Tamara Dey, renowned South African singer/songwriter

Tamara Dey, born in Belgium of an Italian father and South African mother, is a renowned South African singer/songwriter.  Involved in music throughout her school years, Tamara first burst onto the professional music scene in 2000, after completing her Musical Theatre studies at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria.

In 2000 a collaboration with Kwaito Music industry stalwarts, Bruce Sebitlo and Oscar Mdlongwa (DJ Oscar of YFM radio) of Brothers of Peace produced the chart-topping Thath‘ iMpahlayakho and launched her career. During the first five years of her career, Tamara was dubbed the First (White) Lady of Kwaito, an icon of African township pop and later ‘The First Lady of Song’ (Sunday Times national newspaper) as she pursued her solo career.

In 2005 Tamara’s passion for collaboration led her to record a cover of ‘80s track “Emergency” with two friends, internationally renowned dance music DJs Ryan Dent & Craig Massiv. The idea for a new band, an electro-dance outfit – Flash Republic – was born.  Today, Flash Republic, who garnered four nominations at the 2011 South African Music Awards, produce a fusion of pop-dance-rock music and are celebrated as one of the top five bands in South Africa, enjoying a wide audience across the demographics of this multiracial and multicultural society. 

Tamara Dey is known for having managed to cross all cultural, age & language barriers.  She has unassumingly been recognized as one of the few SA artists contributing towards bridging the gap between all cultures, ages & races.  With 11 official languages in SA, Tamara’s music has been described as the ‘unofficial language’, celebrating the heart and soul of South Africa.  From Kwaito to Jazz, Electro-dance and Rock, Tamara never fails to keep her audiences spellbound.

Q&A with Tamara

Tell us something about yourself that nobody knows

I’ve always been obsessed with capturing memories. As a kid I used to buy disposable cameras and was constantly taking pictures of my friends. I have boxes of old photographs at home, files upon files of photographs on various hard drives and more recently thousands of pics stored in the cloud. 

What tips can you share that have helped to shape your career?

Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s a vital for your growth as an artist! Embrace it and wear your failures like a badge as they will help you become the best version of yourself. 

Collaborate! This is how new genre’s are born and musical magic is made! Engaging in this process can take your art to new heights.

Treat everyone with respect! Value there time and their effort. In the end it’s the way you make people feel when they are around you that they will remember the most.  

Best gig/performance you have experienced/ been a part of?

There have been so many special ones it’s hard to say. I was one of a few opening acts for Beyoncé here in SA. Playing festivals like Extrema music outdoor festival in Europe with flash republic, headlining the main stage at Oppikoppi, Playing main stage at Vortex on New Year’s Day, Ministry of Sound in London and more recently I loved playing the 1st Thursdays Bree street market in Capetown.

Advice you would give to your 18 year old self in one sentence?

Stop caring so much what people think.

Best advice you were given when you started out?

You’re only as good as your last gig, 

With FWA being hosted in the Mother City, what do you love about Cape Town?

I love everything about Capetown. The music scene, the creativity, the street culture, the fashion and it’s awesome beach, bar, restaurant and club culture 


Tamara Dey



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