PJ Powers creates a myriad of emotions in her audience, whether it’s with her music or her prose. Her deep, throaty, voice captures those who are fortunate enough to be in the same room as “Thandeka”. She holds you in the palm of her hand and being exactly 1 month younger than myself, meant that I can relate with her on so many levels. And I think I speak for many South Africans, crossing borders and languages.
I first met PJ Powers in 1992 when she took on the role of Janis Joplin at the Sound Stage in Midrand with Richard Loring Productions. At that time I did not think to much of Janis, writing her off as a drug addict with not much to write home about. It was my husband’s 40th birthday present as he absolutely loved Janis. PJ madesuch an impression on me that night that I went home and bought all of Janis’ albums because during that production, Janis became my best friend!
Eagle Canyon Lifestyle and Golf Estate invited PJ to a Womens Day morning on Saturday 5 August and to share her story of deep depression, the highs and lows of stardom and today she celebrates 8 years of sobriety. Her book, aptly titled “Here I am” tells of her struggle with the dark side of alcoholism and her journey back to reality. She told of her struggle to find herself and when on Republic Day of 1982, a white rock and roll band, Hotline, took a detour into Soweto, unaware that their lead singer’s life would change forever. Hotline and the song “Jabulani” was the first all white band to cross over into the highly segregated apartheid South Africa. Soon she was a celebrated international star, finding a receptive audience in the black market, who gave her the nickname, “Thandeka” — “the loved one”.
Interspersed with songs both old and new, she never failed to bring the women in the room to their feet. She belted out her hit “Jabulani” and after some hilarious stories of her early years, she finished the morning off with World in Union, her Rugby World Cup 1995 hit that she had with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. As her story brought tears to the eyes of those that could relate to her story, so her rendition of World in Union brought goosebumps to all of us.
Women from all walks of life filled the Golf club event venue to enjoy a great spread from mini bunny chows to Amarula cupcakes. They flocked to hear PJ Powers, the star that shared a stage with the likes of Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading, Hugh Masekela, Divine Divas, Lord Richard Attenborough, Sibongile Khumalo and performed for Queen Elizabeth, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
Connect with her on Twitter @pjpowers1 or on line at www.pjpowers.co.za