SPECIAL FEATURE: EMO ADAMS
Channel24 spoke to musician and presenter Emo Adams about taking over the reins from Johan Stemmet on Noot vir Noot and his new talent show Maak My Famous.
Cape Town - It's Friday afternoon, and Kloof Street is bustling as I make my way to a coffee shop to meet Emo Adams.
He is the man of the moment - on Thursday, SABC 2 announced that he will be taking over the reins from Johan Stemmet on the channel's longest-running show Noot vir Noot.
After 29 years and handing out a lot of vyftig randjies (fifty rands), Johan hung up his waistcoat in January. (Read more here)
It may be the end of an era, but it is also the ushering of a new one with great potential.
Before our interview kicks off, a fan comes up to Emo and asks to take a selfie with him, "I am such a big fan of yours," says the fan, with the broadest smile.
Emo graciously agrees and takes the picture himself.
This happens several times while we sit outside at Mustacchio Caffe - passer-by’s say hello, people even shout from their cars, "Emo!"
There is no doubt that he is very popular and liked by people of all ages and races.
Emo admits that it's been a bit overwhelming since the news broke that he will be the new host of Noot vir Noot.
"It's only when the news broke that I realised the weight of it."
He says it was a surreal experience when Johan asked him if he was interested in taking over from him.
"I didn't even know if he was joking at the time. He told me that he has been following my career and saw how hard I worked and how I built my brand.
"When you get a call from Johan Stemmet - the man you watched on TV as a child - the world stops."
Emo accepted the job, and now the work begins. Rehearsals start this week, with filming for the show set to kick off in May.
With a new host comes some changes to the format - one of the significant changes is the replacement of the Musiekfabriek band by DJ Shelley, whose real name is Rochelle De Bruyn.
Speaking about the changes, Emo says that the production company is very smart in how they are tackling it.
"They came to me and told me how they would like to make the transition. They said, 'If we just put you in Johan's shoes then everyone is going to compare you to Johan. We are going to be making minor tweaks here and there.'
"I was appreciative of this. They are embracing my energy and my crazy – at the same time they are not making erratic changes because the aim is not to lose their audience – the aim is to gain a younger audience too."
With Johan still on the show as executive producer and director, Emo is at ease knowing that he is still in the background.
"It is essential for me that the essence of what he wants still gets executed. Johan Stemmet is a legend. He can bring people of all ages and races together.
"Knowing that he is there in my corner makes the transition so much easier."
MAAK MY FAMOUS
As we chat, I quickly learn that Emo is big on giving back to the community. That is how the idea for the talent show, Maak My Famous was conceived.
(Emo Adams and the Maak My Famous team)
"I didn’t start the initiative for it to become a television show. The only thing that was on my mind is that I am in a position to take someone who wants to be in the industry on tour with me.
"I got fed up with some of the show on TV where kids get criticised on how they look and not on their talent or their ability. You desensitise the audience and make that the norm. And I want our kids and their talents and differences to be celebrated."
In October last year, Emo invited people to enter his talent competition by sending in an audition via WhatsApp. The winner will walk away with a year contract with All Star Productions & Record and tour with Emo in 2019.
He received 6000 plus entries, and that's when kykNet approached him to turn it into a TV show, for which he is the host, executive producer and creative director.
"I went and watched other shows and looked at what I would do differently and what I would want to improve. The big difference with this show is that we eliminated the judge. We give the power to the people right from the beginning of the show."
A live audience will determine which talent goes through to the next with Emo holding an 'Emo ticket' to put anyone through.
The show starts with a top 48 and then it goes down to the top 10. (Meet the top 48 here)
Emo teases that there are a lot of twists that will surprise the viewers.
"Before we reach the top 10, I give the talent a choice – money/opportunity. They will then have to choose - do they want the money or the opportunity."
"Through this, I want to know why you are entering – if you are entering for the money they leave. We are trying to build pioneers/businessman/people who can sustain a career in the industry."
He beams with pride as he speaks about the show, having just seen the first episode himself — he is excited for viewers to see it on Thursday, 18 April at 20:00 on kykNet (DStv 144).
"The talent we found are hidden gems that never get the opportunity. I cried so much during this process. People will be pleasantly surprised: It looks international, and it sounds international."
A HARD WORKING FAMILY MAN
2019 is shaping up to be a red-letter year for Emo.
Earlier this month he celebrated his 41st birthday, he has two shows coming to television and his wife Michelle is expecting their fourth son, due in May.
"So many things have happened for me this year already! My feet haven’t touched the ground yet."
Still pending this year is an Australian Tour and a Maak My Famous Tour.
With so much on his plate, I ask him if he ever winds down.
"Before I thought when I work hard, I make a lot of money, and money was the end goal. Since having a family, I realise that the memories I create with them are more important. My money goes to my kids, education and mini vacays.
"It is important for me that my wife and kids remember me as a formidable husband and father. My wife is amazing. If it weren’t for her. I would not have been able to do half of the things that I do.
"You need someone to hold down the fort when you are grinding and working. I applaud her. She is the rock on which many of my successes have been built."
(Photos supplied: Nelis Engelbrecht Photography Light Lounge Studios)