A former Lentegeur saxophonist returns to Mitchell’s Plain this week to promote his first album, Journey of Grace.
Denzil Gershon Erasmus, 34, left the area seven years ago, in search of the dream he had in 1997 – to play the saxophone – despite several discouraging voices. He now lives in Northcliff, Johannesburg.
Speaking to the Plainsman on Thursday November 10, he expressed his desire to inspire young people to think bigger.
“Instead of keeping your dreams locked in a fish pond, go out and swim in the ocean,” he said.
Denzil, who is signed to the Big Fish Recording label, said living in Lentegeur was like living in “kind of a drug den”, but music kept him focused.
At the age of 27, he searched for something bigger, which saw him move to Johannesburg, despite, “many external forces saying you can’t make it”.
He said drug abuse was common when he was growing up and while he was not good at academics, he was good at making music.
“Music called me to my dream,” he said.
“Everyone kept saying you would never make it, but the moment I knew what the dream was all about I could wipe out all of the negativity and never gave up,” he said.
Denzil was born and raised in Hanover Park and moved with his parents to Lentegeur in the early 1990s.
His father, Desmond, had a great love for music, while his mother, Amelia, sang in a choir.
As a baby, his mother would use music to put him to sleep.
Denzil said while growing up , they hardly had electricity or food in their house.
His mother had to work to help make ends meet.
Denzil is the only musician in the family who has made it this far.
He grew up playing the saxophone at church, which is where it all started for him.
There was always a great love for music at home, but he only had his first music lesson at Liesbeeck Primary School on recorder with classical music teacher Ms Brown, in February 1995, which he did for two years.
Denzil graduated from there and continued his musical education at Mondale High School, where he matriculated.
In May 1997, he had a dream of playing the saxophone and his mother helped to get the instrument. He practised hard and the saxophone became his primary musical instrument.
Denzil blends the sound of gospel and jazz to present a dynamic music sound.
Before leaving Cape Town seven years ago, he performed at churches, music festivals, corporate events and the club scene in between. Denzil performed at the South African Heritage Day celebration in London on Saturday September 24 and began touring South Africa about a month ago.
When he realised he had not been home for about three years, he decided to return.
Denzil spent two weeks in the studio producing his 14-track album.
“I would go home at 4am and return six hours later,” he said.
“It has been hard work,” he said.
He has sold about 4 000 copies by hand and in store sales are at more than 1 000 in both Musica and Dakota Music Warehouse.
His music video is due to be launched in Cape Town this week.
Denzil will be performing at Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) Petra Life Centre, in Rocklands, on Sunday November 20 at 9.30am.
About an hour later, he will be at House of Mercy, in Town Centre (in the KFC building).
The performances are free. For more infromation. contact Denzil at Denzilerasmusmusic@gmail.com.