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Cara Frew: Ready to ascend SA’s dance-pop throne

The singer-songwriter chats influences, working in L.A. and her milestone career moment.

13 Feb 2018 / Interview / written by Tecla Ciolfi

Cara Frew’s career trajectory reads somewhat like a fairytale; student of the Malie Kelly Vocal Academy, an EP co-written with Stefan Skarbek (renown Amy Winehouse collaborator), a collaboration with Black Coffee which spawned the first single off his 2015 album and performances at Ultra Festival Miami, Singapore and South Africa.

Regardless of the fact that Frew has spent a bit more time in America as of late, she still has her sights set firmly on ascending the thrown as SA’s new dance-pop queen. Her debut album “Flame” is testament to this fact, one listen to the expertly engineered ‘You Got Me’ (SNBRN & BLU J Remix) and house-rooted ‘Free’ (Divine Brothers Remix) and it’s very clear that there is a solid plan in place to spread her music far beyond that of radio reach.

Tecla Ciolfi: How does it feel to finally release your debut album after this extended period of time and hard work?

Cara Frew: It’s very exciting! I started writing “Flame” in April of 2016 so it has been a long time coming… but well worth the journey.

TC: This record seems like it comes from quite a personal place, how important is it for you to feel a personal connection with a song?

CF: Music is personal to me because I write all my own material and am very involved in the process from production through to release. Although music is my career, it’s also my passion and so in order for me to keep loving it I need to be excited and personally connected to everything I do.

TC: Explain the writing and recording process in LA. How different is the working environment in America versus back home in South Africa?

CF: My studio time in LA was very structured, based on hours and a little bit more pressured but extremely professional and I loved every moment. I learnt so much, met and worked with incredible talents and walked away with an album I am proud of.

TC: The album artwork is quite striking and vibrant, who’s creative vision was that and how easy was it to bring to life.

CF: I wanted my artwork to be bold and vibrant to represent the fun, exciting aspect of my music. It was a fun process from the shoot to the final artwork, lots of hours planning and designing.

TC: What’s been a milestone career moment for you up to this point?

CF: Definitely performing at Coachella with US based DJ SNBRN in the Saharah tent in front of 15 000 people.

TC: You’ve been afforded the opportunity to work with some serious heavyweight writers and producers. Who have been some of your musical influences over the years?

CF: My most recent influence has been Julia Michaels, she’s an incredible singer songwriter – check her out if you haven’t already! [Ed’s note: I’ve got issues so I’ve definitely checked her out]

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Read our review of Cara Frew’s “Flame”.