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BEHIND THE SCENES WITH… THE VOICE RUNNER-UP JEREMY OLIVIER

Singer-songwriter JEREMY OLIVIER, 40, is creeping into the national consciousness. Runner up on The Voice 2016, his mellow debut hit Serendipity earned him flattering comparisons to American singer John Mayer, and was soon followed by another five singles, three of which reached the charts. His debut album was nominated for a 2015 Wawela Award alongside Elvis Blue and the late Mandoza. Jeremy and Nicole, his wife and manager, have five children aged between 15 and 7, and live in Capri, Cape Town…

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No choice but to sing: Jeremy Olivier with his wife/manager Nicole, and their five children

Cappuccino/Rooibos?
Rooibos first thing in the morning, then cappuccino all the way

Perfectionist/chilled?
Chilled. I can live with a mark on the couch

Ultimate comfort food?
My wife’s killer ostrich pie

Dress sense?
T-shirt, skinnys, sneakers and my signature jazz hat

What’s in your fridge?
Bulk stuff, we’re a big family. Big blocks of cheese, three-litre milks, lots of veg and always good wine!

Earliest musical memory?
Singing with my dad at a variety show when I was five. I loved it. Later that evening, my mom tap danced as the rear end of a cow. I probably shouldn’t tell you that

Best musical experience?
Singing backing vocals with George Benson at the 2010 Cape Town International Jazz Festival. He was always my hero, and he turned out to be so friendly. Another highlight was singing with my idol, the legend Oliver Mtukudzi, in October 2016

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Why five children?
That wasn’t planned! Not that any of them were accidents, but we didn’t have a set number when we started. We had four, but felt we were missing the sound of tiny feet. Nicole fell pregnant and we were delighted to find out that it was twins, but sadly she miscarried at 12 weeks and nearly lost her life in the process! It was very scary and a truly life-changing moment.

Then a friend called about a little boy who had been found under a bush in Kayamandi near Stellenbosch, wrapped in a jacket and a black plastic bag. Adoption had been on Nicole’s heart since a friend had adopted an HIV-positive baby, but I always thought it wasn’t for me. However, when I heard this little man’s story, I wept. We went to see him and felt a clear call on our lives.

He came to us at seven weeks, we named him Noah and he’s been an absolute joy and a blessing to our family. He’s just celebrated his 7th birthday and is a beautiful, healthy, confident and loving boy. In 2014 we wrote a song called Beautiful about our story and how Noah came to be part of our family.

What motivated your song, It’s My Time?
When Mandela was inaugurated, he quoted a writer called Marianne Williamson, who said, ‘We ask ourselves: “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world.

I wrote the song because I want to touch people’s hearts and encourage them to do what they were created to do. I know I was created to sing, there was no other choice

Hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Be with a dear friend as she died after a three-year battle with cancer. Her family invited me to play gentle worship music in her room. The presence of God was palpable, but watching her husband break once she’d gone was the hardest thing I’ve ever done

Goals for the year ahead?
Since The Voice, so many exciting doors have opened up for me. I have a new single coming out, I’m touring all over the country, I’m working on a new album and will be collaborating with some amazing names in the industry. My life truly has changed and the best is yet to come!

I really should stop…
Spontaneously breaking out into opera, it drives Nicole nuts

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Follow Jeremy on Facebook or visit his website.

 
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welcome to Thislife Online!
 

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