Steve Umculo’s “Pretty Baby” is for anyone who has ever lost someone to violence

Steve Umculo was completing a 3 month internship in Nashville during the Route 91 Harvest Festival, which saw 58 killed when a man opened fire at the Jason Aldean concert.

In response to the wave of mourning which swept over the USA in the wake of the attack, he wrote “Pretty Baby” in the hope that these incidents will soon become a thing of the past.

The reality of unprecedented violence is blatantly obvious across South Africa and the world at large. Packaged in an anthemic folk box, the reality is equally hard-hitting.

“This wretched world has left its scar,” Umculo lilts as the song unfolds. Simple acoustics build upon quick-fingered guitar and sweeping rhythm – as fleeting layers of cello, piano and woolly synths interplay.

The video was a result of a lucky encounter while kicking back after a tour in KZN. Shot at the abandoned St Elmo’s Convent, it flicks through dilapidated scenes and crumbling ruins as Umculo addresses the camera.

It’s simple and hard-hitting and – even though it was written about a horrific incident that took place in America – innately African.

There’s an inborn sadness to the track, whether you know the backstory or not. It also begs the question: what is it about society which causes humans to act this way?

To celebrate the release of Pretty Baby, Steve will be playing a release party show on 31st August 2019 at The Pigeon House at Pirates Rugby Club, 25 Braeside Road, Greenside.

Tickets are R60 and available here.