1. When did you first start singing?

I have always been singing – I grew up listening to my parents singing around the house, and was exposed to choirs in church as well. My earliest memories of singing are from the age of 6 or 7 years old.

2. Was becoming a musician something you always wanted to do?

Not really. I have always loved music and loved listening to all genres and styles. I also loved singing and writing my own lyrics, but it was mostly for my own fun and enjoyment – even if it was in church or at school assembly. I actually wanted to become an architect!
It was only a few years after I finished high school that I started making music on a regular basis, and it took many more years for me to approach music with the seriousness and focus of any other career.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from?

My songs are inspired by all kinds of input. It could be a book that I’ve read, a talk I hear over the radio or something I overhear while standing in line at the teller at Pick n Pay. Anything can inspire a song. Mostly I like to take concepts that interest me and try to translate them into songs.

4. What is the first thing you do before going on stage?

I jump around! You build up a lot of nervous energy waiting for your time slot. The anticipation keeps building and before long, you cannot wait to get on stage.

5. What was the biggest gig you have ever done?

My career highlight was performing at Oppikoppi in 2016. I had the awesome privilege of sharing the stage with DJ Ready D and B-Boys Shorty and Vouks. It was a BVK tribute set and I got to write and perform my own verses for some of their biggest songs. It was unreal. I still can’t believe I was asked to do it!

Photographer: Scott Williams

6. Have you travelled outside Cape Town or even the country for your music yet?

Oppikoppi was the furthest from home I’ve been for music . I’ve also visited Port Elizabeth and George, and appeared at the KKNK festival in Oudtshoorn. I love the Garden Route though – I’d tour there all year round.

7. Tell us something we don’t know about the music industry that only musicians as yourself know.

If you’re serious about your craft, it’s a lot like a regular day job. You have to be disciplined with your time, plan properly and sometimes grind hard to meet deadlines.
More and more artists are adopting a holistic approach to their art as well. People try to eat properly (when possible) and exercise to stay on top of their game.
The stereotypical picture of the hard-partying musician is fading fast.

8. What’s the best part of being a singer?

For me the best part has been seeing other people dancing or singing along to my music. Witnessing others enjoying your work or drawing inspiration from it is indescribable.

9. What don’t we know about Jerome Rex yet?

I don’t write songs very easily. Most of my fellow recording artists are able to knock out a verse in 30 minutes while sitting in the studio, but I don’t have that luxury. Ideas come easily but it’s often a long, hard slog to process that concept and craft a complete song from it.

10. What advice would you give someone that is just starting out in music?

Relationships are everything. The music industry is small and word gets around, so be reliable, punctual and professional in all your interactions (even the bad ones)!
You’d be surprised how far your reputation can travel and it pays off in the long run if you conduct yourself like someone who is serious about what they do.

Some fun filled questions:

1. If music were an alcohol beverage, which would you be?

Red wine. Sociable, fun and goes well with steak!

2.  Vinyl, cassettes or CD’s?

Cassettes! My first mixtape was released digitally, but I also made a limited run of cassettes available. People went crazy for them! If you grew up using cassettes, you’ll understand the nostalgia.

3.  If you could do, a collaboration with any other musician dead or alive, local or international, who would it be?

I’ve been a fan of Thandiswa Mazwai since Bongo Maffin burst onto the scene. She’s massively talented and her longevity is a testament to her work ethic.

What’s next for Jerome Rex?

I’m promoting my latest musical release, the Fynskrif EP, which was released late last year. Expect music videos, parties and lots of gigs!
I’m also working with an experimental collective that’s busy with some exciting, left-field ideas. It’s all in the embryo stage right now, but I’m excited for it to reach a point where we can start talking about it.