South Africa, and specifically Cape Town, clearly only has good things in store for Berlin artist, Lui Hill. Little did he know after life dealt him a bad hand that not only was destiny playing a pleasing twist of fate on him, but also on South Africa’s very own artist, Khofhi The King.
Lui first headed to South Africa after he was caught in the grip of a lengthy period of misfortune; helpless as a long-term relationship fell apart, crippled by the disappointment after a record deal had swiftly turned sour, and the unexpected passing of his father, who Lui was very close to.
“I wasn’t running away from my problems as they follow you no matter where you go. Travelling just helps you to get to know yourself better, creates distance and gets you closer to the core of things,” he says.
It was while Hill was in Cape Town that he first met Tobias Herder of Filter Music Group, who had flown to the Mother City to sign another act. Tobias instead returned to Berlin with Lui’s signature, whereafter things started to fall in place for him finally.
But that was not the only pre-destined chance meeting that the universe had planned for Lui. While walking through the Company’s Gardens, he heard a magnificent artist that blew him away, which he would later learn would in fact be SA’s very own Khofhi The King of Gugulethu.
Lui finally meets Khofhi as destiny planned
Lui left for Berlin to passionately pursue his music career further, achieving great success abroad, but returned to Cape Town a year later for another visit. “While I was back, I naturally ended up at the V&A Waterfront at some stage. And low and behold, I once again heard the incredible musician that I heard the year before. I knew I just had to meet him this time. I introduced myself to Khofhi, we started talking, which led to a collaboration that would change both our lives forever. Together, we wrote and recorded the song, Rusty Strings which we’re incredibly excited about to release as a single internationally,” Lui regales.
Best of all, Khofhi The King now shares in 50% of all royalties earned by Rusty Strings. Berlin married South Africa once again as half of the music video for the song was filmed locally, and the rest in Lui’s country of residence. He enthuses: “All footage was taken with a mobile phone. It was freakin’ cold and grey in Berlin while I was shooting my part, while it was warm and sunny in Cape Town where Khofhi was shooting. I love the fact that it’s very DIY – shot in two places that can’t be more different.
“I was looking for places in Berlin that reminded me of Africa in a very naive way – standing in front of jungle wallpaper, sitting in front of an aquarium, walking around with a lion’s mask…we didn’t want the video to be too serious.”
The end result of the video can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wRsmXv05jU&feature=youtu.be.
The story behind “Rusty Strings”
Talking about the single, Rusty Strings, Lui recalls: “Khofhi told me about what he was like and what his life was like growing up – going to parties as a DJ, staying up late and getting drunk – just like most of his teenage friends from Gugulethu. He was causing some trouble and made his mother worry a lot. Unfortunately, she became very ill and passed away when he was 16. His verses in Rusty Strings are a dialogue between him and his mother. You’ll however have to listen to the song to find out what he has to say.”
So were there any clashes with cultural differences while collaborating? Lui answers: “For sure we’re from two completely different cultures and backgrounds, but when you’re in a creative process, music becomes the universal language and differences doesn’t matter. I was just fascinated by Khofhi’s style of rapping and singing – he’s honesty and pure expression is remarkable. Nothing was planned and it was a spontaneous vibe and we both tuned in pretty immediately. We wrote the song together and recorded it right away.”
Getting to know Cape Town’s adopted child, Lui Hill
Lui (39), born and raised in Darmstadt in Germany, says that he is an art lover in general as he “admires people and their ability to express themselves without words – no matter if it’s through painting, dancing or writing music”. Describing himself, Lui says that he would not label himself as shy, but he is a quiet guy who only speaks when it is necessary.
“My philosophy in life is to stick to your dreams and remain a dreamer. You can only be successful in doing something you love and feel passionate about,” he adds.
He says that home for him now is where people respect him for who he is and he has the freedom to be himself.
Lui concludes by answering the pertinent question of why he came to Cape Town in the first place: “I actually didn’t choose South Africa. I had the opportunity to go on a tour with Tom James from the UK. Everything was last minute. I love these moments where life changing experiences suddenly appear and take you by the hand. South Africa was the initial spark for a new beginning in life and I’ll be eternally grateful for that.
”South Africa is an amazing place and there’s still so much more to discover as it’s such a big and diverse country. Besides the amazing nature, I think my fascination with SA has a lot to do with the people living here. I immediately felt at home because of everyone’s welcoming and heartwarming attitude. I love the fact that so many nationalities and cultures are gathered here. Thanks for your incredible gifts, South Africa!”
Rusty Strings, as well as Lui and Khofhi’s other music is available on all popular digital platforms, including Google Play and iTunes.
For more information, visit luihill.com.
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