Erryn Gracey

Its 8 am and not one of us have any idea what we are about to get ourselves into, or the musical genius that is about to step into our presence. Now sitting in front of us is Miles Keylock South Africa’s only full time music journalist and now editor of Rolling Stone South Africa.

For about 40 years Rolling Stone has dominated the music journalistic world, being recognised for its heavy opinions, and world famous covers. This magazine has the power to make or break an artist and has a huge influence on what people listen to. So taking on a project such as Rolling Stone South Africa is a huge risk that only the best of the best would be willing to take on- one of those people is Miles Keylock.

I always thought that Rolling Stone International was a very commercialised magazine. So when I heard that it was coming to South Africa, I must admit, I wasn’t too thrilled. But now, cards on the table, I can eat my words. I have been pleasantly surprised by the great minds that have put together such an amazing magazine. I anxiously await every issue wondering what I can read next.  I can proudly say that I think Rolling Stone South Africa is definitely at an international standard.

He is not a simple guy; he is not a complex guy. He is a fan.  It’s the word that defines him and his life. This is what makes his best for the job, “I can’t unplug myself I am a fan” he honestly says. But being a fan doesn’t mean he doesn’t take his Job very seriously, Keylock is willing to bring all his energy and efforts to the foreground “I bring a 360 commitment to what this is”, because to him the future of Rolling Stone South Africa depends on Integrity. This is why he has put together the best team possible for the job that brings together some of South Africa’s best entertainment journalists, editors and design team who all bring their best abilities to make the magazine the crème de la crème

An often-commercialised rule is: when South Africa takes on an International Project it leads to disappointment and failure. But every rule has an exception. Rolling Stone South Africa is the exception. Each article is a new and interesting voice to listen to and try and comprehend. Each writer is unique and extremely talented- they’re ‘real’ as Keylock puts it. There is a real and very unique story behind each article published in the magazine, specifically the covers, which have often surprised South African readers.  The 4 South African artists (Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Die Andwoord and Zahara) , who have appeared as covers, have not been your typical commercialised Musician but artists who have a story to tell that is unique and their own.  Writing a piece of journalism or any form of expression is almost like writing a song; the audience can tell if it’s real or not. And this team is real, which allows the audience appreciate their art even more. Rolling Stone is the perfect place for these writers and editors to be ‘real’ as Keylock says, “It’s about being able to express themselves in the freest of ways.” For Keylock Writing is  all about what is real, about telling the truth and ‘getting out of the way’, its all about writing from your heart and ‘bleeding onto the page’.

The tribute to Miriam Makeba in the form of a praise poem is the perfect example of ‘bleeding onto the page’. Bongani Madondo is vulnerable in his writing, which is what gives him strength and allows him to capture the hearts of the readers. But his writing is a needle amoungst a million other needles- all perfectly polished, sharp and unique. There is no middle ground, the viewership will either ‘love it or hate it’ and according to Keylock that is when you know your article is worth reading.

Rolling Stone has always had a huge influence on what and who people chose to listen to, and this is how we can increase the viewership of South African artists out there, Its what we need as a nation because as we all know local is lekker. The artists that have appeared on the cover are ‘huge’ in terms of their icon status. Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela are 2 of South Africa’s most loved artists, as Keylock says Masekela is, “South Africa’s Rock Star”. But we can definitely expect a diverse range of artists to appear on the cover, and yes 90% of them are going to be South African, which is a huge deal and will get our artists a lot of air time.

The possibilities are endless for this Magazine and the future looks extremely bright. South Africans will find themselves listening to a wide range of talented South African artists who deserve the recognition. Their integrity has been established and they can be extremely proud of the work they have done. Keylock’s visions for the magazine is coming to play, and we can safely say he is a fantastic editor in chief that deserves the recognition he is getting, if not more.

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