We recently chatted to Idols SA S6 Winner, Elvis Blue about his 1st kiss, life after Idols and what he will do if his wife starts calling him Elvis……….
O.S.A.I.: You were born Jan Hoogendyk on 28 December 1979 in Linden, Johannesburg. Tell us a bit about yourself?
Elvis Blue: Well, I am a musician, a father of a little girl, a husband, a song writer, and a friend who loves music, red wine and relaxing with good friends.
O.S.A.I.: Do you get presents on both Christmas and your Birthday?
Elvis Blue: No, it sucks….I usually only get one.
O.S.A.I.: You mentioned in an interview that you once played guitar in Karen Zoid’s band. She also attended Linden High School Did you know one another at school?
Elvis Blue: No we did not know each other. we knew of each other. I was fired from the first band I ever played in. The reason given was that my band member had found this girl who could play the harmonica and who wasn’t shy. Years later I found out that it was Karen. I once did a short stint with her while she did shows along the garden route.
O.S.A.I.: What was your favourite subject at school?
Elvis Blue: Business economics. I had an inspiring teacher.
O.S.A.I.: Do you have a vice (other than chocolate & losing things)?
Elvis Blue: You hit it on the head with those two things really. Love surfing too.
O.S.A.I.: Can you tell us about your most embarrassing moment… (ever)
Elvis Blue: First Kiss. I was told by my older sister that the most important thing is to keep your eyes closed. Well, I closed my eyes while I was still meters away from the poor girl and ended up being a blind man with pouted lips. She burst out laughing.
O.S.A.I.: In 2008 you appeared as Jan Hoogendyk on the Kyknet TV programme, Kwela. You had dreadlocks, sang a beautiful gospel song, I later discovered is titled “Woorde” & described yourself as “ a friend to your friends, a husband to your wife and a student of life” Is Elvis Blue still a student of life today?
Elvis Blue: I guess we are all students of life. Whether we like it or not, life somehow has it’s way with us. Some of us learn more than others in the process. I hope I could be someone who learns from all that happens to me.
O.S.A.I.: If you could go back now to that time and tell Jan Hoogendyk that God is about to bless him with so much more than he could imagine; how would Jan respond?
Elvis Blue: I am no more blessed now than I was before I won the TV show. Yes, have more stuff, but how “blessed” a person is should never be determined by the amount of stuff he has.
O.S.A.I.: Things my Father said, originally by Black Stone Cherry was chosen for you by Idols SA as your 1st single. You however changed the lyrics: “would make me a better man” to “would teach me who I am” and “woman who understands” to “lover that understands” What is the significance for you in the changes you made to the lyrics?
Elvis Blue: I just felt more comfortable with the changes. First prize would have been to be able to do my own composition, but seeing as that was not allowed it was important that I could relate with the song. The people who listen to the words are always very important to me. Men and women would listen and relate to the song and that is why I changed it to ensure that the song would not be gender specific.
O.S.A.I.: Cape Town Idols S9 auditions are coming up this Saturday. Do you have any advice for aspiring contestants?
Elvis Blue: Be yourself. This is tough because sometimes just knowing who that is is very hard, but knowing where you want to go and what you want to do with your life and your music will help allot. Don’t enter if you don’t feel you are ready.
O.S.A.I.: Does using a stage name give you/your family a certain kind of anonymity?
Elvis Blue: Probably a little bit. This was just how it turned out.
O.S.A.I.: Does your daughter know who Elvis Blue is?
Elvis Blue: She believes I mysteriously turn into this person called Elvis Blue when I walk onto a stage. It’s very funny.
O.S.A.I.: You have a great repertoire of self-penned Gospel songs. However, at Gospel Skouspel 2012 you performed your popular hits like “Lifeline” & “Lighthouse” Do you deem “Lifeline” & “Lighthouse” to be cross-over Gospel songs?
Elvis Blue: It’s hard for me to make a distinction. Music is all about Connection for me. The listener decides how he interprets a song and who or what he connects with whilst listening to it. These songs can definitely be “gospel” songs.
O.S.A.I.: Do women faint when you enter the room/stage/building?
Elvis Blue: LOl….NO. I wish my wife would sometimes, but it has not happened yet…..holding thumbs though.
O.S.A.I.: You are known as probably the most humble and grounded local artists. We think that is why your fans are solidly behind you in all you do. They not only voted for you, they prayed for you during your Idols journey. How would you describe your average fan /supporter?
Elvis Blue: I wish I could describe them, but I am sure they are all different. Each of us have our own Story and I won’t be able to box such a diverse group. I love that about them.
O.S.A.I.: It appears as if you don’t realize how “big” you have become ( fits in with the humble theory) over the past 2 years. What impact has fame made on your family (parents, siblings), friends and your marriage?
Elvis Blue: Thank you. The last two years have been great. A dream come true really. My family has always supported me and the pay off has been just as exciting for them as it has been for me.
O.S.A.I.: You are a a follower of Christ. The music industry is unscrupulous and cut throat. Would you say no to a career furthering project if it contradicts your believes and values?
Elvis Blue: Certainly, but very few prospects would do that. I believe there are more places you should be than places you should avoid.
O.S.A.I.: The internet/social media is a powerful tool to promote your music all over the world. Look what a Myspace video did for Colbie Caillat. Your YouTube channel could do that for you, Posting more live videos, showing your versatility and interesting tour inserts could assist in that. It however requires taking your mind off your music and putting on a PR hat. How involved are you with your PR?
Elvis Blue: It’s important to keep the people who support you in the loop. I think about it allot and try be as active as possible
O.S.A.I.: You recently mentioned in an interview that “you will always be that Idols guy” Idols is a brand. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – you can use it to your advantage. Have you ever thought about using it in our own PR campaign esp. during Idols seasons?
Elvis Blue: I never said that. This particular paper did have an interview with me, but they chose to use my words completely out of context. Unfortunately there is not much one can do about that sort of thing. I wish there was. I am extremely thankful that I was able to do the show and it has changed my career in a positive way.
O.S.A.I.: You are the first SA Idol to have a great following from all sides of the Rainbow nation. Collaborating with urban superstars like Lira or Proverb may expose your versatility to a larger part of the SA music industry. Would you consider such a collaboration?
Elvis Blue: Yes I would, but it must always be about the music. This sort of thing can easily become a PR stunt. If the song is right, I am willing to try it.
O.S.A.I.: How much say does your record label have in what you do/record?
Elvis Blue: They ultimately pay for and own the majority of the project, but they fortunately give lots of freedom when it comes to the music.
O.S.A.I.: You have an international sound. What is your label doing to assist you in releasing your music in other countries ( including Africa)?
Elvis Blue: They are unfortunately not doing that much at this stage. We are working hard at it.
O.S.A.I.: What was/is the most difficult: trying to get a break in the music industry before Idols, or proving that you are just not another fly by night, after Idols?
Elvis Blue: Trying to break before it. I struggled full time for twelve years and still could not do it.
O.S.A.I.: You have won a SAMA and have platinum selling albums to your name. Does the appearance fee increase once an artist can put these accolades behind his/her name? Who benchmark these fees?
Elvis Blue: LOL….I have great people working on those things. Like any business it is important to price yourself right.
O.S.A.I.: If your wife starts calling you Elvis you will ……..know I am in serious trouble.
O.S.A.I.: What is next for Elvis?
Elvis Blue: Always busy writing the next song.