He has shared international and local stages with many a famous personality, and yet, at home he is simply husband to his wife, dad to his children and a rock to his family. We catch up with Dantanio Goodman and his family at Vista del Monte in Alberton.
When you first meet him he strikes you as an introvert rather than a performer and then you realise the correct word to describe him is humble.
Despite being a world famous Michael Jackson impersonator, Dantanio has his feet firmly set on the ground.
‘Oh and by the way, he is rated number one by his fans worldwide as well as Jackson’s brother,’ said his wife Bernice rather than the artist himself.
You soon realise this charismatic man is one of South Africa’s most versatile entertainers – a singer and songwriter who has produced two solo albums.
Among the famous artists he has written hit songs for are Dr Victor, Dawny, Vicky Sampson, Garth Taylor and DJ Jazzy D.
The music within
‘Music chose me at an early age. I knew it was my calling at the age of eight or nine. I can remember always watching variety shows on TV and listening to radio and even at that young age I realised other people’s talent could affect your emotions.’
He started performing as Michael Jackson at the age of nine and simply loved the impact it had on the fans. He studied the King of Pop in detail, from the way he speaks, his mannerisms and even the famous moonwalk.
When asked to share some highlights and challenges he said that as a young man moving from Kimberley to Johannesburg he had it very difficult to get into the industry.
‘I had days where I had to sleep on the floor and sing my way into performance contracts.
‘My highlights include travelling the world starring in two Michael Jackson productions, meeting Nelson Mandela at age 17 and also performing for Jermaine Jackson in Berlin during August 2018.
‘I love to travel and my day job gives me the opportunity to meet new people and experience new cultures.
‘Above all, I love bringing people together through music.
‘It is, however, hard to cope with at times, especially being away from my family and loved ones, sometimes for over two to three months.
‘I also have to admit that these past months in lockdown have been the toughest time in my life, not being able to perform. I would really love to get back on stage again. I’m looking for shows and work to sustain my family and I also do sound hire for small events.’
Dantanio was born in Kimberley and is the youngest of eight children. He has been living in the south of Johannesburg for the past 20 years and stays in Mayberry Park.
‘I love the quiet life the South offers. It is a great place to raise children.’
He met the love of life, Bernice, at a gig and together they raised three children, Ramon (18), Michaela (16) and Joshua (12).
Being an extremely close family they love breaking away over weekends or simply staying at home spending some quality time together.
‘Family time is very important and special to me. We love taking trips to Sun City or Durban. Our children love to swim and we enjoy the outdoors and trail hiking.
‘Then it is also important for us to show our support to our children on their sports days. We also enjoy social time by playing board games and come night time, we share a prayer to bond us in spirit.
‘Family time also includes our extended family and I have many nephews and nieces whom I enjoy spending time with.’
When he takes some time for himself he can easily settle in with a good book or play a round of golf.
With the festive season around the corner, Dantanio said one lesson learnt from lockdown is to appreciate the value of family and friends and the closeness of people.
‘Festive season is a time for family, friends and sharing our goodwill with each other. It’s a time to see many of our distant relatives. This year we would like to stay home and invite over our loved ones and spend time with our close family.’
Looking towards the future, Dantanio is planning a major self-directed MJ concert at the Dome and he would like to do some productions in collaboration with up-and-coming talent. And then last but not least, buy a farm and travel the world with his family.
- Do you prefer food, travel or art?
I prefer travel and food.
- Rain vs sunshine?
I love the sunshine, especially at the beach.
- City or outdoors living?
- Hobbies or something very few people know about you?
I sketch sometimes.
- Who inspires you?
My mother is my strongest inspiration. I also draw inspiration from many other artist such as Michael Jackson, Bruce Lee and Stevie Wonder.
- Care to share your motto in live?
Believe in yourself, keep the faith.
- What is your pet peeve?
I don’t like untidiness. I love things neatly arranged.
- What would you do if you won R10-million tomorrow?
I would pay off my debt, buy a house, take care of my family and donate a percentage to charity.
* Text: Carina van der Walt. Photo: Afterglow Photography.