L'Loyd, the humble star

By Drum Digital
03 November 2010

THE LITTLE boy used to have one main hero in life – Barney the dinosaur. He knew all the words to the songs the purple animal sang and had just about every DVD and CD featuring the creature. But since his dad became such a big TV star, one-year-old Levi Cele has abandoned Barney in favour of a miniature drum set, microphone and guitar. His dad is his idol now – and thousands of South Africans feel the same way.

L’loyd may not have won the coveted Idols title, losing out in a nailbiting finale to his close friend and rival Elvis Blue. But the two became firm friends during the competition and had made a pact that they would split the R500 000 cash prize between them. Which is exactly what an emotional Elvis did – and the money will surely go a long way to easing L’loyd’s disappointment.There to support him, as they have been throughout the show, were the people closest to the big man with the heart of gold: his son, Levi, and wife, Janice – the pair L’loyd missed so desperately during his 10 weeks in the Idols’ house.

Janice confesses there were times during her husband’s absence when she battled. “Some days I’d burst into tears because I had to be the man in the house, but it made me stronger,” the pretty 28-year-old says. “I also knew it was my husband’s ultimate dream and it made me so proud and happy to see him chasing it. I supported him all the way.”

We’re chatting to Janice in the family’s comfortable, toy-strewn home in Phoenix, Durban – the house the Celes might soon be leaving. Everything happens up in Joburg for musicians and L’loyd already has gigs planned, most of them in the City of Gold. Although the family hasn’t seriously discussed moving, Janice is prepared to do what it takes to help her husband make a success of his career.

He’s the guy judge Mara Louw called a superstar, the guitar-strumming, velvet-voiced singer who appealed to South Africans from all walks of life. And to top it all, he’s just so nice. The 30-year-old part-time pastor and IT consultant never forgot to thank the fans who supported him week after week.

He showed his gratitude again after he sang the new song written specially for him by record company Universal. Appropriately called Thanks to You, it had an emotional L’loyd in tears at the end.

“This song is so powerful and although I’m singing it to my supporters it’s also very much to God, who’s brought me so far,” he said. “I’m so grateful for my blessings and this song makes me think about how far I’ve come in life.”

L’loyd, who grew up in poverty, told our sister magazine YOU in an earlier interview how he escaped a life of drug addiction and gangs to find fulfilment singing in church. He was on a one-way ticket to self-destruction when he was badly assaulted one night – and it was the wake-up call he needed to change his life. He stopped taking drugs and hanging out in clubs and on the streets with his badnews friends and started concentrating on what he was good at: singing.

He wishes more people would follow his example. “There are people I know in the townships who will make you weep with their singing but they feel they can’t achieve their dreams because they don’t have the money,” he says. “I want to show people they shouldn’t give up – just look at me. If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”

Read the full article in DRUM of 11 Nove

mber 2010

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