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SOUTH African soulman RJ Benjamin has been breaking women's hearts with his rich vocals and inspired lyrics. His latest release, House Bound, sees him venture away from R&B to house music.
With its release, RJ aims to inject some soul into the country's dance floors.
House Bound is RJ's third release. His 2004 debut album, Who I Am, was met with resounding applause. RJ says that at the time South African musicians were still struggling to make and define their own style as opposed to mimicking American artists.
"I wanted to prove that South Africans can make their own brand of music. There were already some artists trying to do the same thing. I wanted to be a part of that movement."
The album caught the attention of many top artists. RJ found himself in hot demand as a lyricist and producer. Humbled and inspired by the experience, RJ is still reaping the rewards.
"My credibility with that first album still lingers on in the music industry and with my fans."
Fans were not disappointed with the release of his second album, Swimming in the Soul of Music.
His efforts did not go unnoticed by the music industry. In 2008 he was awarded a Metro FM award for Best R&B Album.
Last year saw RJ experience his biggest hit so far when he collaborated with House DJ Dr Duda.
"On the day we recorded that song I had walked in on my girlfriend and another man. I was quite hurt and I just wanted to go home and drown in my sorrows. I went into the studio completely dejected, so I just did one take of the song and I was out of the studio. "
What came out of it was the hit song Change the World which dominated music charts for months and got 100 000 downloads.
The move to house music was however not supported by all his fans.
"Whatever I do I put my soul into it. Even if I'm singing on a house beat I'm still a soul vocalist."
House Bound has seen him collaborate with Dr Duda, Nutty Nice, DJ Clock, and 37 Mph among others.
The first single off House Bound is about RJ's new girlfriend.
"Into the Stars was inspired by my girlfriend. She is the only girl friend who has supported me 100%, which has made a big difference," says RJ.
RJ now tries out some hair gel to see if he can change his hairstyle to suit his venture into the funkier House music.
He first tries Bakugan Hair Gel. His verdict: "I enjoy the show on the cartoon network. The fact that it's linked to a cartoon will get the kids wanting it. It just holds the hair though."
Next he tries Perfect Touch Firm Hold Gel and Clicks Wet Look Gel.
"These two are exactly the same. They both leave the hair wet and don't hold it."
V05 Styling Gel is next. RJ: "This one is much better than the others. It actually held my hair up. Unfortunately it didn't hold it up for very long. As soon as it got dry the hold faded." - Keitumetse Segoai