Ashton Nyte, a highly praised singer, songwriter, producer, composer and frontman for The Awakening, one of South Africa’s most prominent alternative rock bands, will release his much-anticipated album The Valley on June 15. Consistently topping the South African charts with dozens of hit singles and critically acclaimed albums, Nyte’s latest effort marks his long awaited U.S. debut.
The Valley, Nyte’s fifth solo album was composed and recorded over the past five years. Influenced by his relocation from South Africa to the U.S., the album has been described as “a collection of songs caressed with Americana styling as uniquely as only a non-American could,” and “a sepia-toned film reel of old western imagery,” by South Africa’s Canonfire Creek Magazine. Nyte played all instruments on the album.
His baritone vocal style has garnered comparisons to Johnny Cash and earned him the title “Johannesburg’s Bowie.” His instrumentation is wide ranging from Americana to lo-fi indie rock, much like his musical influences which include Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits.
Nyte has become a pioneer and icon of alternative music in South Africa, a country where traditional music is predominant. Growing up in a bilingual family amidst Apartheid-era South Africa, the Cape-born musician moved frequently and was inundated with Western influences by his music-loving, well-traveled Afrikaans father. Earning initial fame with his hit cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence,” his 15-year career has spawned over 180 original songs, 13 albums and a legacy of top ten hits.