Musicians Kurt Adams and Aleshia Solomons (stage name Adam and Lee) captured the heart of Christo Williams, a youth facilitator and leader for Africa Jam Youth Outreach, with their belief that Ottery has much to offer the world.
And they aim to inspire youth to start believing that their lives can take a turn for the better.
Christo said Kurt, from Ottery and his girlfriend, Aleshia, from Ravensmead, are living proof that growing up in gang ridden areas shouldn’t deter you from following your dreams.
The duo has spread their wings and started producing their own music. “We started playing background for other bands, but it didn’t work for us,” they said.
They started their own music business and performed on their own, not only to sustain themselves but to help youth see that Ottery is not all doom and gloom.
Although Kurt grew up opposite the Ottery flats, where gangsterism is rife and where gang shooting is the “norm”, he said he wasn’t drawn to that way of life.
“It is up to oneself to make a choice,” said Kurt.
And he chose a music career playing guitar.
Aleshia said she has been singing since she can remember and loves to sing mostly jazz, gospel and reggae. “My life must have a purpose and I am using the tool of music to express myself.”
The musos come from a Christian background where both of their fathers are pastors.
They believe no matter the circumstances you were brought up in, you should “go after your passion.”
Kurt and Aleshia started their own music business after trailing other bands for three years and they felt they were not making a name for themselves.
Aleshia said it was like living someone else’s dream. “If you do not pursue your own dream, life will be monotonous. So, we went on our own in 2014.”
She said she grew up singing in church and at school. “I was in standard 8 (Grade 10) when I did my first professional gig and got paid for it.”
She studied at the Cape Town Music Institution and had two years on the job training. “We have performed at many venues, such as clubs, 21st birthday parties, weddings and festivals.”
One of the festivals was the Festival of the Lights, in Drakenstein. “We are being kept busy,” she said.
The two of them write their own songs as well. One of their songs titled Why? was performed for Southern Mail. It is about life growing up in Ottery and its challenges.
They have not recorded their song yet and hope to set up their own studio when they find sponsors. “We are planning to open our studio doors to the youth so we can help them record their songs, because getting your work out there can be very expensive,” said Aleshia.
Christo said there is so much talent in Ottery yet to be discovered. “However, the Ottery violence is affecting everyone.”
He said while everyone might not be blessed with musical talents, everyone is attracted to music. “We need to shift the fo-cus from gangsterism to music. We encourage everyone not to be prisoners to the past, nor to their circumstances.”
Contact Aleshia on 082 676 4116 or Kurt on 062 275 1400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about their music and studio project. You can also check them out on Facebook.