Tafelsig songbird embraces stutter

Jodi Jantjies, from Tafelsig, on stage.

A Tafelsig singer is hitting life’s high notes as she launches a mini album, her first music video and a YouTube concert.

Jodi Jantjies, 20, was discovered during an audition at Cedar High School of the Arts, in Rockland in 2016. The audition was part of the Crescendo competition run by the Afrikaans Language and Culture Association, or Afrikaans: Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV).

While Jodi has a stutter, she says Crescendo helped her embrace it and believe in her abilities to write music and sing.

“That day, when they saw me in 2016, that day my life changed drastically,” she says. “They forced me to believe in myself and just to be who I am. They invested in me. I would not be where I am without them.”

While she was unable to do many shows last year because of Covid-19, she used lockdown to work on some songs. Her mini album, or extended play (EP), features three of her own songs and a cover of Annelie van Rooyen’s Ek Glo.

Jodi wrote It’s My Song in 2017, and she rewrote Lied Van My Hart and Armageddon last year.

It’s My Song tells of her awakening and awareness that her speech impediment does not define her. With lyrics like “crowds will have to listen, this is my song”, she says she can still speak through her music.

Singer Jodi Jantjies.

Her music video, which was shot in Stellenbosch about two weeks ago, and a video of her performing at the Jazz on Red, in Long Street, will appear on the ATKV Crescendo YouTube channel, from Friday March 12.

The Afrikaans literature major is in the final year of a BA at the University of the Western Cape and says she loves words as much as she loves music.

She is one of five children, and her elder brother, Adrian Jantjies, also sings. His stage name is Adee Jay and he lives in Spain and tours with tribute shows.

Jodi says her parents, Adam and Vanessa Jantjies, are very supportive.

Crescendo scouts for new Afrikaans sounds, and each year it runs auditions to select singers and songwriters for a mentorship programme.

“Crescendo is truly the place where legends are born,” says project organiser Morné van Staden. “We first invest in people and want to discover and develop their talents.”

Gerrie Lemmer, ATKV’s chief executive officer for culture, says Jodi is far more than just a singer.

“Jodi has developed through her singing talent into an ambassador, campaigner, role model and inspiration for many young people who do not have the courage to make their voices heard,” he says. “May Jodi touch many more people with her stories and unique sounds.”