An Interview With The South African Pop Artist, BINX!
Posted On 26 Jun 2017
“The song is a metaphorical use of keeping my dad in my “Headlights” or my thoughts as I continue my path of music. When I start to get derailed, I remember the reason why I started was because of him, it keeps me going.“ – BINX
Binx also known as “The African Bee” is an Avant-Garde Pop South African musician/model living in New York. Her song, “Radiohead” is currently Number 1 in South Africa and she has performed at the US Open, The New York Marathon (two years in a row), Webster Hall and was featured in The New Yorker for her EP titled “The African Bee.”
Binx, whose name was derived from a nickname her brother called her whilst growing up, has been singing and writing music since she was a little girl. With her late father’s encouragement, BINX took her music career to New York where she released her debut EP to great acclaim. “The African Bee” has had extensive radio airplay across South Africa, and BINX was interviewed on South Africa’s biggest Entertainment channel, V Entertainment. The rising pop singer has also performed at The South African Traditional Music Awards as well as performed live on TV to millions of viewers.
Learn more about Binx in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? How has 2017 been treating you?
Howzit All Access! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.
2016 – Life Changing. Perspective. New Beginnings. 2016 was the most difficult year of my life. My dad passed away suddenly and my whole universe altered in that moment. He was heavily involved in my life and my music career and I gained a very different perspective on life and my priorities.
I put out my EP “The African Bee” and in particular my song, “Headlights” as a dedication to him and his life. The EP was also my first official release besides my “Radiohead” single and my introduction as an Avant-Garde South African pop musician. It was the beginning of new things.
2017 – Has been off to a great start career wise! I set many goals and am living up to most of them. The “Headlights” music video was my first big release of the year in May. I also performed at Jay Z’s 4040 Club for my exclusive music video premiere which was probably my most special performance to date.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it?
I love this question! I am currently in Williamsburg, Brooklyn looking out onto a beautiful park. It’s a perfect summer day and everyone is out and about. I’m currently listening to Zara Larsson’s “Uncover.” She is my new obsession!
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? If you weren’t an artist today, what else could you see yourself doing?
Yes, I never made a conscious decision about becoming a musician. I have just always known that the stage is and would be my home. My earliest memories according to my family was me singing “Ruby Tuesday” with few teeth when I was two years old. My earliest memory is my dad and I sitting on the floor surrounded by his collection of albums of The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Blur, The Clash and David Bowie and him teaching me all about music. When I was 6/7 years old I remember Britney Spears came out with “Baby One More Time” and it solidified those cravings. I wanted to do exactly what she was doing.
If I couldn’t be in music, fashion or theatre, I would be an astronomer. I am fascinated by space and the worlds beyond our Earth!
Why did you decide to go by BINX and not your own real name? Do you think that BINX gives you a completely personality?
Binx IS my real name. It’s not my legal name, however. But everyone knows me by that name and I’ve grown up with it, it’s who I am. It’s my family, my African roots and my alter ego. But there is another side to me, my personal side that not many people will get to know and that’s my birth name.
I was actually named after Mick Jaggers ex-wife, Bianca Jagger. The Rolling Stones are mine and my family’s favorite band. I got to see them live for the first time in Vegas last year!
I am curious to know how your South African background comes through in your music? What is the music scene like there for promising artists like yourself? How did you eventually decide to move to New York?
My African heritage is very important to me, it’s the essence of who I am. I have a song off my EP, “The African Bee” titled “African Heart” and I sing in three different languages; English, Afrikaans and Xhosa.” And my song, “Radiohead” was named after the xhosa word “Onomothotholo” which means radio because my nanny would tell me I sing and talk all day long.
The music scene there is definitely still up and coming but we have an insane amount of talent. Pop musicians have a better chance of opportunity and survival in New York, but that’s just my own experience and opinion. I think each artist and each circumstance is different depending on how you want to go about your career.
My dad used to tell me stories about New York. How he had seen The Rolling Stones here live and that the women would walk around with their heals in their handbag. I wanted to be one of those women and now I am! So I left South Africa and made it happen. I have wanted to live here in NY since I was 13.
Let’s talk about your latest single, “Headlights.” Where did the inspiration for it come from? What was it like working with the songwriter, Kinetics on it?
“Headlights” is about my Dad. The song is a metaphor and can be interpreted for setting your sights on something like a goal and sticking to it even when you feel as though you are being derailed, remember why you started. For me, it’s about keeping my Dad in mind like ‘Headlights’ and I know I’ll find my way through his guidance.
It was amazing working with Kinetics! He is insanely talented and also just a really lovely person. It was the first time I had co-written with anyone.
When do you hope to release more music and a full album of new tracks even? Do you have plans to tour anytime soon?
I am actually planning on releasing something every month until the rest of the year. That includes, new music, new videos etc. So in June I will be releasing my next summer single, “Paradise” which I recorded at the Spotify Studios in New York and I have plans for my 2nd EP to arrive in September.
I also have press tours planned for Los Angeles in July and South Africa in December. I am still working on a tour.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
In Rock n Roll, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie are my idols for many reasons, including marketing, songwriting and showmanship.
I would love to work with Beyonce, Neon Trees, Jason Derulo and The Chainsmokers. In Pop I am heavily inspired by Lana Del Rey, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
I hope to empower people through my music. I am a very positive person and I turned the most traumatic moment in my life into something beautiful which is my “Headlights” music video and the choice to continue down the correct path. The message I would love to convey is no matter how tough life can be, try to remain hopeful. I’ve had my heart broken by many partners, I’ve experienced the loss of a parent and rejection in my music career but I still remain hopeful about everything. It keeps me breathing and without hope we have nothing.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started on this music path? Or even to a high schooler who is thinking of becoming a singer full-time when they are older?
I have so much advice to give! Things I wish I knew growing up. Firstly, practice and write and hone your craft as often as you can. Secondly, devote time each day to social media presence and being active as it’s a big numbers game in this era and thirdly, be persistent. If someone says no, follow up again when you have new music and new art. A lot of times it’s all about timing. So if it’s a no now, it may be a yes later.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Be proactive, do whatever it is that feeds your soul and let people know how much you love them everyday. I just want to thank anyone who has taken the time to listen to my music, or like an instagram post or support me in any way. I was and am blessed to have the most incredible family who support and love me and they are the reason I am where I am today.
My EP “The African Bee” is available on Spotify, Itunes and all online music stores. Please follow me on Spotify to be notified of my monthly releases this year!
And please stay in touch with me on social media:
Thanks again for allowing me the chance to tell you my story, All Access!