By BRUCE DENNILL
Six years after her previous album, Rinel Day released a new song, Ek Het Opgestaan, a meaningful track that complements the positive theme of her new album, which shares that title.
“Influence” is a loaded, often misunderstood concept. An artist may sound similar to another but have no knowledge of them, or be a super-fan of someone whose output is completely different to their own. Who or what was the artist, album, song, era or scene that initially mapped out the road to you becoming a musician?
As a child I grew up with a lot of country music. My parents used to listen to a lot of Shania Twain, Don Williams, Alan Jackson, Lance James, Barbara Ray and others, so I grew up to love country music, which I incorporate the style into my own music. An artist who really influenced and inspired me was and still is Shania Twain. I love how she combined pop and country music. I love her humility and I love the amazing stories she tells through her songs. She is my ultimate role model.
Has that changed over the years? If so, how and why, and what are you currently exploring?
It hasn’t changed, but I definitely have added a few more role models to my list. I started going more into the country pop genre and have familiarised myself with artists like Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes and Maren Morris. I think each of their styles of music is unique and their life stories are incredible. They make music that really touches the soul, which is something I aspire to do.
Name one song you wish you’d written. What makes that song so important?
If I had to choose one song it would be Celine Dion’s I’m Alive. Even as I speak about this song, the memories come rolling in. This song has been my good luck song for many years. When we used to live in Richards Bay, I used to model. I won a few competitions, but nothing prepared me for the night I won Little Miss KZN. I’m Alive was the song I modelled to on that night. I was so young and didn’t expect to win in the overall categories against all the age groups. I know it sounds silly, but I swear that every time that song plays, something good happens.
In production and arrangement terms, what are facets of your music and the music you love most by others that you feel are crucially important in terms of creating the mood you’re after or supporting the message of your song?
The most crucial facet would be that my music needs to tell some kind of story, whether it be a party song or a love song. It is important for me to tell my listeners and fans more about me through my music, because music is such a personal form of communication. Each song I write is written through a life experience that I have maybe gone through or someone I know has gone through. It just makes it more personal.
Which aspects of your music do you prioritise? For you, would you rather have that your lyrics, your melodies, or your vocals or instrumental work are the most memorable parts of your songs?
This is a tricky but good question. I think it depends on what type of song I write. If I write a party-themed song, I would want my lyrics and melody to be memorable, because people who are partying want a song they can sing along to. If I write a more mellow song, I’ll hammer more on my lyrics, melody and vocals so that I can try and strum those heart strings and carry my message across in the right way.
What’s your favourite piece of gear?
My Shure SM58 microphone. I use it on every single performance. It is a microphone that I have always believed in and it suits my vocals well.
What is the story behind Ek Het Opgestaan – the genesis of the song, the people involved, the muse behind its creation?
It is a song that looks for faith, hope and love in any difficult situation. I wrote the song a year after my ex-husband and I separated. I had gone through such a dark and troubling time because I had to start all over again and do many things by myself. I had to find myself and get to know myself from scratch. In 2017, the Lord sent me the lyrics to the song and I wasn’t ready at the time to sing it, because I felt I wasn’t strong enough. Little did I know that that song would basically be how I would rise again. I found love again, I believe in myself and Lord even more than before, and my passion for music has reignited. I hope that anyone who hears this song will realise that they won’t be in that dark place forever and that they have the strength and courage to rise again.