Sound Bites: Cindy Alter

Cindy Alter, formerly of hit South African all-girl band Clout, is not a fan of modern hip-hop and rap.

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BILLY SUTER with an occasional column in which he chats to popular musicians about their musical likes and dislikes. The spotlight is on Johannesburg-born CINDY ALTER, lead singer and guitarist with former all-female South African rock group Clout, whose hits include Substitute, Save Me, You’ve Got All of Me, Under Fire and Portable Radio.
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Latest news from you (gigs, album, TV appearances etc)? 

I am currently still doing solo shows, as well as some Clout shows for our 40th anniversary tour. I will also be recording some new songs in the next few months.

What is your favourite song right now?

I am loving anything by Ed Sheeran.

The last album you bought?

I bought Human by Rag and Bon Masn. Very powerful stuff – a soulful voice and fantastic songs.

Two of your favourite songs of all time?

Fire and Rain by James Taylor and The Police’s Evry Breath You Take.

Three of the finest albums ever ?

Steely Dan’s Aja (pure musical genius), Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (the writing on every song is superb) and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (every minute of that album is iconic).

Song you hate the most right now?

Most ‘pop’ songs on the airwaves are horrendous.

Worst song in history?

Break on Through by The Doors.

Song you most associate with your teens?

Anything by Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Carole King and Cat Stevens.

Song you most associate with your early childhood years?

I really don’t remember my early childhood that well.

The size of your music collection and the artists represented most there?

I have about 300 vinyls and about 200 CDs. I lost a lot of my collection when I moved back to South Africa after years living in Los Angeles.

Cover of an early Clout album. Cindy Alter is on the right.

Favourite radio station and DJ?

I do like Mix FM, and Kerry-Anne Allerston.

The local artists you most admire?

Denholm Harding from Just Jinjer. Also, Monark.

Artists from abroad that you most admire?

Abba, Barbra Streisand and the Bee Gees.

Most over-rated people in the recording business?

Ariana Grande and such-like.

Pet hate/s about the music scene in South Africa?

The sense of self-importance from artists who have no track record.

The one music act you would give the world to see perform live?

Rolling Stones.

Ever asked a music personality for an autograph?

Nope.

Music acts you have seen live and loved?

Sting, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and James Brown.

Best singing star ever?

Tough choice. I have a few favourites… among them Ann Wilson from Heart, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson.

The greatest musician of all time?

Impossible to say. There are simply too many great musicians.

Best band in history?

Again, I cannot choose, too many choices. Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band, the Eagles… the list goes on.

 What styles of music do you most enjoy – and least enjoy?

I love modern country, good hard-rock and old-school R&B. Also, soft, jazzy rock like that from Herbie Hancock, Boz Scaggs and Gino Vannelli. I do not love most of the hip-hop and rap around today.

The most embarrassing artist represented in your music collection – and why is it there?

I can’t think of one.

The one song that will always be guaranteed to get you on to a dancefloor?

Staying Alive by the Bee Gees.

Cindy Alter… always smiles when she hears YMCA by Village People.

Your choice of karaoke song?

Simply the Best by Tina Turner is always a great crowd-pleaser.

The first song you ever performed for an audience?

I honestly don’t remember. I was about two years old. 

Guilty pleasure: a song you really feel you shouldn’t enjoy, but secretly do?

YMCA by Village People. It reminds me of a great time in my life, and always makes me smile.

Worst decade for music?

Perhaps 2000 to 2010.

Hottest-looking celeb?

Oh boy, there are quite a few. But Jon Bon Jovi is still very hot!

Instruments you can play?

Guitar, ukelele and a teeny bit of piano.

The song you find the saddest?

All Cried Out by Alison Moyet. It reminds me of a very hard time in my life, and brings me to tears every time I hear it.

 Two dead icons you’d most like to invite to dinner?

David Bowie and Elvis Presley.

The song you’d like to be played at your funeral?

(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, because I have.


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