In 2007 Philip de Villiers started his own music school, Born to be Famous. The school aimed to foster the talent of young South African musicians and help them achieve greatness. As part of their goodwill the school also awarded scholarships to talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“I felt a strong sense of duty and purpose to help these musicians who lacked transport, office equipment, recording facilities, technological skills, financial resources, writing and organisational skills,” he says.
Enter Nomfusi, the school’s greatest success story. With a voice that nearly made him fall off his piano chair the first time he heard it, De Villiers knew that this girl from Khayelitsha was destined for greatness.
Once she had graduated he offered to manage her career and help her make her dreams come true. Under the guidance of his talent management company, Global Exposure, he did just that. “To date she has performed more than 150 shows in 14 countries, has been nominated for two Samas and two Metro FM awards,” he says proudly. “And she will soon star as Miriam Makeba in the film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.”
While Nomfusi is enjoying remarkable success, she’s helped pave the way for others like her, there are still many challenges these musicians face.
“We need to attract more investors that will sponsor artists to be developed. There is a bounty of talent, but a shortage of financial resources for training and development,” De Villiers says. “We are hoping that we will attract just as many investors as talented artists in the years to come, and that we can act as matchmaker between the parties.”
Musicians also need community support while they hunt for their success. A good way to get involved according to De Villiers is by adopting a musician. This doesn’t necessarily mean monetary sponsorship De Villiers adds. “Get involved by opening up your home to accommodate and feed musicians while they are on tour. Volunteer to drive them around.”
This is Philip de Villiers’ story of help. To read more stories like these, visit www.youcanhelp.co.za. If you would like to help: