add the fact that Hugh Masekela, fondly known as “Bra” Hugh Masekela, and Oliver are collaborating more and more. Mtukudzi’s recent standing ovation at the inaugural Hugh Masekela lecture at the University of Johannesburg, and what’s assured is fans can look forward to no less than three new releases from the 61-year-old Salisbury-born music-maker over the coming months.
A second volume of Abiangu duets (with the likes of The Muffinz, Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo guesting) is also on the cards, as is his sell-out One Night At 60 Carnival City birthday bash recorded live Carnival City last year. The latter’s due for CD and DVD release before they year is out.
“We’re immensely proud and humbled to retain an artist of Oliver’s enormous stature, both as a recording artist and a publishing partner,” Sheer Sound General Manager Rob Cowling says. “He continues to surprise and delight us all at every turn. Slowing down is clearly not on his agenda, which makes for exciting listening all round.”
In a constant state of growth and evolution Sheer Publishing is doing extraordinary work. From their confirmatory Publisher Of The Year Wawela win earlier in the year, and with three full months left in 2014, music lovers the world over can rest assured there’ll be yet another big celebratory announcement or three before New Year’s 2015 becomes a reality.