Karma-Ann Swanepoel began her music career recording under the band moniker Henry Ate, with debut album Slap in the Face delivering number 1 singles “Just” and “Hey Mister”. From headlining festivals across the country to global tours, Karma rose to international fame, flying the flag as SA’s well-loved folk songstress. However a legal spat in 2007, which saw Karma suing Lil Wayne for sampling her track “Once” without permission, caused her to withdraw from the spotlight for a while.
Now, 10 years after her latest release, Karma is back, and let me just say, for all you nostalgic lovers of the dusty ’90s, “Hold On Me” doesn’t fall one bit short of Henry Ate’s hauntingly honest glory days.
Recorded in one take from her home studio, Karma’s “Hold On Me” fondly recalls a kind of soul crushing, Cranberries-esque vocal melody, underpinned by a tender guitar line that’s curiously waking. And, free from the pressure of deadlines and record companies, it’s a sound that seems to be taking on new-found energy that’s just as liberating for us listeners.
The accompanying video is equally vivid, with Karma centre-frame for the entire duration of the track, singing bare-faced, in brave vulnerability.
This really is a well-fashioned return by the ’90s icon, but whether Karma is giving us a taste of more to come, or simply indulging in what she does best, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.