Interview: Tian Nienaber-
Interviewed By Duzzy Clayton
Photography By: Jannes De Villiers from Moving North Media
Tian Nienaber is a Pop Rock singer from South Africa, who is back with his hard-hitting inspirational sophomore single ‘Soldier On’ and he is taking the world by storm. The single was produced by the awesomely talented producer Peach Van Pletzen.
‘Soldier On’ was originally part of a challenge Tian participated in during the pandemic lockdown, when he wrote 21 songs in 21 days. It was written shortly after his debut single ‘Hurting Love’ and subsequently evolved into an anthem of hope with a positive message to always hold tight onto the most important and precious things in your life, especially when you get knocked down. With ‘Soldier On’ Tian aims to inspire those in need to always fight on and fight strong when life knocks you down! It also addresses the hard truth that often you need to choose which things to sacrifice to achieve the goals you want to achieve.
We catch up with the man himself to get to know him a little better and also to chat about the new single.
Enjoy the Read.
Hi Tian, welcome to Fanbase Music Magazine. Can you tell us about your background; where you grew up and what got you into music?
I was born and raised in Pretoria East. I had a few friends and family members who played a few instruments. Music has always been a big part of my life as every family event has always featured music of some sort.
For listeners who don’t know your music yet, can you explain your sound and genre?
It is a bit of a mix. I would say I mix Alternative Rock, Pop, and Singer-Songwriter into one genre.
Who did you grow up listening to and even listen to today?
There is quite a wide variety that I listened to and still listen to. The first album I ever had was a Don Williams album that my father gave to me; followed shortly by an album from Afro Man. In my primary school days, I was more into Metal than anything else and in High School more into Rock. Nowadays I love Country, Singer-Songwriter, etc.
Do you feel your influences over the years have influenced the type of music you’re writing today?
I believe that it definitely has. I think a lot of the older songwriters that I listened to showed me how to tell stories; whereas the younger age group taught me a lot about phrasing and movement of music.
Could you tell us about your writing process when you are putting a song together?
Every song I have ever written is a bit different. Sometimes I write the lyrics first; other times I just play around with some chords and go from there. Also, the amount of time spent writing a song differs every time I write. Some of my songs, like ‘Hurting Love’, have been written within an hour. Whereas a song like ‘Soldier On’ took the better part of a day.
Do you have a permanent band you jam with; or do you use session musicians?
I tend to use session musicians for the most part. I try to keep my Rhythm Section to the same two guys, as they hold our sound together quite well.
Ok, let’s talk about your sophomore single ‘Soldier On’; what is the song about?
Soldier On is about how you will have to keep on trying every day to get to the things that you want, and that through these daily struggles you will only succeed if you keep on trying and keep on choosing yourself. For me, a lot of it was written about my struggle with mental illness and that I had to learn to grow and leave parts of myself behind. Every time I had a setback, I always kept on fighting to save myself and get to a better place in life.
Where was it recorded?
‘Soldier On’ was recorded at Peach’s Studio, Planet Awesome
Who all worked on the single; I see Peach van Pletzen worked on the single?
From start to finish it was Peach and I who worked on the single. We spent a few days in studio and knocked out ‘Soldier On’.
How does this single differ from or compare to what you have released before?
The genre is the same. The content and the mood of it differs a bit. I feel that ‘Soldier On’ is a bit more energetic than Hurting Love was. The sound of it is also quite a bit bigger.
Will you be bringing out an album soon or just singles at the moment?
The plan is to release a 5-track EP after ‘Soldier On’ and then to start working on a full album along with a few more singles in-between.
Could you describe a typical live show of yours for people who haven’t seen you play live yet?
A lot of my live shows are more acoustically-driven, and cover-driven. Due to the type of venues that I play at, I play a lot of solo shows and people like to hear their old favourites throughout the evening. I tend to keep things quite upbeat.
Do you have any new music in the pipeline we should know about?
Yes, the 5-track EP I have almost finished writing; and then I’ll get back in studio and get the songs ready for the audience. I am also busy writing a few Afrikaans songs that I would like to release within the next year.
Could you give us your social media details?
All my links can be found on