Sound Bites: Dawn Selby

Dawn Selby with other members of Durban’s The Reals band. From left are Mali Sewell, Jason Andrew and Barry Thomson.

BILLY SUTER with an occasional column in which he chats to popular musicians about their musical likes and dislikes. The spotlight is on Durban singer, keyboardist and musical director DAWN SELBY of The Reals, who is soon to perform with fellow band members in Christmas Cracker. The show, featuring seasonal songs, carols and hits from shows performed this year by The Reals, is at Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre in Cunningham Road, Umbilo, at 8pm on December 14, 15, 21 and 22, with 2pm matinees on Sundays December 16 and 23, and Mondays December 17 and 24.. Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners and students with cards). Book at Computicket or phone Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.


Latest news for you?

We’re excited about our Christmas Crackers show. It also features singer-guitarist Barry Thomson, vocalist Marion Loudon, Andy Turrell on bass and Adrian Wilson on drums.

What is your favourite song right now?

Probably Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden which we performed in our recent British Invasion show. 

Two of your favourite songs of all time?

Two of my favourite songs are I’ll Be Over You by Toto and Difficult To Cure by Rainbow   .

Three of the finest albums ever – and why?

I enjoy live albums by artists who can ‘play it live’ without any electronic gimmicks. So Toto, Deep Purple, Supertramp…

Song you hate the most right now?

I feel that most songs have a place so don’t allow my personal taste to influence my preferences, whether teaching, arranging or performing a song.     

Song you most associate with your teens?

Easy Living by Uriah Heep.

Song you most associate with your early childhood years?

Tammy by Debbie Reynolds from the movie Tammy and the Bachelor. I know I’m giving away my age here but during a Cape Town holiday with my family, we watched the movie and I was so enthralled by the song, I wandered down the aisle of the movie house and sat as close as I could get to the screen, singing along with Debbie Reynolds.

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

I have a huge music collection of various artistes.

Favourite radio station and DJ?

I don’t enjoy the radio generally and choose what I want to hear.

The local artists you most admire?

Those who work hard!

Artists from abroad that you most admire?

Too many to mention.

Most over-rated people in the recording business?

Those who can’t perform their studio-recorded music live.

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

I miss the days when Durban had so many great venues where big bands could perform live. The music scene has degenerated over the past few decades and most musicians can’t survive financially, having to take on other, often non-music related work to survive. There is no longterm security in this industry and that is why I so appreciate all loyal supporters who are all helping to keep this industry alive.

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

Oscar Peterson.

Ever asked a music personality for an autograph?


Music acts you have seen live and loved?

A few years ago, Neil Diamond’s concert in Durban was superb in every aspect, from performance to technical.

Best singing star ever?

I don’t believe that there is one ‘best singing star ever’.

The greatest musician of all time?

With so many varying styles of musicians, I don’t believe there is the ‘greatest musician of all time’.

Best band in history?

There are too many varying styles of bands to choose ‘best band in history’.

The styles of music you most enjoy – and least enjoy?

I enjoy any music which has strong melody, sensible lyrical content, good arrangement and energy.

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

Boney M’s Christmas Hits, for show reference.

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

I don’t dance!  

Your choice of karaoke song?

I wouldn’t perform karaoke.

The first song you ever performed for an audience?

Brown Paper Sack in the 1960s.  

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

Fascination. I love waltzes!  

Worst decade for music?

In my opinion, from the 1990s onwards .

Hottest-looking celeb?

Bruce Springsteen .

Instruments you can play?

Piano, guitar and a few others.

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

Always Look On The Bright Side of Life. 

The song you find the saddest (and why)?

Fields of Gold by Sting which Barry Thomson and I performed at my late brother Ron Selby’s wake.  

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

Freddie Mercury and Beethoven

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s