Swing City was borne of the love of swing music from three of South Africa’s most loved artists. A harmless side comment from one musician to another ended up in a serious discussion about producing a three piece singing group, backed by a full jazz orchestra and band, celebrating their love of jazz, swing and blues, but adding a modern day twist to the genre.
Swing City consists of Lonehill Estate’s Nathan Ro, whose love for swing music has always engrossed the pop/ rock singer’s iPod; Graeme Watkins, whose background in music and theatre started as a swing singer long before his success on Idols or in his indie rock band “The Graeme Watkins Project”; and Loyiso Bala, whose classically trained background in music saw the singer as part of the TZKee crew, the Bala brothers in classical song and in the pop world in his own successful career.
The three singers, already friends, jokingly commented what fun it would be to start a swing band. It would be years later, that they took the idea seriously, got into a rehearsal space with their friends from Figure of 8 productions and Swing City was born!
2014 Was a fresh start with Swing City teaming up with 6 time Naledi Nominee Bryan Schimmel as music director.”
2015 saw this dynamic trio take on recording their Debut Album “Well Swung”, this fresh album has been selling exceptionally well, fulfilling a major gap in the South African market. On the album, one can find collaborations featuring the likes of Lloyd Cele, Shoowop Shop and Chiano Sky. 2016 also launches exciting LIVE collaborative options featuring the guests that can be seen on the album
Graeme Watkins has always been involved with theatre, drama and music. After completing a degree in Theatre and Performance degree at UCT, he followed a career in music where he formed a Swing trio called “It’s a Swing Thing”.
Graeme took a chance by entering Idols, and ended up the runner up in the annual talent search. “The Graeme Watkins Project”, have since gone on to produce “Corridors of the mind” and have had several chart topping hits, 2 SAMA nomination, a YOU Spectacular and MKTV nomination and performed at the prestigious MuseXpo in Hollywood in 2012.
In an individual capacity Graeme was also a Fleur De Cap Nominee for Theatre.Graeme is also a voiceover artist, actor, TV presenter & MC
Nathan Ro started his musical journey as runner up on the reality TV show “Project Fame”. He was subsequently offered a record deal with BMG with his band LonehillEstate.
Three albums & a SAMA nomination later, the band achieved three #1’s on 5fm and two international performances in Los Angeles and Montreux.
Nathan also played the part of ‘Tim’ in day-time drama, IsiDingofor two years.
Nathan met Graeme while on tour, and met Loyisoon set at One Gospel.
Loyiso Bala is no stranger to the South African music and television industry. After completing his education at Drakensburg Boys High, and being very involved in the Drakensburg Boys Choir, Loyiso cured several chart topping hits including the most played song of 2009 –I Want You.
Loyiso is also part of the family group, The Bala Brothers, and is an all-round entertainer, MC and presenter.