First Hol­ly­wood, now Cape Town

PE boy chases his show­biz dreams all the way back to the Mother City, writes ROBIN ADAMS

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

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

PIC­TURE: CORBAN LUNDBORG

Gino Lee is lov­ing Cape Town.

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