Axed from Idols SA, Suzzi carves out a niche

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KARISHMA DIPA karishma.dipa@inl.co.za @Kar­ish­ma_Dipa

FORMER Idols SA con­tes­tant Suzzi Swanepoel might not have been crowned the win­ner of the lo­cal singing com­pe­ti­tion, but it hasn’t hin­dered her ca­reer.

The Afrikaans pop star reck­ons that her mu­sic has the po­ten­tial to tran­scend bor­ders, de­spite her be­ing axed from the con­test back in 2009. She made it to the top 12, but re­fused to be la­belled a cer­tain type of artist.

“Idols was re­ally tough for me, I think they tried to box me into a genre, and when they couldn’t do that, I got the boot,” she says.

Swanepoel ad­mits that her elim­i­na­tion from the re­al­ity singing show af­fected her con­fi­dence as a mu­si­cian. “I re­ally doubted my­self after the ex­pe­ri­ence as an artist and in­di­vid­ual, and had to find out what my sound was.”

But after some soul search­ing, the songstress is now in her prime and is aim­ing for the stars with the re­lease of her al­bum Stukkies Van My (Parts Of Me).

Although she is rev­el­ling in the suc­cess of her mu­si­cal of­fer­ing, Swanepoel ad­mits that it wasn’t an easy task putting the al­bum to­gether. “It took three years to com­pile the 10 songs (on the al­bum),” she says.

“I did it all in­de­pen­dently and also fi­nan­cially, which was tough to do, but it was def­i­nitely worth it.”

Some of the songs on the al­bum were per­sonal for Swanepoel, while oth­ers were writ­ten sev­eral years ago. “I wrote Blou Sweet­ies (Blue Sweets) when I was 20, and it’s cool that I could just dust off old songs and that they were still rel­e­vant.”

She adds that she went to ex­tra lengths to en­sure her mu­sic can be en­joyed by peo­ple from all walks of life who might have dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal pref­er­ences.

“As you can hear from the al­bum, I still refuse to be boxed in by a genre.”

Swanepoel at­tributes the al­bum’s suc­cess to the au­then­tic and per­sonal na­ture of the mu­sic, which she main­tains is for all to en­joy.

“It’s an au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal al­bum of what’s hap­pened to me in the past five years. Ev­ery song is a lit­tle piece of my heart and soul, and I wanted to give it to my fans in its purest and most vul­ner­a­ble form.” She says the gen­res of mu­sic on the al­bum in­clude the blues as well as rock and pop.

Swanepoel’s jour­ney into the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try be­gan when she was still in school. She en­joyed par­tic­i­pat­ing in ex­tra-mu­ral ac­tiv­i­ties such as choirs and eisteddfods, which she says gave her a plat­form to ex­press her­self.

“It was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion from there on that I wanted to be a part of the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try after school.”

Fol­low­ing her Idols SA stint, Swanepoel landed a spot on Ster­lop­ers, a se­ries on the Afrikaans chan­nel KykNET.

“Ster­lop­ers gave me the per­fect step­ping stone to cross over from mu­si­cal theatre to me­dia and film, and then I re­leased my first sin­gle Ek Probeer (I’m Try­ing).”

She says the al­bum’s good re­sponse prompted her to start work­ing on an Afrikaans pop al­bum.

While Swanepoel en­joys both singing and act­ing, she says the two can at times be worlds apart.

“Even though act­ing and singing fall un­der the big en­ter­tain­ment blan­ket, the sub-in­dus­tries dif­fer in the way you han­dle the con­tent.

“My writ­ing process for songs as an artist is very per­sonal, whereas act­ing is an in­ter­ac­tion be­tween ac­tors, di­rec­tors and char­ac­ters,” she adds.

Set­back, but she went on to cut an al­bum

DO­ING IT HER WAY: The tal­ented Suzzi Swanepoel.

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