Jethro Tait was born and raised in the small coastal town of Fish Hoek, Cape Town.
Music has always been a way for Jethro to connect with his late father, who was a musician.
At the age of 13 years old, he started learning guitar but only started taking it seriously at 15, when he started a band with the then unknown musician Matthew Mole.
After signing a publishing deal with Universal Publishing in 2013, Jethro took his first step into the industry as a songwriter.
In 2014 Jethro joined a boyband named ‘FOUR’ who went on to win The X Factor South Africa. The group went on to share the stage with international acts like One Direction and Nicki Minaj.
Having signed a record deal with Universal Music South Africa and releasing his first offering (featured on the massive Summer smash hit ‘Running Wild’ with Pascal & Pearce), Jethro has his sights set on becoming one of the country’s top singer-songwriter talents.
“Songwriting was something I always enjoyed but I never ever pictured writing for other people. It’s something I kind of just fell into. I got introduced to Universal Publishing in 2013 and signed a deal, not really knowing what it was all about. Over the years I just started sending them songs and they would also send me briefs from time to time. My first ever placement was for Majozi. The song was called “Stay With Me” and it went on his Mountains EP. I only got into songwriting more seriously in 2017 when I wrote and co-wrote a number of songs on The Voice season 2 winner, Craig Lucas’ debut album.”
You are establishing yourself as a singer, a songwriter and have already collaborated with so many great names – how do you approach writing; when writing for yourself and then writing for other artists?
“I don’t really separate the two unless I’ve been asked to join a project and write songs with a specific brief. In the beginning, a lot of the time I was just writing songs for myself without really thinking of them going to other artists. I usually just write with my guitar. I feel that if a song sounds good acoustically without all of the production and recording tricks then it’s on the right track. I always start with a chord base and then start humming melodies until I have something I like. Sometimes the words come with the melody right away, other times I’ll write lyrics once I have the melody for the song.”
If you could collaborate with anyone; producer, musicians, song-writer… who would it be and why?
“I think it would definitely be Ed Sheeran. He’s a great musician and a great songwriter. My brother, who lives in the U.K, introduced me to Ed Sheeran’s music quite early on and I was instantly intrigued by the way he wrote songs. His music (specifically his first album “+”) drastically changed the way I looked at songwriting. It would be great to meet and work with someone who had such a big impact on me as a songwriter and an artist.”
With all these incredible achievements, is there one moment that really stands out for you and why?
“I think a big moment that stands out for me was winning The X Factor South Africa with the group I was in, “FOUR.” Although the experience after the competition turned out to be a little disappointing I learnt a lot about the industry and how things actually work.”
I assume you are working on more material for yourself; tell me about the new body of work and what do you want fans/future fans to take from these songs; is there a theme running throughout, a certain message or image you want to put out there…?
“I’m busy working on an EP. It’s a couple of songs that I’ve worked on over the past year and a half. There is a theme which I don’t really want to reveal quite yet. I’ve had the title for a long time as well as the title track and it’s a very personal song for me. I’m hoping the body of work will give a better picture of who I am as an artist and the music that inspires me.”
Tell me one thing about yourself that most people don’t know?
“I’m very introverted and quite socially awkward. People always think I’m shy or rude but I’m just really bad at small talk and never know how to make conversation.”
Stranded on a Desert Island – you can only take one album with you – what would it be and why?
“At the moment I’m obsessed with Khalid’s album “Free Spirit.” I go through phases where I only listen to one artist for a couple months and at the moment. It’s that album. It kind of took me by surprise because it’s not what I generally listen to but his music is new inspiration for me at the moment.”
Who are you looking forward to watching at the OASIS experience event and why?
“Out of the acts I’ve only seen Majozi and The Kiffness live before so I’m actually keen to watch everyone! If I had to choose one I think it would be Easy Freak. I’ve known Dom and Jude for a while now but I’m ashamed to admit it will be my first time seeing them live!”
Further plans going forward; gigs, etc ?
“My main plan is to get the EP finished. I would really like to get it out before the end of the year. I will also be joining Majozi for two shows in August on his Barnyard Theatre’s tour in Johannesburg at Silverstar & Rivonia.”
Oasis Experience returns on Saturday 6 July with an epic line-up, including Tresor, Majozi, Locnville, TiMO ODV, The Kiffness, Easy Freak, Kyle Watson and Jethro Tait at the beautiful Pretoria National Botanical Garden. Tickets are on sale now from http://lovemusic.howler.co.za