Lindiwe Suttle – singer, songwriter and model – in interview
(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)
Lindiwe Suttle ist eine US-amerikanische und südafrikanische Bürgerin, die einen äußerst bunten Werdegang vorzeigen kann. Die Stylistin arbeitete anfänglich mit mehreren Superstars wie Beyoncé and Ciara zusammen. Ihre Arbeit war durchaus herausfordernd – sagt sie – da nicht viele VIPs ihre Person in punkto Make-up und Haare verändern woll(t)en. Denn Styling kann letztendlich als Kritik zum eigenen Stil aufgefasst werden. Und dennoch verspürte die Tochter einer südafrikanischen Mutter den Drang nach kreativer Selbstverwirklichung. Sie arbeitete einige Jahre im US-Modemarketing, kündigte ihren Job und wanderte nach Kapstadt aus, wo sie den Modeeinkauf ausübte. Im Anschluss lebte sie im Rahmen einer Beziehung in Hamburg, welche zerbrach. Diesen Schmerz verarbeitete sie in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Produzenten Benni Dernhoff auf künstlerischer Weise – beginnend als Leadsängerin der Jazz-Hip-Hop-Band „The Collective Imagination“, dann mit Unterstützung des Düsseldorfer Rockmusikers Marius Müller-Westernhagen als Solokünstlerin.
Mittlerweile konnte sich Lindiwe Suttle – eine Powerfrau mit afrikanischen Werten und amerikanischer Prägung – als Sängerin, Songwriterin, Artistin und Model etablieren. Vor allem die Musik, welche sie seit 2007 professionell betreibt, bedeutet ihr sehr viel. Diese bezeichnet sie als „Kern für alles“. In bekannten Magazinen wie Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan oder GQ wurde Suttle abgebildet. Genauso warb sie für die Marke Frazer Parfum, worüber sie sehr glücklich ist. Lindiwe Suttle betont, dass sie eine große Bindung zu ihrer südafrikanischen Heimat hat. Dementsprechend kooperiert sie bewusst mit südafrikanischen Designern wie Lara Klawikowski, Kutloano Molokomme und Cleo Droomer. Auf diesem Wege trägt sie zur Internationalisierung der südafrikanischen Fashionszene bei. Auf die Frage hin, wie man die gesellschaftspolitischen Probleme Südafrikas angehen sollte, beantwortet die Sängerin diese mit einem Angebot an guter Bildung. Für 2012 steckt sich Lindiwe Suttle große Ziele, nämlich die weltweite Aufführung von mindestens 40 Shows zu ihrem Debütalbum Kamikaze Art.
Lindiwe Suttle’s „MAN MADE MOON“ (debut single)
2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ – the German Gateway to South Africa – Ms. Lindiwe Suttle, model and singer. May you please inform the readers where you come from and where you are based at the moment?
Answer: I was born and raised in USA to a South African Mother and an American Father. I was raised with traditional African values in a very American surrounding. I lived a very different lifestyle than my American friends. My mother taught me the values she learned from her grandparents.
I have lived in Cape Town in South Africa for the past nine years. Cape Town is an important city to me and I consider it my home. It is dear to my heart because this is where I launched my music career, which is significant in my life.
2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You worked in the fashion industry with superstars like Beyoncé and Ciara. Which moment has changed your mind to switch over into self-expression?
Answer: Being a stylist is a hard job. At the time many films were coming to Atlanta, my hometown. I was lucky singer Beyonce was the first big star I worked with, she was kind and humble to me even with all my beginner mistakes. I worked with other celebrities after her that were a little less forgiving.
The job of a stylist is challenging because everyone thinks they have great style. A makeup artist or hair stylist is seen to have a professional skill but style goes deeper it touches ones character. Not many people are open to changing their personal style like they would a hairstyle or wearing a different shade of lipstick. Style suggestions are more personal, almost like a criticism to their character. In the end, I realized I excelled best at expressing my own personal style. I use fashion on stage in my theatrical shows, elaborately styled music videos and photo shoots. I love playing with fashion, it’s an expression of all my characters. The music is the core of everything and everything else is just extra to make it more visual.
2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are known as model, especially in South Africa. Magazines like Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan or GQ have reported about you. What does the South African fashion style represent?
Answer: I have been lucky to model for brands like face of Frazer Parfum and I was the face of the Woolworths beauty campaign. I never took the job as a model serious till I was in front of the camera. I give respect to models, it’s a tough job knowing the right angels for your face.
There is an abundance of talent in South Africa. The challenge now is getting the designers international exposure. I have been a big supporter of local talent since I have lived here. I credit them for getting my into Vogue Italy and helping me win style awards like Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year – Style Icon and the 2010 SA Style Award. I have a great relationship with many South African designers, Lara Klawikowski, Kutloano Molokomme, Cleo Droomer all create costumes for my shows.
2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Additionally to your model job, you are performing as singer. Isn´t it an unusually combination? How could you combine both professions?
Answer: I have been a singer, songwriter and performance artist since I began my music career in 2007. I started out in business and after my MBA I worked in the fashion industry in fashion marketing, merchandising and eventually styling celebrities. I moved out of the entertainment business and moved to SA wanting to focus on my own goals. I worked in fashion buying in Cape Town for a couple of years and I learned a lot about the retail but felt too restricted in the corporate environment. I quit my job and that was when I found music again.
2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We took notice, that are you in contact with Germans in artistic matters. Which impression do you have of Germany?
Answer: After I quit my corporate job I moved to Hamburg Germany for a relationship that eventually went bad. This relationship was a catalyst for me to starting writing lyrics all inspired by this love gone wrong. I worked in studio for the first time with Hamburg producer Benni Dernhoff. We created me first demo that I took to SA. I auditioned as lead singer of The Collective Imagination, a jazz-hip-hop band and performed for one and half year with them. I launched my solo career end of 2009. I was discovered by German legend, Marius Mueller-Westernhagen and his wife Romney. They have been my big support in my music career. One year later, Marius connected me with Tim Renner and Motor Music, my management company. Motor Music introduced me to producer, Ivan Georgiev. Ivan and I worked on my debut album, Kamikaze Art all of 2011.
Lindiwe Suttle and the jazz-hip-hop band „The Collective Imagination“
2010sdafrika-editorial staff: South Africa is in German media mostly in context with negative headlines. Which are the biggest problems of this young democracy and what should politics and society do?
Answer: I think it is important to redesigning the current educational system to better prepare our youth for a prosperous future in the global market. I would love to build a free skills training school in each community for all ages. There would be a variety of free classes offered like leadership classes for adults, arts for children, cooking, and sports. I think a good education is the first step to a better South Africa.
2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which dreams in private and professional view would you like to realize?
Answer: My biggest goal in my life is to stay healthy and happy without these two things nothing else can happen in your life. In music, I want to perform worldwide and tour my debut album, Kamikaze Art. My goal is perform at least 40 shows in 2012. I want to take Kamikaze Art to audiences around the world and have them experience my live shows with me. My music comes from the heart and I feel it is the most open and honest I have been about the experiences in my life.
2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Lindiwe Suttle, model and singer, thank you very much for this interview.