South African singer-songwriter, David Vermeulen, made his explosive mark on the Knysna music scene at just 16 years of age. With a musical grounding in every genre imaginable, his unique brand of Acoustic Blues-Rock defines him as one of South Africa’s most talented rising stars. His fearless originality and extraordinary skill on the guitar reminds one of a young Dave Matthews.
Inspired by such greats as The Beatles, David’s love of music was sparked at an early age. Hearing the simple melodic phrase, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, was all it took to ignite this spark. At 7, David began learning the guitar. It was soon apparent that he had a natural aptitude for the instrument, and his diligence lead to rapid progress. He vowed to pursue music as his chosen career, and to date has never once deviated from that decision.
Like many great musicians, David’s initial musical education consisted of classical training. Under the tutorage of Johann Rautenbach, he received straight distinctions up to Trinity Grade 5 Classical, as well as being awarded the “Guitarist of the Year” trophy in the Knysna/Plett Eisteddfod. Critics credited him with “ high degree of stylistic awareness, seamless sync, and effortless continuity.”
Eventually, he became anxious to branch out into other genres, and purchased his first electric guitar. Taught by friend and mentor, Cuan Korsten, his transition into blues was easy and natural. He befriended many musicians and teachers, absorbing and implementing much skill and technique through observing them. David credits this “Blues phase” as the most important in his musical development, having emerged from it with the ever-growing gift of improvisation and a renewed respect for music in all its forms.
He began gigging at 15, starting off in small, local venues, including house concerts. As his reputation spread, local promoters were keen to offer him slots at various festivals. In December 2010 he opened for famous folk-artist Shawn Phillips.
After spending the first year of his performing career playing covers, David became increasingly keen to start writing and playing his own material. Completing Trinity Grade 8 guitar, he felt it necessary to expand his knowledge of music outside the comfort of his favourite instrument. Seeking inspiration from Dave Matthews and John Mayer (to name a couple) he started honing his own song-writing skills, recording his first song, “Great Expectations” at the end of 2010, with well-known South African producer Howard Butcher (Peace of Eden Music Studios).
Though the guitar is his most accomplished instrument, one must not overlook David’s vocal ability. His tone varies from husky, rivalling James Morrison, to the smooth sounds of Jason Mraz, whilst the diverse melodies he employs display his wide range. He is also a skilful and expressive harmonica player, and has done harp sessions for other recording artists in the Western Cape area of South Africa.
David is currently working on material for his debut album, which he hopes to release in the year 2012. Loyal fans continue to flock to his live shows as they eagerly await the release of his next recording. With his undeniable talent and absolute dedication, he is sure to far exceed their already-high expectations.
Written by Malianna Korsten
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