Chris-Jean Saulse, a 24-year-old musician from Kensington, has one goal he is set on achieving: to encourage and inspire the youth to follow their dreams every day.
Saulse, who’s stage name is Drew Pokey, is originally from Joubertina in the Eastern Cape and moved to Cape Town a few years ago to pursue a career in music.
His passion for music was sparked at just eight years old. “Back in 2004, I was at home channel surfing. I came across an Eminem music video and I was hooked from that very moment. His artistry drew me in, in a way like no other performer and I’ve been a goner ever since.”
Saulse says his circumstances did not allow him to study music, but the passion drove him, so he taught himself. “I come from a very poor part of South-Africa where studying music was beyond the reach of most of us. I taught myself where writing and music production is concerned, but I received some vocal training from Luvo, the church choir master of the time.”
He says in 2007 he started making music from a friend’s bedroom. “My friend and I were messing around on a music production computer program in his room and we created ‘Jy Moenit Net Glo’, our first track.” It was a proud moment he says he will always remember.
Saulse recalls that his first performance was in 2008 at Joubertina Community Hall when he was the opening act for local rapper Early B. He says after that performance he was convinced that making music was his dream. “Early B was doing a national promo tour and visited Joubertina. My crew and I were booked to open the show and after that performance I knew being on stage, performing my original music is what I wanted the most.”
His dream is to one day collaborate with Early B.
He says moving to Cape Town did not come without challenges. But he came in order to better his life.
“I grew up with very little resources, a future outside of Joubertina was not encouraged, but I do not want any child to feel the helplessness I felt back in the day. I would like to encourage and inspire kids, it’s important.”
Saulse says he is influenced by soul music from the early 2000s. “It’s a big part of the music I create. I find that a lot of today’s popular music has a short shelf life so I try my best to create songs which will sound fresh a decade or two from now.”
The artist says he focuses on creating original songs and finds joy in producing music from scratch.
He explains that his music seeks to portray a positive message. He adds that music has helped him cope with the many curve balls life has thrown at him.
“I try to cater to people who enjoy music and I try to make my sound as universally appealing as possible. People’s music tastes differ but I do my best to create something for everyone.”
He says as an aspiring artist, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been devastating. “Our artists are in desperate need of support, we haven’t all been able to work so times are even tougher than before. We need you to help us so that we can keep on entertaining you.”
Saulse adds that the pandemic has also taught him valuable life lessons. “Covid 19 has changed my goals this past year, the things I thought were important before are not as important anymore. I feel like I want to give more of my time and resources to empowering our youth.”
He says his music can be found on music streaming platforms and videos are available on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
“Just search for Drew Pokey,” he says.