The far south’s Jeremy Olivier speaks about his experience in the televised The Voice SA show, about Team Lira and about making a living through music – something he says is not for the faint-hearted.
Even though he is already an experienced performer, Jeremy says the platform of the competition was great for exposure, which is why he signed up.
“Team Lira was a phenomenally strong team. There were so many great artists and singers. I learnt a lot from Lira herself, she spent a lot of time with us. Especially in the performance aspect, and in the area of self belief,” Jeremy says. “I see a lot more now than I did before.”
He says of The Voice SA experience, where he made it to the top four position: “Song choice is everything in a situation like this, nothing rates above your performance, but song choice is the next most important thing,” he said.
Jeremy says a creative living is something that should only be pursued if you truly cannot see yourself doing anything else… if you simply have to be singing, then it is the right choice.
Jeremy knew at the age of 17 that this would be his world. “It was all I could see myself doing. I know I was going to maybe study accountancy and I am sure I would have sunk a few companies with my skill in accountancy, so am glad I chose music,” he grins.
“There are well-known challenges, mostly that you don’t know where your next paycheque is coming from… but the joys: doing what you absolutely love for a living.”
He includes as a highlight the performances, being able to perform, make music and make other people feel amazing, and then, he laughs, finding out you were paid for doing this.
“That, is the best feeling ever,” he grins.
He says his greatest support has definitely come from his wife Nicole and his children, but that the children’s support stems from his wife. “She enables me to fly,” he says.
In terms of musical inspiration, Jeremy places Oliver Mtukudzi top of his list.
“I love his heart and soul and the pain in his voice, and how he touches people, that’s what I aspire to be.
“I also admire George Benson, for his incredible skill and again his demeanour on stage; it’s always joy.. and I aspire to that.”
He mentions the Beatles’ and Bob Dylan’s songwriting skills, Bob mostly for the beautiful poetry of his lyrics and John Mayer for his playing skill, his sound, his voice.
He says each of these artists have elements that he aspires to in his own performances.
On the subject of which, I asked Jeremy a question that most artists balk at: I asked him what his strongest selling point was.
To his credit, he answered faultlessly: “Definitely that I am an honest performer – I am the same person on and off the stage – I can play as well as I sing.
“I really think it is my honesty which connects with people.”
Other than the voice, his favourite instruments are the guitar, but he also loves a saxophone, played well.
He says taking part in the show was a genuine highlight in his life, being himself on stage each week is something he is very proud of.
And as for the future?
Two things he has set his sights on include the hopes of one day earning a Grammy, and to sell a million albums across the board.
But while life is mostly music, there has to be harmony off stage, so Jeremy speaks a little about his role as a husband and father.
“As a performer and as a male person, our weakness is to be very focused on ourselves and our work, so my number one priority is to be a loving husband and father and to be actively involved in their lives and give my time to them.
“My role is to remain loving to my family.”
Jeremy says the strong family aspect to living in the Deep South is what holds his heart.
“The fact that there is the Noordhoek Common and the beaches which we can visit for free, is amazing – the sense of community is incredible and traffic is the only real challenge.”
Music and family are his enduring passions, but he does try to fit one game of golf into each week.
At present, Jeremy is reading Lira’s book called Her Story, which he describes as “incredible”.