Inspiring Artist of the Week: Nate Maingard


I’m very excited to be able to feature South African singer-songwriter, Nate Maingard, as this week’s inspiring artist! I’ve yet to meet Nate, but I find his music to be beautiful and heartfelt, and I respect his general attitude towards music and being an independent musician. In the following interview, he gives us a little insight into his songwriting process, and what inspires him. Nate is currently based in the UK, so I urge my English friends to go and watch his live show (click here for dates)!

Name: Nate Maingard
Albums titles to date: The Wild Land (2011), Home (2012)
Release date of next record: Late 2013
Favourite songwriter: John Lennon
Instrument: Guitar 

Describe your music in five words or less:
Passionate, vulnerable, lyrical, melodic, real.

How old were you when you first started writing songs?

How has your songwriting changed and developed over the years?
It has become more authentically positive, with a more subtle rhyming pattern and a better use of metaphor, simile and melody.


What’s the one song you wish you’d written?
SOOOOO many…but certainly The Temptation Of Adam by Josh Ritter.

Approximately how many songs have you written, in total?
About thirty five.

What’s your favourite of all the songs you’ve written, and why?
That fluctuates, but overall I’d have to say my new song In The Shadows. I enjoy it because it has a very interesting rhyming scheme and it talks about really deep and intense things while maintaining a certain bounce in the feeling.

Which five artists/bands have had the biggest influence on your music?
Radiohead, Nick Drake, The Beatles, Ani Difranco, Bon Iver.

Complete this sentence: Music is… and always should be of the folk, with the power to unite community and inspire humans to embrace themselves and one another in a shared understanding of mutual humanness.

What’s been the most memorable or exciting moment of your music career to date?
That is impossible to say, there have been several which were so different yet so important. One moment which I will never forget was weeping in front of an audience at a house concert. There is a whole story behind that. It was so vulnerable and incredible, we all wept together and it felt completely safe and beautiful.

Finally, what advice would you give to any aspiring songwriters/musicians reading this?
Keep feeling, keep writing. Put love and truth above everything. Remember that what you do is not only a talent, but a skill to develop, and also a gift to share with humility. 

You follow Nate at the following places:

Official Website:


Are you an independent musician who would like to be featured as an “Inspiring Artist of the Week”? Send a link to your website, Youtube or Soundcloud profile to

Photo courtesy of Steve Beeson.

Songs of June #1: Songs of June

Songs of June appleprores full_00176

One of the weird things about living in a different hemisphere to the one in which you grew up is that the seasons are all back-to-front. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to having Christmas in summer, or huddling in front of the fireplace in the middle of July. As I write this, I’m sitting in bed with a hot water bottle, looking out at the grey sky and barren trees.

I’m not a winter person. The cold weather seems to bring out my dark, introspective side. I fantasise about the long, bright days of summer. Those three long months are an exercise in clinging to joy and resisting the temptation to be grumpy and pessimistic. The first day of spring is more exciting to me than Christmas, as it represents the mini-victory of making it through the dark days of winter and stepping into the warmth once again.

I’m so excited to share the first video in the “Songs of June” series with you! And in case the title of this post had you worried, I haven’t lost the plot – the first song is also called, “Songs of June”, just like the project itself!


Songs of June

Woke on the wrong side of bed
With songs of June running round my head
They tell me I’m crazy

Demons with voices sweet
Offer me fruit from the poisonous tree
They won’t resign till they can say “She’s mine”, but I won’t be deceived
No I won’t be deceived

And June is cold in this part of the world
Where I fumble toward the light
And maybe they won’t taunt me today
If I clothe myself in the night

Temptation tells me he’s
The one in the know, one who holds the key
But I know he’s lying

‘Cause shadows require the light
To draw the outlines we recognise
The lies would not be if the truth did not see some use for them here

And June is cold in this part of the world
Where I stumble toward the light
And maybe they won’t haunt me today
If I disguise myself in the night

And I find it hard to reason
I get caught up in the haze
And if I talk to myself it’s not ’cause I’m mad
I’m just trying to remember the time has passed

When I heard the voice of love
Pouring like rain from the heavens above
And the dove did descend and he promised me then that he’d never leave

And June is cold in this part of the world
But I’ll press on anyway
And I won’t fear, for I know who lives here
So I’ll bathe in the light of day


Music and lyrics Copyright Mali Korsten 2013.
Image courtesy of Jonan Grobler.

