“I love Emile Minnie! He’s this
fabulous Afrikaans musician”. – Emile Minnie

Afrikaans musician Emile Minnie kicked off his disco themed show at the 2011 Pink Loerie by confiding to his audience: ‘Toe ek ‘n tiener was, toe ontdek ek vir ABBA …’

He then proceeded to deftly tickle his keyboard seamlessly through 40 years of hot dance hits – from divas Donna Summer and Eartha Kitt, to updated remixes of Britney Spears and Madonna – and finally ending on a high-energy Lady Gaga tribute.

Yngve Sjolund got to know the Cape Town-based International Songwriting Competition finalist and KKNK Kanna Award nominee…

You say at the end of your new Disco show that ‘Born This Way’ by Lady Gaga is the ‘soundtrack for the Pink Loeries’. What’s on your playlist, what is Emile Minnie listening to right now?

I’m listening to a lot of ‘The Best Of Pink right now. Hierdie meisie het ek laat in my lewe ondek en ek is heeltemal mal oor haar musiek. Ek het van die ou goed soos hierdie ‘I Don’t Wanna Be A Stupid Girl’ – dit het ek nou eers ondek, en dis vir my die mooiste musiek. En Kylie se nuwe CD natuurlik, en dan ‘n paar ou gunstellinge soos Tori Amos kom nog ‘n bietjie deur, ek het ook ‘The Best of Whitney Houston’ op my speler – so ek het nou rerig ‘n kombinasie…

Do you have an iPod?

No – I don’t have one. But I have a CD player!

Wat is jou guilty pleasure? Waarna luister jy as jy alleen is en jy weet niemand luister nie?

Neil Diamond. Ek hou baie van sy melodie en sy lyrieke is baie mooi. “Song, Sung Blue” is vir my baie mooi, maar ek sal dit nooit live doen nie – ek sal maar net in die stilte van my kamertjie luister.

If you could pick three songs for the “Emile Minnie – The Soundtrack Of My Life”, which three songs would you pick?

Ek hou baie van die liedjie ‘Fame’, daai is vir my ‘n beautiful song. En vir song nommer twee is dit anything by ABBA. Song number three: ‘Go West’ by the Pet Shop Boys.

Bonus track?

I’ve made five albums now in Afrikaans. My Bonus track would be one of those songs – because I wrote them.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?

Annelie Van Rooyen! She was wearing purple, different shades of purple – en ek was so oorweldig to ek haar ontmoet. I went over to her and said: “Hi Annelie, I’m Emile”. En toe net daar en dan begin ek huil – ek was so star struck, uitgefreak. En toe gee sy vir my ‘n drukkie op my skouer, en toe se sy vir my; “Pas jouself op”. Dit was so mooi!

Are you a big fan?

I used to be when I was a teenager, nie meer nie – maar daai tyd: grootste aanhanger!

What is the worst audience you’ve had to perform to?

I sang for an audience in Uniondale. They were very stiff … and my shows are all about audience interaction and I felt like I had to work hard to win them over and keep the energy up – so that was tough.

Watter liedjie herinner jou aan jou matriek jaar?

‘Happy New Year’ – ABBA.

What’s your ‘Coming Out’ song?

Pet Shop Boys – ‘Go West’.

Which song do you associate with falling in love?

It must’ve been Bonnie M, something like ‘Brown Girl In The Ring’.

And your ‘break up’ song?

Definitely Toni Braxton – ‘Unbreak My Heart’.

What is the first song you wrote and what was it about?

It was in Matric and it was about a girl and a guy having sex in a Volksie.

How old where you when you first recorded and mastered your first song?

I’m a songwriter and a performer – so I’m always writing and performing my own material. So the first song I recorded and mastered was one of my own songs.

I noticed you play the piano keyboard very well – which other instruments have you mastered?

I don’t think one ever masters an instrument but you can get to a level where you can hit the stage – and I feel I’m at that level on piano and clarinet.

You mentioned Annelie van Rooyen – who are your other favourite Afrikaans performers?

I love Emile Minnie! He’s this fabulous Afrikaans musician. I’m so self- indulgent – its’ not funny!

Music is seen as something that can bring people together, is that what attracted you to music?

It goes back to the corny saying: ‘music chooses you’. I’ve made a career out of it; making music is what makes me this happy in life.

You’re very energetic and lively on the stage, how do you stay in shape?

I’m a gym bunny, I always run, swim and play squash! And I don’t like alcohol.

In your show you emphasised: ‘Love Yourself’, embroider on that?

For any gay man – especially one who grew up with religion in the back of your head – self love and acceptance becomes difficult because you grow up with a God who doesn’t love you or the things you do. One gets a bit derailed from the self-love part and I think we all have a journey coming back to that – and bless the day when we do – because it’s such an amazing time when you do come back and finally accept and love yourself in a very tangible way. Being good to yourself and looking after yourself. So that last song is all about that.

Any words of wisdom for other gay men out there?

I think for all of us it’s important to look past the genitals and to look past the skin colour – and then we’ll have an easier life in society. Lighten up. That could be a good message to everyone.

Do you speak fluent French?

Yes I studied French at university and speak and sing in French, so it was a natural decision to include French songs in the show.

Why did you decide to produce a disco themed show for the 2011 Pink Loerie?

I was really keen to come and play – and I thought: let me put on something they’ll be able to connect to. With a universal gay theme that ‘Celebrates Life!’

For more info about Emile check out He will be performing at Beefcakes in Cape Town this coming Sunday – visit the Facebook event page for details.

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