Axed from Idols SA, Suzzi carves out a niche
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.