#MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with SA pop legend Cindy Alter

She’s a free spirit with clout. Music veteran Cindy Alter, best known as the voice of late 1970s pop band Clout, has an inspiring single out.

musicexchange rapid fire qa with sa pop legend cindy alter - #MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with SA pop legend Cindy Alter

Cindy Alter, best known as the voice of internationally acclaimed pop band Clout, is the Last One Standing. This is the title of a powerful single she has done a new recording of for the purposes of a new album that is also out now.  

Released earlier in February, Last One Standing is part of a definitive collection of her best-known songs from a career spanning more than 40 years. 

The album, Essential Collection – Last One Standing, features 15 songs covering her years with Clout and beyond. It also covers her time with Afro-pop band Zia, country duo Alter Irving and as one of South Africa’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters.

Cindy Alter one of SA’s top-selling artists

The single Last One Standing was written by Cindy Alter and produced by Matthew Fink for Just Music.

To date, Alter has sold more than 12 million units, making her one of the country’s biggest-selling artists of all time. 

The album, which is available on CD and in digital formats, also features remastered original recordings of the global chart-topping evergreens Substitute and Save Me. These songs have become standard fixtures on many 1970s compilations and playlists around the world. 

Zia track for a new audience

An exclusive track Waiting for The Winds (Woza Moya), from the Zia years, will appear for the first time in digital format, exposing music from this era in Alter’s career to a new audience.

“I was going through various press clippings and vinyls, and was amazed how much good material I had released over the years. I thought it would be a great idea to give my loyal fans a retrospect of some of the hits and my personal favourites,” Alter said. 

Cindy Alter a cancer survivor

Her music has helped her show enormous resilience through adverse times in her personal life. These include surviving stage-four leukaemia, and walking away from a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. 

She was also the victim of a rogue manager who left Clout virtually destitute upon their demise in the early 1980s.  

“Music found me and it has been my saving grace through some of the hardest times in my life. I am always touched by my fans telling me how the songs have inspired them.”

The South African catches up with Cindy Alter

cindyalter1 - #MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with SA pop legend Cindy Alter
Cindy Alter says music is her universe and her passion. Image: Supplied

The new decade means?

More time to get stuff done, yay!

Fame is about?

Giving you the means to put your work out there and people will take a listen.

Retirement will happen when?

When there’s nothing more to say.

I don’t do?

Avocados.

What does music mean to you?

It is my world, my universe, my passion.

My music is about?

Expressing something that hopefully matters to someone going through something and feels comforted, uplifted or just wants to dance!

I would love to co-write with?

Bruce Springsteen.

Where do you go for inspiration to create?

Inspiration for me comes from somewhere in the ether. I get a melody or lyrics in my head and boom, I’m inspired and I start something.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?

That I get to do what I love while making people feel good.

The song you must do in every show?

Substitute.

cindyalter5 - #MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with SA pop legend Cindy Alter
Cindy Alter is tenacious, funny and a little crazy. Image: Supplied

Any funny moments on stage?

Too many to mention, but I did get electrocuted once while singing Under Fire at a Clout concert in Germany. I finished the song and managed to let go of the mic stand that was touching a strobe light, sending around 500 volts into my body. I got off the stage and collapsed.

My heroes?

Wow, I love the truth speakers in the world. Marianne Williamson, Caroline Myss, people who speak for us when we can’t express ourselves.

My style icons?

Hahaha, well, I have a few. I loved [David] Bowie who was rather androgynous, a bit rock ‘n roll… left of centre. Also, Chrissy Hynde and Annie Lennox.

Which living person do you admire most and why?

That’s a tough one. If I say “me” it sounds weird, but I do admire myself the most because I’ve walked through the fire and come out burnt and scarred, but I never give up. I think that is admirable.

What is your most treasured possession?

Hmmm, maybe my first guitar. I still have it!

It’s your round: What are you drinking?

Tequila.

Dream gig to do?

Glastonbury.

What makes you stand out?

I am a free spirit, I’m approachable and I don’t pretend to be something I am not. That seems to resonate with people.

Nicknames?

Cindels, Cinderella, Syndol, Cinders.

If you were not a musician what would you do?

I wanted to be an FBI agent or a marine. Yep, true story.

Who would play you in a Hollywood blockbuster and why?

Gina Gershon. She has an edge to her and she can play any role — sensitive or strong.

Pick five words to describe yourself?

Tenacious, funny, peaceful, passionate, good, crazy.

cindyalter3 - #MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with SA pop legend Cindy Alter
The former Clout star is also a cancer survivor. Image: Supplied

Five favourite South African albums?

  • Lesley Rae Dowling – Lesley Rae Dowling
  • Hawk – Africa She Too Can Cry
  • Freshlyground – Nomvula
  • Just Jinger – All Comes Round
  • Lucky Dube – Slave

Greatest movie ever made?

It can’t be just one — I have lots and lots. The Sting, Apocalypse now, The Deer Hunter...

What are you reading?

How Not To Die, by Michael Greger MD.

What song changed your life? 

Let It Be, by The Beatles.

Who do you love?

I love those who love me.

What is your favourite word?

Discombobulated.

Favourite fashion item?

A great leather jacket – you can’t beat that.

Give us some real proper slang and what it means? 

I use a few Yiddish slang terms like nog-shlepper and yenta. I don’t know if they are valid here, but a nog-shlepper is someone who kind of insinuates himself or herself into your life and tags along,  invited or not! And a yenta is a gossip!

Top of your bucket list?

Kayaking in Alaska.

Your greatest achievement?

Surviving leukaemia.

What do you complain about most often?

The way people drive and have no care for the rules of the road.

What is your fear?

My fear is that I don’t do enough and that I waste precious time.

Happiness is?

A good massage.

On stage I tend to?

Become my truest self.

The best life lesson you have been taught?

“When people show you who they are, believe them” – Maya Angelou

Do you get worked up while watching a sports game on TV?

I’m not a huge sports fan, but I get right in if I do watch something.

cindyalter2 - #MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with SA pop legend Cindy Alter
Alter says she becomes the truest version of herself when she is on stage. Image: Supplied

Where would you like to be right now?

At an ashram in India. 

Do you do charity work? If yes, what do you do?

I support various cancer charities.

Wishes and dreams?

To sustain my health and voice so I can continue to do what I love until I absolutely cannot go on. And possibly to see peace in our world.

Follow Cindy Alter on Facebook (Cindy Alter Live Entertainment or Cindy Alter) and Instagram (@cindy_alter) or visit cindyalter.com. Her new album can be downloaded and/or streamed here.

ALSO READ:

#MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with indie sensations Year of Dogs

#MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with firebrand activist-singer Amy Tjasink

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *