Nakhane and ANOHNI Break Barriers on Transcendent 'New Brighton' : All Songs Considered 'New Brighton,' the striking new single from rising South African pop artist Nakhane, is a spectacular entrance to the world stage.
NPR logo Nakhane and ANOHNI Break Barriers on Transcendent 'New Brighton'

Nakhane and ANOHNI Break Barriers on Transcendent 'New Brighton'

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Nakhane Touré, the South African actor, musician and author known simply as Nakhane, has, in recent years, created art which transcends typical pop fodder, addressing the intersection of queerness, blackness, and the eternal. "New Brighton," the lead single from 2018's You Will Not Die — released in Europe last year and out Feb. 22 in the US via BMG — is a joyous reflection of Touré's identity, desolation, and redemption.

Born in Alice — the small, South African town in the Eastern Cape — the 30-year-old singer was raised among fundamentalist Christians, a community that ultimately rejected him after he came out as gay at age 19 and forced him into conversion therapy.

"New Brighton" is the turning of a page — an anthem of self-acceptance that can only exist in the reality of Touré's lived experience. The sweeping, Anohni-backed chorus feels like a private prayer made loud for all the world to hear: "Never live in fear again / No, never again."

You Will Not Die is out Feb. 22 on BMG.