The Lost Song of June


Filming the first Song of June

I’ve been so excited to finally get my 30 Songs of June re-recorded and filmed, so that I can share them with you, and have something to show for the many days of near-sanity that this project caused me (don’t get me wrong – it was great fun, but it is extremely testing to have to write a song when you’re feeling completely uninspired and it seems impossible to come up with something new and original!).

So, last night I decided to put together a list of all 30 songs (I know – what kind of person doesn’t do that in the first place?), so that I could determine which ones need a bit more practice, and also try and figure out the order in which they were written.

I listed all the songs in my archive that were written in June 2011. The list only numbered 29. Um, 29?! Are you kidding me? I scoured every single folder on my computer, and even dug out a really old notebook to try and see if I’d missed one somewhere.

I did in fact find something. A title, amidst a list of all the songs I’ve written, sitting nicely amongst the other Songs of June titles. I figured this must be the elusive song, but I cannot remember a single thing about it. The title rings zero bells. But I’m choosing to trust that it must be the missing song, and that I’m not just so bad at math that I can’t even count to 30!

A couple of weeks ago I had a clear-out, and I threw away an old diary (not a journal, an actual schedule-keeping diary). Now I have a terrible feeling that this was my 2011 diary, and may well have been the place where I jotted down songs when not at my computer. I thought I transcribed all the songs eventually, but one must’ve slipped through the cracks.

I feel pretty annoyed with myself for being so disorganised. 29 songs just isn’t the same as 30 songs. The whole point of the challenge was 30 songs in 30 days, and although I still believe that I was successful (I mean, why else would there be a mysterious song title amidst the other Songs of June titles, in my list of completed songs to date?), it sucks to not have 30 complete songs to be able to show for it.

So here are my options:

  1. Just record 29 songs and call it an almost-victory.
  2. Write another song to the mystery-title (it is June, after all), and add it to the list, despite the fact that it will not be the original song that was written as part of the challenge in June 2011. I will obviously not try and pass it off as an original, 2011 Song of June, and will explain why there’s a new song in the list.

Which do you think I should do? I will obviously keep looking for the lost song (please pray that I find it or remember it!), but in case I don’t, which of the above options would you prefer? Or do you have an even better suggestion that I haven’t thought of? Please, PLEASE let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

On the plus side, I’ve decided that when I have a quiet month (probably August), I will do another similar challenge, and will be more organised about it this time around! Who’s going to join me?


Photo courtesy of Cuan Korsten.

The Gift of Creativity


In Jon Foreman‘s blog post on “Making a Living”, he talks about the word “re-appropriate”. He says he stole this word from a friend, who stole it from someone else. Now I’m going to steal it from him!

According to Jon’s article, to re-appropriate means to seize and reassign. When used in relation to art and creativity (and even songwriting), this word is quite revelatory. We are all working with a finite number of notes, chords, words, colours, etc. These raw materials already exist. So when we mere mortals “create” something, we are in fact just re-appropriating (seizing and reassigning) things which have already been created.

I think on of the reasons why art is so compelling is that when we engage in this artistic act of re-appropriation, it is as though we have been invited to share in the experience of creation. It’s as if God is giving us a little glimpse into His own creative character, whilst simultaneously reminding us that He is the ultimate author.

When we realise that our desire to create is a result of our having been made in God’s image, we can also develop a deeper understanding of how God sees us. Most (if not all) artists I know love, cherish and value their creations. They view their art as precious and close to their heart. Is this not how God sees us? As precious and valuable?

God is creative, and when we try and create something new from the raw materials that He has already made, we experience another aspect of His character. I for one am thankful that He has invited us to partake in the gift of creativity!


Photo courtesy of DoremiGirl.

Our First Day of Shooting the “Songs of June” Videos

Hey friends!

So, today was the first day of shooting for the updated “Songs of June” series. We were going to get started on Tuesday, but it was SUPER windy, so we postponed till today. It went really well – we managed to get four songs shot! Not bad for a day’s work!


We filmed in a series of beautiful, outdoor locations. One of the benefits of living in South Africa is that the light is almost always great!


We’re so happy to be working with Glory to God Motion Pictures again – they did such an awesome job on the video for Am I Lost.


We managed to pull off some cool, multi-instrumental set-ups. Cuan thinks that his electric guitar (when amped) sounds seriously awesome outside (I agree with him)!


The weather played along – we had some beautiful sun, few clouds and very little wind.


 I’m so excited to see the finished videos (and of course, to share them with you!).


We’re planning to upload one song per week to our Youtube channel, so be sure to subscribe there if you want to keep up-to-date! And watch this space for the first video, which will be coming soon!


Photos 1 and 4 courtesy of Cuan Korsten.