Freshlyground's Zolani Uses Thundafund To Crowdsource New Creative Collaboration

This summer, South Africa's most celebrated music superstars, Zolani Mahola, lead singer of Freshlyground, and Dom and Dave from Goldfish will be co-producing a track which will see the coming together of two epic sounds in one explosive mega-hit. Zolani x Goldfish is a collaboration track that will come out of San Diego in the summer of 2018/2019.

In a unique and creative move, the Zolani x Goldfish team have launched a crowdfunding campaign via SA startup Thundafund to raise money in order for Zolani to explore a solo project in 2019.


Fred Roed, CEO of Heavy Chef, spoke to Zolani about the project.

“The funds we raise will take us to the US for the collaboration and then into Africa to meet and play with other music legends on the continent,” says Zolani.

“My team and i have created awesome incentives you can buy that will help fund the project. These are items you will never be able to get your hands on again, all unique to the project and once in a lifetime. “

Earlier this year, Zolani, Dom and Dave came together on the realisation of a long time desire to explore a collaboration. They met in Dom's Southern Suburbs apartment in Cape Town, still exactly how he left it when he jetted for the States, littered with surf boardbags and ancient photographs of the duo.

The only working appliance? A coffee machine and a box full of Portuguese coffee capsules, these three Global music phenomenons got to work, catching up lost time, and discussing a new sound that they are all yet to uncover.

The collaboration tracks will be the result of a 5 day jam session in San Diego, a destination Dom and Dave now call home.

In order to travel to the US to record, Zolani and her project manager would need to raise R190 000 to be able to concentrate on the creative collaboration, and to roll out the full spectrum of incentives.

“The largest costs being flights, accommodation, VISAs and Studio/Tech, the budgeting and sourcing of which will be done through a project management company so that we stay on track and are accountable to the people who got us there” said Zolani’s Project Manager.

“If we were to be so lucky as to overshoot the milestone amount,” continued Zolani’s Project Manager, over coffee at The Yard in Cape Town’s Waterfront Silo District, “additional funds raised through this project will be invested to facilitate Zolani's solo project further as she hopes to explore other collaborations with various artists abroad and on the African Continent.”

Zolani was born in the early 80's and is a pure product of the music of the day: Lucky Dube, Madonna, Mahlatini and the Mahotella Queens, The Manhattans, Dolly Parton, Stimela, Stevie Wonder and, yes, Roxette.

Zolani says: “It was all a impure mashup of stuff that made my ears perk up and caused my heart to sing. The co-existing contradictions continued in the Catholic hymns I absorbed at school and the traditional Xhosa rhythms and harmonies I learned at the ceremonies at home on the weekends.”

“I loved to be onstage at an early age, discovering a place where my soul shone - at plays and eisteddfods and eventually onstage at music venues in my early days at Uni in Cape Town. While I was studying a degree in theatre and performance I met three guys with whom I would develop a ska-punk-rock band called Tropikill. A year later I was fired for absenteeism and generally being too stoned to show up at rehearsal and for missing a gig or two!”

“A year later I joined a group of musicians who were beginning to form the band Freshlyground.”

Sixteen years later Freshlyground has visited nearly every continent and has played with such legends as Johnny Clegg, Vusi Mahlasela, Oliver Mtukudzi - as well as been onstage with idols such as Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.

Zolani continues: “We have opened stages for BB King - total highlight - to Robbie Williams - highlight in a different way! I've realized dreams I never knew I had and I've reached lows I never knew I would but it’s been amazing. I can't complain because after nearly two decades, several accolades, incredible concerts - including being part of Waka Waka at the SA World Cup in 2010 - and seven albums later; I can say I'm still doing what I love. Worlds collide and stars align!”

Goldfish too, have climbed some of the biggest heights in South Africa’s creative landscape. The band is made up of Dominic Peters and David Poole.

Dom’s music and creative career began at age 6, colouring in the notes on the family piano because he could ‘hear the colours.’ Mum wasn’t quite as impressed, but enrolled him in piano lessons none the less. His first actual electronic keyboard followed a few years later, and after a brief and regrettable “Roxette” phase, Dom discovered Jazz and never looked back, coupling a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance from UCT and a busy session musician schedule on piano, keyboards and double bass.

The beginnings of the idea of an electronic project began when he began programming tracks to take to band practice, frustrated that he couldn't always verbalize what he was hearing inside his head to his band mates – and soon realized his passion for production.

Dave and Dom then hooked up on the concept of a live electronic duo on long trips to a regular Jazz gig. The name Goldfish came up when Dave joked about Dom’s legendary short term memory skills – able to remember vast amounts of irrelevant data, but clueless to where his car keys were. And thus began a match made in heaven. He is at his happiest surfing or making music.

Dave's musical journey began with a sadistic violin teacher at age 6. A bit later he was put in a room with wall-to-wall instruments and told pick one. It turned out to be a sax. Fast forward a few years and he did his first gig age 13 with his rock band (which eventually became Dorp).

After school he went to study Jazz at UCT, this is where he met his long time studio partner Emagics Logic (Audio recording and sequencing software). In the studio with Dorp he spent more time behind the desk than in front of it.

All along the way, James Brown and Jamiroquai had been infiltrating their way into his music in-between all the jazz and rock. This combined with his prolific Jazz band Breakfast Included eventually led to him and Dom joining forces in this Electronic/live Duo. With Goldfish Dom and Dave get to explore the dark depths of electronic music production more extensively to create genre-bending music.

The campaign

Zolani’s campaign has gone off to a rollicking start, and promises to be a highlight in SA’s crowdfunding history. Heavy Chef community members who would like to be a part of this historical project can get in on the action by contributing just small amounts of money.

The incentives include:

  • Personal Voice Note ShoutOut and Digital Download Pre-Order the track and receive the digital download link a month before the official release + a voice note from Zolani thanking you personally in song.

  • Music Mentoring: Nominate yourself or someone you know to be mentored personally by Zolani on their music and songwriting. This will be done in 2 x 2 hour sessions

  • Private Performance Zolani + backing acoustic Musician. Private Set 1,5 hour (Home or Corporate)

  • LIVE Studio Listening Session LIVE listening sessions via Skype when working on track with Goldfish in San Diego+ digital download link a month before the official release + Signed Photo by Zolani

  • Lecture/Workshop/Performance

  • As an entrepreneur in the music industry, one of the most challenging business environments in the world, Zolani is offering a tailored talk to an audience of knowledge-hungry startups and/or interested Investors. The talk will contextualise Zolani’s influences over the span of her career and detail the journey of this project. She will explain how and why they chose a crowdfunding platform, the wins, losses and learnings, and ultimately the successful outcome of this project that we are confident they will achieve. This will be followed by a 45-minute live performance by Zolani and, of course, a showcase of the Goldfish track that comes out of San Diego this summer.

Check out the project link here: