Young. Talented. Forward. Unafraid. Did we mention talented? Local musician Skye Klopper moves to her own rhythm. Her drums do the talking, and we do the listening.
For a freshly-turned-twenty-year-old girl, Skye is almost abnormally talented and mature. While her peers are out partying, you’ll find her in front of the piano, composing her own songs, or enjoying herself behind the drums. She listens to jazz and finds music inspiration in sadness, joy, doubt and fear. “Writing my own music is like therapy,” she tells Get It. “My hands move over the piano’s keys without me thinking. The music comes from within. My
mouth will add words to the music without my brain really creating them. I can’t explain it. It’s such a personal experience for me.” Skye has composed five original songs, and
recorded one called “Smile for the camera”. “This song talks about the facade created by us in the world of pop culture. We desperately want to be beautiful and accepted, but we
don’t deal with the things that go on inside us.” Skye is currently the main member of the
band Skye Inc. She performs regularly with other artists who change from gig to gig. Her parents are music and art lovers who have always allowed Skye to explore her talents
in ways that spoke to her. Her dad, Nic Klopper, is an English teacher, and plays the guitar, drums, saxophone and piano. His band, Bahlzak, is well known in Bloemfontein, and Skye loves performing with her dad on a regular basis. He owns the Nic Klopper School of Music, where Skye helps with music lessons. Skye gives music lessons at Grey College Primary School. “I absolutely love working with kids. They are so brutally honest, and their talents are raw and real.” Her teaching method is refreshing, because she believes that each child learns and experiences music in his/her own unique manner. “I have students who don’t do well with theory, but learn the music by listening. We play together, and they would learn rhythms by experimenting with it. Once they know the basics of drums, they can develop their own style based on that. That’s why I love the drums. There’s no right or wrong – no false cords or wrong notes.” Although Skye can play numerous instruments, including piano, guitar and saxophone, the drums are her primary musical language. And, of
course, she sings beautifully. She started performing with her dad when she was only 12 years old. “I remember my mom telling me to put on more makeup, because I couldn’t
look like a child while performing in a pub!” Her mom is an artist, and always understood and supported her daughter’s creativity. The first gig she did with her dad, was with the band The Trashcan Preachers. When she entered into her teens, she started a band called Lost Cord, which later became Topdeck.
Her music style has definite notes of blues and rock, and she describes it as very emotional. “The words of my songs must mean something. The music includes heavy drums – obviously – and I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But my music comes from the heart. It’s a personal experience to me. And to be able to share this part of me to people from a stage, and see them enjoy it, is an indescribable feeling.” Her music is upbeat, but not electronic at all. She emphasises the notion of making real music with interesting cords and complex drum sections.
“My music must mean something. The words that come from my soul, must do something in the heart and soul of those taking it in. I won’t say that my inspiration for creating music will ever run dry. There’s always inspiration from emotions, life events and other people.”
As a child, Skye was quite shy. A stage never felt like home to her when she had to talk I front of people – as she had to do as a drama student. “Looking back at photos of myself as a child, I chuckle because I was like a weird, tiny cat lady, always doing my own thing, surrounded by cats,” she giggles. But once she performs her music, all shyness and doubts fly out the window. “I’ve never been nervous performing on stage. It’s something I love – the music is so much part of me that it doesn’t feel like unnatural effort to make it. It’s actually incredible if you think about it.” So, what does the future hold for this young, brilliant rocker from the City of Roses? “I don’t see myself remaining in the Free State
forever. I’d love to tour the world with my music. I have big dreams.” Skye’s love for young children has led her to some amazing charity work that she does in her free time. She visits (read: cuddle) babies and toddlers at homes of shelter, including The Sunflower House. The fantastic relationship she has with her parents and siblings contribute to her strong need to help forsaken kids where she can. And her best form of help? Through
music, rhythm and soul.
Photos: BLACK HORSE PHOTOGRAPHY