If like me, you were glued to your screen this past Saturday watching some of our local artists, both deserving and some debatably not, collecting accolades of various titles as part of this year’s South African Music Awards(#SAMA27) you like me are likely to have been caught off guard when Keep It Together by Matthew Mole was announced as this year’s Record of the Year. Which led me to the questions, Who is Matthew Mole? and What is this song?
So let’s start with the former, Who is Matthew Mole? Surely the SAMA win was not just a fluke. What’s his story?
Well Matthew is a singer/songwriter based in Cape Town who at some point studied music production. Beyond that he is a multi-instrumentalist and somewhat a production genius if not least a production experimentalist as his live shows see him juggling guitar, synth, kick drum and triggered beats on stage. He is signed to the ever famous label Just Music who boast international artists such as Adele, Tyler The Creator and Jill Scott as well as local acts Karen Zoid, Dj Qness and at some point(possibly still) The Muffinz under their catalogue.
Matthew has been around for quite a while now with his career spanning about 10 years. He describes his approach to writing music as involving starting with a lyrical idea, rhythm or melody, and then recording different instruments and switching back and forth between them to build a finished song. His music Is Folktronica and inspired by Icelandic act Jónsi.
Matthew has three studio albums to his name, he has performed on some of the biggest stages in the country from Oppikoppi to Rocking the Daisies, you name it.
Away from music, Matthew is a campaigner for ocean protection within South African Marine Protected Areas even featuring in a powerful video around such. While still on that note nawe play your part and protect oceans hao, press here.
SAMA Record of the Year
Now back to the later question from before, remember that? “What is this song?”.
Well Keep It Together is a single first released in 2019 on the album Ghost and subsequently on the eponymous live album in 2020.
“Keep It Together is about facing up to a difficult season in your life and, rather than giving up, realizing the value in what you can take away from it by pushing through.”
As for the sound, Keep It Together captures you from the beginning, starting with the acoustic guitar sound followed by Matthew’s mellow sounding voice. The song is quite a sing-along, given the constant harmonies and easy sound of the chorus, I mean come on – oh oh oh oh oh oh. But beyond that it is lyrically time appropriate and somewhat inspirational as illustrated in the music video. An understandable fan favourite!
Is the SAMA win a fluke? Surprise, yes but Matthew’s latest SAMA win is definitely no fluke. It is important to note that he has several times before been nominated for major accolades in the once prestigious MK Awards as well as the aforementioned SAMAs. He was at some point the first South African artist to enter the iTunes SA chart at Number 1 on the first day of releasing his debut album while also seeing the number 1 spot again with his second album which features Keep It Together as a lead single.
Not only is Matthew a really talented musician but there is clear demand and audience (close to 150 thousand YouTube subscribers and 700 thousand Spotify monthly listeners.) for his work thus this latest accolade is not far fetched and if anything well deserved. Congratulations to Matthew!
The Cape Town music scene though? how is it mainstream but yet soo secluded? I love it! With that said do also check out Bad U by another Cape Town act Prince Keanan.