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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Exploring the Musical Tapestry: A Journey with South African Artist Tian Nienaber, Exclusively On The Sound Café

Photo Credit: Jannes De Villiers, Moving North Media

In the eclectic world of music, where melodies echo stories and voices paint emotions, South African artist Tian Nienaber stands as a beacon of creativity and soulful expression. With each chord and lyric, he invites listeners on a journey through his life experiences and musical evolution. In this interview with The Sound Café, we delve into the enigmatic realm of Tian Nienaber's artistry, exploring the depths of his inspiration, his journey in the music industry, and the magnetic allure of his latest releases. Join us as we uncover the essence of Tian Nienaber's musical prowess and the rich tapestry of his sonic landscapes.


South African Singer-Songwriter Tian Nienaber is set to captivate audiences once again with his compelling new single and accompanying music video, 'Knip die Tou' (meaning 'Cut the Cord'), available on all platforms on Friday 1 March.


Delving into the complexities of relationships, the song resonates deeply as Nienaber shares personal experiences of feeling trapped in cycles of futile efforts to mend broken connections. This poignant narrative reflects on the realization that sometimes the most courageous act is to let go. Through his evocative lyrics and emotive melodies, Nienaber offers solace and insight to those navigating similar struggles. Prepare to be moved and enlightened by 'Knip die Tou' as testament to Nienaber's artistry and emotional depth.


Tian Nienaber comments that “’Knip die Tou’ deals with relationships where you just keep trying, even when things seem not to work out. I've been in a few relationships in the past where we would argue, break up, and then get back together. It seems like I'm trapped in a cycle where I keep encountering the same problems while trying to fix things that are obviously broken. It was something I struggled with for a while, trying to come to a conclusion of sorts. I've always had the belief that something must work out ... the classic "Love is enough" mindset. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Sometimes relationships aren't meant to last, and since you can't address the issue, it's best to break up rather than further damage your relationship. Expanding it beyond what's necessary ultimately causes more harm than good for all parties involved."

Stream 'Knip die Tou' and watch the Music Video available from 1 March on all platforms

Q: As a singer-songwriter in South Africa, could you take us on a journey through your evolution as a musician, starting from your early beginnings to where you stand today as a successful artist?


Tian: I believe, like many other South Africans, my love for music began with a love for family and people. Music was always present at social gatherings when I was a kid, and I still associate music with connecting people. The evolution of my music comes with personal growth and experience. As we learn more about ourselves, we're able to give and receive more through music.


Q: As someone new to your music, how would you describe your genre and style, and what sets your music apart from others in the industry?


Tian: I would describe it as a singer-songwriter, pop-rock vibe. What sets me apart is that every song I create tells a very personal story.


Q: Your discography includes releases in both English and Afrikaans, one of the eleven official languages in South Africa. How do you navigate between these languages in your music, and do you find one language allows you to express yourself more freely than the other?


Tian: Growing up speaking two languages was a gift. As a teenager, much of my writing was in Afrikaans because that was the language I spoke mostly at that stage. So, during that time of my life, my thoughts and experiences were expressed in Afrikaans. As I got older, much of my life transitioned into English. In the working world, most of my conversations were in English, so my experiences were expressed in English as well.


Q: Your latest single and music video, ‘Knip die Tou’ (meaning "Cut the Cord"), is set for release on March 1st. Can you delve into the inspiration behind this latest release and the story you aim to convey through it?


Tian: ‘Knip die Tou’ essentially speaks to the experience of being in relationships, both romantic and otherwise, where it becomes a struggle. It's about giving more of yourself to make things work, even when deep down you know it won't. This song is about learning that it’s okay to let go, acknowledging that all things come to an end, and finding peace in that realization.


Q: Growing up in South Africa, what were some of the early influences that shaped your love for music and ultimately led you to pursue it professionally?


Tian: My musical influences were diverse. I loved heavy metal as a child, but my first album was a Don Williams album. This eclectic mix of music showed me the various paths life could take. However, I found joy in storytelling through music, which ultimately led me to pursue a career as an artist.


Q: Before stepping into the spotlight as a performing artist, you worked behind the scenes in the music industry. How did that experience prepare you for your current role, and what lessons did you learn along the way?


Tian: Working behind the scenes taught me the value of hard work and humility, both of which are essential for success as a performing artist.


Q: Your voice is soulful and has a distinctive quality. How do you cultivate and maintain your unique vocal style, and how does it contribute to the overall mood of your music?


Tian: I don’t have a specific method for maintaining my vocal style; it's simply how my voice naturally sounds. I believe the depth in my music comes from the combination of my vocals and the lyrics, setting the mood for each song.


Q: While you've performed extensively in South Africa, you haven't yet ventured abroad for shows. Are there plans to expand your audience beyond South Africa, and what opportunities do you see for yourself on the international stage?


