First Listen: Byron Major – May Flower
Byron Major has achieved quite a lot for an artist in his early 20s -he’s performed his song ‘South Africa’ for Nelson Mandela’s Boston birthday celebration in 2013, shared a stage with Pavarotti for his farewell tour in South Africa as part of the Drakensberg Boys Choir and sang alongside Grammy Awards winning songwriter Paula Cole at a songwriting showcase at Berklee College of Music. His new single ‘May Flower’ is a funky and addictive soul track produced by multi-platinum selling producer Andy Whitmore in the Londoner Greystoke Studios.
Putting Byron Major’s music into a box is not going to work. While his style is certainly influenced by his early classical music training, Byron takes on elements from traditional South African music to Motown and 21st century electronica. His musical influences derive from artists such as Stevie Wonder, Prince and Marvin Gaye but his philosophy of musical variety is one that rejects categorizations. “My dream is for all of music to live under one umbrella, in one home. To me, genres in music is like racism in society”, he explains. He likes to describe his own sound as ‘soultronic’.
When Byron Major first saw Michael Jackson on TV at the age of five, the King of Pop had left such an impression on him that he soon decided to follow his lead and start working on his own career as entertainer and songwriter. At the age of nine, Byron nearly died in a car crash weeks before watching a concert of the Drakensberg Boys Choir. He watched the performance with his dad and it was then that he decided he’d want to join the choir. After a successful audition, his musical career progressed steadily. Byron remembers: “I started writing songs at the age of 12 years, and used my pocket money to have my songs recorded at a studio near my home. So when other kids were out playing and going to the movies, I stayed at home and wrote and produced songs.”At the sweet age of 17, he was already performing his songs on South African national television. The songsmith has perfected his art during a degree at the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, which has fostered the careers of alumni such as Steve Vai and John Mayer. In 2015, Byron Major’s music was playlisted on 21 radio stations across South Africa, including five digital stations in the UK.
His upcoming single ‘May Flower’ was part of a series of EPs he released during his time at Berklee. The song speaks about the push and pull that lovers experience in a passionate relationship. As someone who has never had a relationship, Byron Major draws his songwriting inspiration from reflecting other people’s relationships and reflects on life in general.
The single ‘May Flower’ is out on 15th April 2016.