Campus Life

Percy Matshoba



Vocalist, piano and flute player Sean Jacobs talks about his experience as a Jazz vocalist in South Africa. The 4th year BMus Witsie also tells Wits Vuvuzela about his greatest achievements, one of them being cast to perform at the Nelson Mandela Memorial alongside Lira.


Did you always know you wanted to sing?

I started singing from a young age. Then I stopped in grade ten and took up the flute. It was after a year course in theatre that I realised that singing is my passion. I realised that I had the desire to use my voice to translate meaning. I believe that music can be used for the social betterment of others and I enjoy doing that.


What has been the highlight of your music career?

It was when I performed at Nelson Mandela’s Memorial last year. I got to meet Lira who was also performing at the memorial. The great thing about my career path is that I also get to travel and last year I got to perform for an Investec corporate event in Mauritius which was an amazing experience.


Do you think the South African music industry has room for Jazz artists?

I think our industry is small but diverse, there is space to be different. Talent needs to be balanced with hard work, some artists depend on talent and that attitude is what fails them in the end. Musicians of all genres also needs to network, a lot, and get as many contacts as possible and make themselves known. Your lifestyle needs to be your CV.


Who inspires you?

I like listening to people who set the trends, music pioneers. I draw inspiration from different people who infuse genres cleverly like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, The Carpenters, Pharrell Williams, Marcus Wyatt and sometimes I listen to a Rock music.


If you were not doing music what would you be doing?

I would be acting. I’m very involved in the music industry and I would trade it for anything else.


What do you think about other people’s notion that a Music Degree is not like any other Wits degree?

People often look down on Music and Drama students because they don’t know that in order to do well, it takes hard work and dedication like any other degree at Wits.


 What do you do for fun?

I enjoy chilling with friends, having good conversation, food and fine wine. I like going to social events and mingling with people in and out of the entertainment industry.


Do you practice your vocals at Res?

No, if I had to practice at Res it would be disruptive to other students. I sometimes sing my room but not too loud as I would when I’m practising or performing.


What’s your favourite song at the moment?

Happy by Pharrell Williams because it best describes this phase of my life.