Life throws curve-balls at you multiple times… Battling cancer and sharing life experiences with super songstress Cyndy Alter.
Cyndy Alter is a well known South African Musician across the world, having major hits across the globe in the 80’s and 90’s. She has a extensive musical background as detailed below and in the podcast:
Even though Cindy Alter was born to a musical family in Johannesburg, South Africa, she claims that “music chose her”. She picked up a guitar at age 10, wrote her first song at 15 then joined a heavy-rock, cover-band, playing everything from Led Zeppelin to Grand Funk.
She spent the next few years touring South Africa, opening for various big-name acts, until 1977 when she auditioned for an all-girl band and was suddenly catapulted into the world of pop-stardom, constant touring and recording, playing huge arena ‘s and concert halls in Europe and Africa.
She spearheaded the band “Clout”, selling over ten million albums worldwide, earning gold records, Sarie Awards (South Africa’s Grammy equivalent), and charting at #1 across Europe and Africa, # 2 in U.K., and entering the U.S. Billboard top 100 with their hit single (a cover of the Righteous Brothers song), “Substitute”.
“Clout” toured Europe for four years, sharing stages with the top recording artists of the time, The Police, Thin Lizzy, Supertramp, Dire Straights, Blondie, Gloria Gaynor and the Village People, to name a few.
Cindy had been writing songs for a few years, and two of these were recorded by Clout, but her efforts to contribute more were met with indifference, which marked the beginning of the band’s long struggle to redeem royalties from their management & record company.
Cindy’s personal life took a turn when her mother was diagnosed with leukemia; the ill-feelings between band members and management escalated, the pressures finally took their toll and after four monumental years, “Clout” disbanded.
Cindy joined forces with local musicians to form a new band, with the sole purpose of writing and recording original material. “Cyndicate” had enormous potential, being courted by the U.S.A. manager of the “Runaways”, Kim Fowley, but after visiting the U.S. to write and record with Fowley, Cindy decided to take a personal break, and reassess her goals, and started the “Cindy Alter Band”, which evolved into “ZIA”, a new concept in South African music, during a politically charged era.
It was a multi-racial band playing pop/rock songs, with Zulu influences. Zia had a couple of radio hits, (most written by Cindy),and toured the country, then broke into the French market, and toured France, opening for the “Bee Gee’s” at “Bercy” in Paris, after which they were offered the opening slot on the “Bee Gee’s” U.S. tour.
In L.A., Cindy found peace and fulfillment as a human being, musician and songwriter, stretching her musical abilities beyond her wildest dreams, co-producing, writing and independently releasing two solo CD’s, “Silver Moon”, and “Dark Heart”. Cindy became very active in the local songwriter community, playing clubs from the “Roxy” to “Roxbury”, and hosting numerous songwriting showcases and events.
She became an active member of ASCAP, NSAI & other Songwriting organizations across the U.S. and has been a seminar guest-speaker promoting artist empowerment. She is a published poet; had an Honorable Mention in the “John Lennon Songwriting Competition” and been a prize winner in the “Senheisser Evolution Band Search” & the “Grand Slam” Songwriting competitions.
Cindy performed acoustically and with her band making waves in songwriter circles in Los Angeles, and in Nashville. Her appearance at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara in the “Sings Like Hell” series was a powerful introduction to an audience who support the likes of John Hiatt, Peter Case, Richard Thomson, Nickel Creek, & Gillian Welch, and Santa Barbara newspaper,”The Independent”, called her “red-hot”!
Cindy has also appeared alongside such diverse artists as Kenny Loggins, Olivia Newton-John, Clint Black, Glen Phillips, Dave Mason, Sophie B. Hawkins, Flock of Seagulls & Dishwalla, and has co-written with other songwriters, including Trevor Rabin.
In 2002, Cindy was approached by an agent in South Africa who wanted to reunite “Clout” for a series of shows. After nearly 20 years apart, Cindy thought it would be good karma for the band to play together in a relaxed atmosphere, with none of the previous baggage in tow.
Two months before her planned departure to South Africa, Cindy did a short tour in Nashville, and was inspired to move to the songwriting capitol. As she was making plans, life decided to throw her another curveball – she was diagnosed with Acute Mylogenous Leukemia, and was admitted into hospital immediately for intense chemotherapy treatments. This was just the beginning of the long road back to health, and after undergoing a Stem-Cell Bone Marrow Transplant at City of Hope hospital in California, Cindy felt strong enough to make new plans.
The past year in and out of hospital had not daunted her spirit or her passion for music, but, in fact, enhanced it. Her guitar was with her always, and the songs were flowing like tears…happy tears! A few shows here and there during treatment kept her soul alive and strong, and when she felt renewed and revitalized, Cindy decided to move back to South Africa, reunite “Clout” and do the shows she was meant to do a year before. Also, going back to her roots felt like an integral part of the healing process.
Leaving L.A. was one of the toughest things she’d done … she left not only a marriage, her sister, niece and friends, but a part of her life that had brought her ‘to and through’ her greatest challenges. In 2005 “Clout” recorded a new CD, and toured South Africa. This time around was definitely a more meaningful experience, and the band played purely and simply because they loved music.
Today, Cindy is healthy and happy, telling the stories about her life’s journey through her music and writing her biography, aptly titled, “No Substitute”! She feels she is living her best life … a life with no regrets! As she says, “It’s been a wild ride, but it’s far from over”.
She has just launched a new book and album.
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