A lot of young girls fantasise about becoming a pop star, standing in front of a mirror with a hairbrush in hand. Not everyone’s dream comes true, but for Geraldine Scholtz, with her beautiful clear voice, it certainly did. As long as she can remember, she always knew that one day she would be on stage.
Geraldine’s family moved to the Lowveld when she was five years old, and when she started her school days in Laerskool Laeveld, she really had no desire to do any athletics or ball sports. One day her mom asked her if the school did have a choir. “What is a choir?” she curiously asked. Her mom took her to a choir practice in the school hall and she immediately felt at home. “My love for music really started at a very young age. It must be in my genes. My mom’s dad played in the army band, my mom and grandma played the piano, and when we were driving in our car, music was always playing. When I was in Grade 3, my parents bought me my own guitar and within a year I was also blessed with a piano. At the same time, I was taking guitar, piano and vocal lessons,” this beautiful, bubbly young woman describes.
After doing a lot of Eisteddfods and opera music lessons, she decided to move over to pop music. Her real breakthrough came when she was in Grade 11. Her career started gaining momentum after meeting Ronel Brink, the mother and agent of the Afrikaans singer Bobby van Jaarsveld. Ronel suggested that Geraldine start off doing pre-shows for Bobby and they immediately liked the idea. “Normally on Friday afternoons, when I was still in school, my parents would pick me up and we would drive to Pretoria for shows,” she explains. “Looking back, I am grateful that we made that choice. In my Grade 12 year, I released my first Afrikaans single, ‘Sommer’ and soon realised that the crowd really loved the song.”
The experience of doing pre-shows for a well-known musician was an excellent learning curve. Another two very successful songs followed, and “Mis” and “Iemand”, like “Sommer”, performed very well on radio stations across the country. Geraldine also started her career as radio presenter while she was still in school. Radio Laeveld was looking for someone to launch a radio show focused on teenagers and Geraldine was the perfect choice. She started her programme, Alles en Nog Meer, focusing on beauty tips and fashion trends for teenagers, but soon added some very exciting information about different countries and cultures. Nowadays her radio show, on a Thursday night, no longer focuses only on teenagers, but shares a lot of what is going on in the entertainment business with her listeners.
Geraldine lives in White River with her parents and although a lot of people advised her to move to Pretoria when building a career as a pop artist, Geraldine remains loyal to her roots. “My feet are planted in the Lowveld and I really love it here. Every time that I come back from Pretoria, I appreciate the fact that our traffic is not as congested as in the city,” she says.
While recording her solo single “Sommer”, Geraldine had the chance to work with the talented producer Murray Lubbe. He gave her excellent advice, as he knows the South African musical industry very well. “His advice really worked for me. A lot of people in the music industry told me that they like the way I am managing my career. I prefer to focus on one song for months. This way I turn every tune that I am recording into something special,” she says.
Geraldine now also has the confidence to write her own songs and she spends a lot of her time writing music. She often practices her guitar and piano skills, and loves the way that her hard work pays off. She is really looking forward to the next chapter in her career, introducing the new songs that she has written for her fans. She also did a course in graphic design at the beginning of the year, and now runs her own graphic design business.
For this busy young woman, the biggest joy of being an artist is meeting her supporters after a show. It means a lot to her when she realises that one of her songs made an impact in someone’s life. “When standing in front of a huge crowd, you watch their faces and see the way your music influences them. Being a performing artist is much more than just standing on a stage, singing a song. It is a way of touching people’s hearts. And that is very special to me.”
Follow Geraldine on social media for information on her shows:
Geraldine’s music is available on iTunes, Apple Music, YouTube and Google Play.
Text: ALITA STEENKAMP