December 31st, 2007
By Helen Herimbi
Hollywood film releases are not something you'd associate with Dave Matthews. The 40-year-old South African native is rather better known for his musical exploits - enjoying the not-to-be-sniffed-at status of being the lead singer of America's biggest touring act.
Yes, that's right. More people attend his Grammy Award-winning band's concerts every year than say, a slick Justin Timberlake, rap mogul Jay Z, or even, heaven forbid, the newly reformed Spice Girls.
Together with Jonathan Dorfman and a few friends, his latest exploit is as a movie producer for the psychological thriller Joshua. Matthews was in Joburg last week to promote the film.
Joshua, which according to Matthews "was the first film where all the pieces just fell together", follows the life of a precocious 9-year-old whose world is shattered when a new child enters the household. His jealousy takes sibling rivalry to a new level as a series of fatal events raise unanswered questions and leave a dark cloud over the family. On top of being one of the producers, Matthews contributed a poignant ditty to the film.
In high spirits, Matthews - who was born and attended St Stithians High School in Johannesburg - explains that in the original script there was meant to be a song in the final scene where the boy would reveal that he is he puppet master of the whole thing.
"The scriptwriters hadn't written the song. So they asked if I knew anyone who would do it . So I said 'well, give me a chance'.
"They weren't completely excited about this - and I knew they shouldn't be . They didn't know if they wanted me to be the producer of the movie and have me write a song for the movie.
"But, this risk paid off," he smiles. "I sent it to them and they were elated that it didn't sound like The Dave Matthews Band.
Matthews was more than surprised when he was asked to record and perform the song. too. "I did not," he emphasises, "think they had the intention of using my version as the credit-closing song.
"But," he continues, "that is one of my happiest moments about being involved with the film."
However, the piano-driven confessional, which Matthews felt "should sound beautiful and inspired" is not the end of his musical forays into film.
"I have written a handful of songs for a film called The Other Side which is, hopefully, going into production soon."
Even though his résumé extends to writing songs for films, Matthews' creativity isn't hindered by the need to stick to the storyline.
"In a strange way," he chuckles, "it is nice to have parameters I have to write inside of. It made me think that maybe I should definitely start doing that with my writing - give myself a goal and try to stick to it.
And what about the long- awaited appearance of the Dave Matthews Band on South African shores?
"My deadline is the Soccer World Cup in 2010, when the whole world will be here too. And that is both exciting and unnerving," he assures his fans.