Some of the world’s most creative and inspired voices take a little while longer to mature, percolate and surge to the fore. Thirty-four-year-old vocal master Selim Kagee is one such case in point who’s stepped forward with his debut album Cry For Love (Piango D’Amore). His stellar 12-track EMI Music debut into a world of contemporary classics has been a work and dream that has been evolving over the past 20 years for the Cape Town born-and-raised musician.
“I’ve always had a great desire to perform, act and express my creative side,” Kagee admits. After an impromptu audition at Kagee’s graphic design business last year, respected songwriter and producer Clive Ridgway heard the marketability of his voice, and before long the two embarked on a journey that culminated in EMI Music signing Kagee to the international label. The title track and first single from Cry For Love (Piango D’Amore) released to radio in April was a collaboration between Clive Ridgway and Kagee and, as an introduction, the beautifully written and recorded original does well in setting the mood for what now follows on the full-length album. “Ave Maria” and Kagee’s take on Joe Cocker’s 1974 hit single “You Are So Beautiful” are another two fine examples of what happens when you add a great voice to equally respectful arrangements.
As the only one of his kind in the country Selim Kagee’s debut album includes original music co-written with Clive Ridgway. Add in the Cape Town POPS orchestra and a selection of carefully chosen tracks, originally written and performed by the likes of Richard Marx (“Right Here Waiting For You”), Franz Schubert (Ave Maria), Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody (“Chasing Cars” (Trova Noi)) and Ennio Morricone (“La Califfa”). The eclectic mix of original compositions peppered with pop, classical and cinematic influences all give Kagee’s voice the opportunity to introduce its versatility and diverse range while enticing listeners and fans of quality music.
Readied with 12 beautifully produced songs, Cry For Love (Piango D’Amore) plays out as a journey of self-discovery, and with it a platform from which this major label initiate has now launched his formal career in music. Part Borcelli, a smidgen of Groban, with a slice of Pavarotti and a bead of Bublé – Kagee is fast putting his inimitable signature on a sound the world continues to love and support. Only now, thanks to his remarkable ability, it is coming straight out of Africa.