Jethro Tait started playing guitar at the age of 13 and later forming a garage band with Matthew Mole, Jethro has a foundation in acoustic sounds but has dabbled in electronic music as well. Influenced by the likes of Jon Bellion and Ed Sheeran, Jethro has centered himself as a pop artist with original music that is catchy enough to have you singing along in no time.

After signing a publishing deal with Universal Publishing in 2013, Jethro took his first step into the industry as a songwriter. He has since penned songs for The Voice season 2 winner, Craig Lucas (charting singles “I Said This” and “Smother,”) as well as Majozi, Mathew Gold and Richard Stirton (The Voice Season 1 winner.)

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 before deciding to part ways and pursue solo careers.

Having just signed a record deal with Universal Music South Africa and releasing his first offering (featuring on the smash hit “Running Wild” with Pascal and Pearce, which is close to Gold-certification) Jethro has his sights set on becoming one of the country’s top singer-songwriter talents.

With that said, we had a lekker chat with Jethro… check it out!

Hi there. Thanks for your time. You released your debut single, One for the Books, a while ago, how has the reception been on the single?

Thank you. The reception has been good! It’s been a little slower on the radio than I had hoped but it’s done really well on Spotify. I’ve been added to some big international playlists and my streams and monthly listeners are growing nicely, so I’m really happy with that.

You’ve been a songwriter for Universal’s artists for quite some time, how did that happen, and how was it working with some of the artists?

Songwriting for other artists was never really the plan and more something that I just fell into by accident because I had a lot of songs I wasn’t able to release myself. I signed with Universal Publishing in 2013 and my first placement was a song called “Stay With Me” which went to Majozi for his EP “Mountains.” I didn’t really do much writing for other artists after that until 2016 where I wrote a song for Mathew Gold called “Holy Moment” and then when The Voice SA came I started working with Richard Stirton and wrote “Dance” with him. The end of last year was when I had my first real success as a songwriter while writing with season 2 The Voice SA winner Craig Lucas for his debut album. I wrote his first single “I Said This” and co-wrote his second single “Smother” with him which was then later released as a duet with SA idols winner Paxton. I also co-wrote two other songs on the album with Craig titled “Young and Stupid” and “Burning.” It’s always fun working with other artists. It was really great working with Craig because it was my first time writing a body of work with someone rather than just coming in for a session here and there. I feel like we have a very similar way of writing and worked off of each other really well!

You now have a record deal with Universal Music, how has that impacted your career as a musician?

It’s been really great! It’s the best feeling having a team behind you that believes in you and trusts you enough to do your own thing. It always helps to have a huge company like Universal backing you and they’ve opened a lot of doors for me.

How was it working with Pascal & Pearce working and delivering Running Wild for you?

I had the best time working with Pascal and Dave. They’re such great guys and I couldn’t pick better artists to work with! Running Wild was one of those happy accidents where everything just fell into place. I initially met with P&P to do some songwriting not expecting to be on a track myself because I was still in contract with Four. When I left Four the track was still open and everything happened pretty quickly from there. We’re all really happy with how well the song has been received!

In your opinion, what is the hardest aspect of being an artist in South Africa?

In my opinion, the industry is still really small. I feel like most people in SA are more focused on what’s happening in music internationally rather than what the local up and coming artists are doing, especially in pop music. I feel like pop music in SA has a very low ceiling and it’s really difficult to make it into that top tier or artists that actually manage to break out. I think that’s why a lot of artists go overseas. If you’re not making Urban or Afrikaans music in SA it’s really difficult to make a solid career for yourself.

What is next for Jethro Tait, and where can people get hold of you?

I’m currently working on an Album/EP so I’m hoping to get that done ASAP. I would really like to keep building up my live show as well and start performing at more of the great festivals happening around SA. You can get hold of me on all social media platforms, my handle is @JethroTaitMusic

Photos by Oxana Nacu Photography