Considering he has spent more than half a century on stage and has 11 gold albums under his belt, it’s safe to say that Cape Town musician Tommy Dell is one of South Africa’s living country legends.
The “Teddy Bear” and “Little Rosa” hit-maker will be bringing these and other country favourites to this year’s Bakgat Country Opskop at GrandWest’s Grand Arena on Sunday 4 June.
Tommy will share the stage with fellow country legends Lance James, Matt Hurter and Dennis East, as well as stars like Steve Hofmeyr, Elizma Theron, Ricus Nel, Manie Jackson, Leah, Pieter Mohr and Die Broers, newcomer Elandré Schwartz and the Bakgat Country Opskop nine-piece band, The Banned.
Just five years old when he first started singing, today Tommy is an accomplished singer, songwriter, performer, vocal coach, comedian and radio presenter. Although he admits time management isn’t his strongest suit and it’s sometimes difficult to juggle all his hats, he adds: “My first love is music, so there is always a plan to be made.”
Tommy studied classical music and opera with Professor Gregorio Fiasconaro at the Cape Town School of Music before working with the likes of Mimi Coertse and Gé Korsten.
His accomplishments include winning the Stars of Tomorrow competition, South Africa’s Battle of the Bands competition and the OK Gallo competition, which he considers some of his career highlights.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Tommy was afforded the opportunity to represent South Africa three times at the International Country Fanfare Show in Nashville in the USA, where he got to perform with Elvis Presley’s backing band, The Jordanaires and to meet stars like Dolly Parton and Conway Twitty.
After all this time, he says it’s his fans and audiences around the country that inspire him to keep on performing. “It’s a special buzz.”
When he isn’t on stage, however, fans can hear Tommy on Radio Helderberg where he works as a presenter. He says a previous station manager invited him onto a show “and I never left!”
He’s been the voice of the station’s morning show for many years and now also presents a show over the weekends, playing “country and a bit of everything”.
“I thoroughly enjoy the communication with my listeners and the feedback.”
His fans will be excited to hear that Tommy is planning to release new material soon.
He’s working on an album that will contain songs that have never before been released on CD. Also on the cards is a memoir, which will give country lovers an insight into his career, along with some of his most memorable anecdotes and a glimpse of his interactions with international stars.
Tommy says he’s looking forward to performing at the Bakgat Country Opskop in June. “It’s always great to perform at GrandWest. It’s great to meet the fans and of course to see and kuier with my buddies in the business.”
In the meantime, fans can catch him in action at the Root 44 Market on the R44 in Stellenbosch on Mother’s Day (Sunday 14 May) from 12:00, where he and Pieter Mohr will be offering a taste of what to expect from this year’s Bakgat Country Opskop.
The concert on Sunday 4 June starts at 15:00, making it a great outing for the whole family. Tickets cost between R170 and R225 and are already available at Computicket.
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