The boy on the sofa is almost dwarfed by his guitar but his voice is pure as he looks at the camera with the self-confidence of a star.
In 2009 a home video of the unknown 10-year-old singer was uploaded to YouTube and more than 220 000 people have since watched it and they all wanted to know: who is this young singing sensation?
Rumour had it he lived in South Africa or South America and the search went on for months but came to nothing. Then came the breakthrough. Readers of the Daily Sun newspaper identified the youngster as Vicus Visser of Heidedal, near Bloemfontein.
Vicus is 17, in Grade 11 and his voice has broken. He didn’t know “the thing would get so big”, he says, laughing shyly. In fact until last week he didn’t even know he was an internet sensation.
Vicus is battling to come to terms with it all “because it came too quickly”.
Beside him is his mom, Elsie. “What’s happened is wonderful,” she says proudly. “I knew it would come.”
Guitar music and singing often fill Vicus’ house and what happened that day in 2004 was normal for Vicus. A few neighbourhood kids were visiting and one of them, Joseline, had a new cellphone that could record videos. “I sang and she recorded it on her phone,” Vicus says.
She sent the video to her boyfriend who must have forwarded it because before long all of Heidedal had seen it.
No one knows what became of the video or how it got onto YouTube.
“Last year a friend who works for Kovsie FM [radio station] told me he wanted to show me something. The whole world was searching for me,” Vicus says. “I was on the internet. Some people had written that I was the next Justin Bieber.”
Vicus thought it was all rather silly and ignored the attention. “Until the newspaper phoned recently.” Since then life has changed.
He’s passionate about guitar, keyboard and singing – not surprising as he has grown up in such a musical family. Elsie and stepdad Frans are keen guitar and keyboard players and Frans plays the accordion too.
“Music is our life; it’s actually the only thing we want to do,” Vicus says.
Read the full article in YOU, 10 March 2011.