Worcester's 24-year-old Cheswyn Ruiters – also known as Cheswyn Ray – will perform this weekend in a virtual music show.
He will be singing soul and R&B with a touch of gospel in the virtual show Lunchtime Live on Saturday 20 September. Other South African artists such as Jarrad Ricketts, Megan Danner, Rotas the Rapper, Spinksy and Jayson Kleinsmidth will also perform.
This comes just a year after Ruiters won Season One of the reality talent search show Maak My Famous. Host Emo Adams co-created this South African series to scout talent, and Ruiters was its first winner.
The young singer says he grew up in a gospel-influenced home, listening to music legends such as Cece Winans and Donnie McClurkin.
Cheswyn Ruiters will sing on 'Lunchtime Live' on 20 September 2020.
About Cheswyn Ruiters
Ruiters took music as a subject in high school at Worcester Gymnasium where he matriculated in 2014.
"After high school I went to study BA Arts at the University of Western Cape," he says. "This was the most depressing time because it wasn't what I wanted to do, all I wanted to do was make music."
So, at the end of 2018, Ruiters decided to put his studies on hold to focus on his music.
That same year in December, Adams called him with good news: He had made it into the top 48 of the new show Maak My Famous.
Winning 'Maak My Famous'
Growing up it had always been Ruiters' dream to work with Adams.
"I remember attending his shows when I was younger and getting home and telling my parents that's what I want to do," says Ruiters.
Throughout the 2019 competition, however, he says he lacked self-confidence due to "negative comments on social media".
Instead of letting negativity get the best of him, however, he took the opportunity to work harder and do better. This included applying the notes that the mentors and Adams gave him.
"This competition taught me that the only thing standing between you and your goals is how hard you work for what you want and how badly you want it."
Ruiters remembers how one Maak My Famous host announced the top 10 finalists would each received R10 000. Not only that, but two would go on tour.
"I heard my name and l immediately cried because what I prayed for became a reality.
"Then I looked over at my mother and saw her crying, and just seeing her proud made my heart glad."
Winning season one of the kykNET reality TV competition opened many doors. These have included travelling and getting to work with those he looks up to in the South African music industry.
'Maak My Famous' Season One winner Cheswyn Ruiters.
Words for upcoming music artists
Remembering where he comes from and why he went into music is something that keeps him going.
"There's a line in my single A Reason that says: 'You only get one shot' and I believe that's how life works.
"Life gives you an opportunity and everything depends on what you do with the opportunity. So it's best to remember that no one can work as hard on your dream as you can."
He also urges artists to take responsibility and remain humble, determined and hardworking even when receiving a "no".
Life after stardom and COVID-19
One of his many adjustments he has had to make is how he reacts to people recognising and interacting with him wherever he goes.
"A normal trip to the shop will take you hours longer now. But this is the part I love because you get to meet the people who support you. These are the people who buy tickets to your shows."
The Maak My Famous Season One winner also noted that family time has taken a back seat. Touring and numerous gigs had to take precedence as he started to build his singing career.
Then, due to the coronavirus pandemic, most shows and plans for 2020 were cancelled.
Ruiters spent his time in lockdown refocusing, regrouping and replanning his steps for the rest of the year.
Starring in 'Lunchtime Live'
Ruiters decided that September would be the month for "new shows and releasing new music".
"When the 'Lunchtime Live' team approached me, I immediately said yes. This is the perfect opportunity for me to take my followers on my journey, because most of the people only followed to the point where the cameras turned off."
Lunchtime Live with Rickets is a virtual concert series which launched in May in partnership with Penny Lane Studios.
It is a way for South Africans to stay connected to their favourite local performers from the comfort of their own homes.
Ruiters's virtual music show, which he put together himself, aims to let the audience into his personal space. He says he wants to let the audience into his journey before Maak My Famous, through music.
"And people will get a sneak preview of so many amazing things that I am planning for the future," he says.
The audience can expect to hear R&B, pop and "deep soul church", as he promises to be "as versatile as possible".
"I will be catering for the old and the young, so there will be something for everyone."
Catch Lunchtime Live at 2pm on Sunday 20 September. Tickets are R70 via Quicket.