…co-creator of Beautiful Creatures children’s music and book series.
‘One of the best compliments I received regarding the Beautiful Creatures albums was from parents when I’d drop my kids off at school – those were the days when you actually walked them into school and dropped them at their classrooms. I’d be chatting to the other parents and some would say, “We listen to it in the car on the way and we carry on listening to it even after we’ve dropped the kids”.’
‘The Beautiful Creatures books are all illustrated by Sandy Lightley. She’s a traditional illustrator. We met back in 2003/2004 and she came up with the visuals for Beautiful Creatures. Over time, and after creating seven albums, we asked if she’d be interested in working on the books. The first book was Mafutha the Elephant and Sandy literally hauled out her paintbrushes and hand-painted each panel. It takes a while; it really is a labour of love.
‘When children’s author Julia Donaldson (author of The Gruffalo) came out to South Africa earlier this year, Pan Macmillan (who handles the distribution for all the Beautiful Creatures products) asked if I’d get involved with the tour. So I co-produced the local events and did all the tech stuff and activations along with Pan Macmillan – I even ended up on stage MCing the shows! During all of this, I was inspired by Julia and wrote a new kiddies’ book. She’s very methodical when it comes to her writing style, whereas I write whatever comes to mind and then I work on formatting it afterwards. So with this book (which isn’t out yet!), I sat on the plane coming home from the tour and worked on the plot first and then fleshed out the rest.
‘I wrote my other book, Oliver’s Outline, back in 2008. I’d say it’s slightly autobiographical – Oliver has anxiety issues, he’s scared of things and doesn’t necessarily understand his anxiety. He goes on a journey of self-discovery and travels off on his own – eventually he returns home and looks at his reflection and sees his outline. So I wrote the book and shelved it. I moved to Cape Town and went through a divorce. It was a stressful process. I hauled out Oliver’s Outline and it became a metaphor for myself – I was on my own journey of reawakening, finding my own outline. The book isn’t only for kids; it’s for anyone who has anxiety issues.
‘In terms of Beautiful Creatures, Ed (Jordan) and I have written another album, but we’re waiting for the right time to release it. We’re also looking at doing more live shows, hopefully towards the end of this year or early next.’