Tian: I would love the opportunity to tour internationally. The biggest reason for touring is to meet new people and hear their stories. This interaction is a significant part of learning and connecting with others.


Q: Can you provide insights into the music scene in South Africa and discuss how you navigate within it as an indie alternative singer-songwriter? What unique elements do you bring to the scene, and what contributions do you hope to make as an artist?


Tian: In the South African music scene, I prioritize professionalism and consistency. I always strive to deliver my best work and stay true to my artistic vision. I believe that being authentic as an artist is crucial, and I aim to contribute to the scene by bringing honesty and sincerity to my music.


Q: You've received recognition for your music outside of South Africa, including winning the US Banger Music Award for 'Best Solo Artist 2021’. How do you perceive success in your career, and what goals do you still hope to achieve?


Tian: For me, success means being financially sustainable through my music. My goals include releasing an EP and receiving a nomination for a SAMA (South African Music Award).


Q: Can you share some insights into your songwriting process, from initial concept to final production? What themes or messages do you aim to convey through your music?


Tian: I always aim to write about topics that are difficult to discuss openly. My goal is to start conversations that might otherwise remain unspoken. I believe that communication is healing, and I strive to use my music as a tool for personal and societal growth.


Q: How do you prioritize self-care and maintain balance amidst the demands of a career in music, particularly during times of intense creativity or touring?


Tian: Self-care, for me, is about establishing a routine. Whether it's enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or staying connected with loved ones, I prioritize these small daily habits to ensure a good balance in my life.


Q: As an independent artist, what prompted your decision to remain independent, and how do you navigate the challenges of marketing and promoting your music without the backing of a major label? Can you share insights into the team you've built around you, and how they contribute to your success with their strong work ethic and support?


Tian: I chose to remain independent because I value creative control and enjoy doing things my way. Building a strong team around me has been essential for success. From copyright management to PR, each member of my team plays a crucial role in promoting my music effectively.


Q: Peering into the future, what exciting projects or collaborations are on the horizon for you? Can fans anticipate any international tours or performances soon?


Tian: I'm hoping to participate in a few international festivals this year. Additionally, I have several collaborations in various genres lined up, which I'm excited to share with my fans.



As we come to the end of our conversation with Tian Nienaber, we want to express our sincere appreciation for sharing your valuable insights and experiences with us. To all our readers, we highly encourage you to immerse yourselves in Tian's captivating music and journey by streaming his latest releases and connecting with him online. With each note, he continues to weave a tapestry of soulful melodies that resonate deeply. Keep the rhythm alive and stay tuned for more musical magic from this exceptionally talented artist.


Stream 'Knip die Tou' and watch the Music Video available from 1 March on all platforms


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More About Tian Nienaber:

Tian Nienaber is a South African indie alternative singer-songwriter who embarked on his musical journey in the industry at the age of 17, initially working as a sound engineer and rigger. Over the course of the first six years of his career, Tian dedicated himself to the road, accompanying numerous artists and contributing to various significant festivals. This period allowed him to immerse himself in the intricacies of the industry while forging invaluable relationships. Tian's passion for music, ignited at the age of 12 when he began playing guitar and writing songs, naturally led him to pursue a career as a performing artist, transitioning from behind-the-scenes work to the forefront of the music scene.


In the past seven years, Tian has established himself as a prominent figure in the indie alternative genre, showcasing his distinctive musical style on various platforms. He has graced the stages of renowned festivals such as 'Alternatief Is Groot,' 'Zeegunst,' and 'STRAB,' captivating audiences with his performances. Additionally, Tian has had the honour of sharing the stage with esteemed South African artists including Francois van Coke, Fokofpolisiekar, and Die Heuwels Fantasties. His talent has not gone unnoticed on television, with appearances on shows like 'Die Groot Ontbyt' (Kyknet) and 'Doodgewone Jo' with Jo Black (Via / DSTV).


In 2021, Tian Nienaber made waves with the release of his debut single and accompanying video, 'Hurting Love,' produced by Peach Van Pletzen at 'Planet Awesome.' The song garnered widespread acclaim, achieving chart success in South Africa and Australia, and earning Tian the prestigious Banger Music Award for 'Best Solo Artist 2021' in the United States. Building on this momentum, Tian followed up in 2022 with his sophomore single, 'Soldier On,' further solidifying his position in the music scene.


In 2023, Tian ventured into Afrikaans music with the release of 'Hemel Se Deur' ('Heaven’s Door'), which enjoyed chart success on various radio stations. Now, as he embarks on 2024, Tian's highly anticipated second Afrikaans single and video, 'Knip die Tou' ('Cut the Cord'), promises to continue his upward trajectory in the industry, offering listeners another powerful and introspective musical experience.


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