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He’s famous for a string of No1 hits and working with the likes of Lionel Richie. Now David Aldo’s latest single, When You Love Someone So Much, off his latest album, Halfway to Memphis, is jigging-up the airwaves. The LA-based South African singer and songwriter chats to us about its makings and his up-coming trip to South Africa this March.
I was born in England. My family moved to Port Elizabeth. After high school, I moved to Johannesburg where I stayed for six years before moving to Los Angeles in 1999. Although my father is Italian, I greatly regard myself South African because that’s where I grew up. With all things considered, if you asked me what I am, your guess would be as good as mine, really.
When did the music bug hit you?
I started being seriously recognised for playing the guitar at around the age of 11 but music is really something that’s always been in my blood. This is not an easy industry – the way to success is not really an easy road. Music needs to be a calling otherwise you will be at a risk of failing.
The idea for Halfway to Memphis?
I have a publishing deal in Nashville, Tennessee where I ended up spending a lot of my time working with a group of musicians there. One of my first showcases in the region was in Memphis and when it came to titling the album, I chose to go with the word because it just sounded a little bit better than Nashville. The sound of the album is very much Nashville and Memphis inspired with a little bit of David Aldo in the mix, hence the title Halfway to Memphis.
How would you compare South Africa to LA?
There’s a whole lot more opportunity for me here. LA is where all the biggest stars hang out. The entertainment scene is alive, not just on a mass scale but also on a secondary and other minor scales.
What makes this album different?
It took me 18 months to work on the project and it contains much more co-writing than any of my previous projects. I just wanted to bring in a different voice and flavour to the record. Also what listeners will notice is that it has more live elements; it’s very much a live record.
You played with Lionel Richie on his African tour in 2008. Tell us more about your relationship with him?
I’ve known Lionel for a number of years now – he’s grown to become a really close friend of mine and a very nice guy. Knowing that I’m from South Africa and that I’ve had some success and breakthroughs in the country, he approached me and proposed that I join and open for him during his South African tour. I’ve been really lucky to have formed such close bonds with some of the most established artists not only in the US but the world.
Your music has been used in a number of film projects, is that something you’re still pursuing?
That industry is huge this side, so yes. I’m always looking to score work on a film, weather big or small. A song placement in television and film can be lucrative. There are a number of unconfirmed projects and prospects I’m pursuing for the not-so-far future.
What can fans expect when you come out to SA later this month?
I will be playing familiar songs from the last decade or so as well as a couple of covers thrown in for a mix. My performances will have an MTV Unplugged kind of feel to them. I am very excited about the trip.
• David Aldo’s tour dates: Tanz Café, Joburg (March 27); The Boardwalk Arena, PE (March 30-31). Tickets are available at Computicket for R100 and R120.