First Hollywood, now Cape Town
PE boy chases his showbiz dreams all the way back to the Mother City, writes ROBIN ADAMS
HE’S been living it up in Hollywood for the past three years, but now actor, singer, songwriter and producer Gino Lee is back in South Africa – and he is calling Cape Town home.
Lee, who is also a model, has been living in the Mother City for the last six months and he is absolutely loving it.
Radio listeners in these parts might have already heard his new single, Back To Me, which debuted on KFM last week.
“The song is basically a love song about a guy asking a girl to come back into his life. It is not personal. It isn’t about something that has happened to me,” he said. “For me, the song is written out of the music. I started with the hook of the song and after that, the music spoke to me.”
He told Weekend Argus: “The song is getting some good traction and it is a very exciting time.
“The feedback has been great. Everyone is loving the track. It is very much retro old-school mixed with newschool, like 1980s,1990s vibes. So everyone is responding nicely to that and they love the catchiness as well.”
Originally born and raised in Port Elizabeth, the 20-yearold has been building his career in the US.
During his first year in the US, Lee studied acting at the New York Film Academy. In that time he performed at prestigious venues like The Bitter End and Apollo Theatre.
Next was Los Angeles. “I work as a record producer in north Hollywood and I worked at a production company at Burbank. It was amazing. At the recording studio, I was doing a lot of music for film and TV, like music for the Kardashians and MTV.”
Lee speaks fondly of his US adventure. “We were doing a lot of short films and music videos, and we were managing a lot of the YouTube stars. That was really, really awesome for me, to have that hands-on experience in literally the Mecca of the entertainment world.”
Lee’s fascination with music and entertainment started at a very early age. He was 6 when he started playing the piano and by 12, he was on the stage entertaining audiences. In his teenage years, Lee appeared on the reality TV show, SA’s GotTalent. That was in 2009 with his band, River Road.
The band had entered another competition at the same time and chose to leave SA’s Got Talent to perform in Rock Spider on DStv. They progressed to the semi-finals.
When Lee finished school at Theodor Herzl, a primary and high school in Port Elizabeth, he jumped on a plane to America. He was 17 at the time. Now he is back in Mzansi, 20 years old, a lot wiser and richer in experience, and ready to script a new chapter in his already impressive journey.
But the question needs to be asked – why return to Cape Town and not PE?
“I love PE, it is my home base, it is my home ground, I love PE people, but the reason why I decided to stay in Cape Town for this moment in time is because I am an actor and I am signed to an agency here. I have just finished shooting a German film, shot here in SA,” he said.
Lee is also busy working on an American TV show, Blood Drive, which will debut on the Syfy channel on DStv tomorrow. And his plan for the rest of year? “To really push this single, to spread far and wide. I want everybody to get on my wavelength and my vibe with this song. And I think in two months, I will be releasing another single.”
With June being youth month, Lee is hoping his story will inspire other youngsters to chase their dreams.
“If you want to pursue anything in the entertainment field, you have to be very passionate about what you do, because it is a difficult business,” he said. “There are ups and downs and I think you have to have that passion and commitment. If you really want to do it, you should grab every opportunity that you can and create opportunities for yourself. It can be a really fun industry if you surround yourself with the right people.”
Connect with Gino on social media.
Facebook: www.facebook. com/ginoleemusic/ Twitter: @MrGinoLee Instagram: @MrGinoLee Website: www.ginolee.com
Gino Lee is loving Cape Town.