Love the life you live. Live the life you love – Bob Marley
Meet Simple Stories.
They’re fresh, they’re interesting and they ooze talent.
The proud Bloem boys are re-writing singer-songwriter simplicity with their cool acoustic sound and their proper muso talent.
It’s no secret, the SMART Team loves a good tune, but when someone REALLY has something to say and they do it by playing not 1, not 2, but a multitude of instruments, you know that you’re in for a treat.
Bloemfontein has an incredible pool of creative talent and the charming Simple Stories is certainly right up there with the best of them.
We love supporting local and we’re proud to introduce our latest SMART Collab with Bloem band Simple Stories.
Take note. You’ll be hearing a lot about these crafty storytellers in future.
Full Time Husband, Musician and Band Member of Simple Stories.
Full time musician.
Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones – Keith Richards
So, what’s your story?
Where were you born?
CJ: I was born in Bloemfontein.
Naledi: I was born in Bethlehem, then moved to Bloemfontein in the year 1999.
Sam: I was born in Nairobi, Kenya.
Where did you go to school?
CJ: I attended Brebner Primary School and completed my matric at Saint Andrews School in Bloemfontein.
Naledi: I attended Grey College from Pre-Primary all the way to High school.
Sam: My kindergarten and First grade I was in Johannesburg and then I went to school at CBC St Joseph’s Bloemfontein until Matric.
Where and what did you study?
CJ: I studied at the University of the Free State and completed my Bcom Accounting degree in 2014.
Naledi: I studied Psychology at the University of the Free State.
Sam: I studied at the University of the Free State, graduating with a degree in Corporate and Marketing Communication Sciences.
What was your childhood dream?
CJ: My Childhood dream was to become a Paramedic, I have always been interested in the thrill of it all.
Naledi: My Childhood dream was to always be an architect like my dad, but that changed when I realised that it wasn’t my dream.
Sam: I wanted to be an Engineer for some reason. Seemed cool at the time.
What was your first job?
CJ: I have always been a go getter so I have done some of the weirdest jobs you can think of but the first payslip I received was as a bookkeeper at an NGO in Bloemfontein.
Naledi: My First ever job was making music with Simple Stories, then we all got “real jobs”. I went to go work at Office Creations selling office furniture then got headhunted to manage and run a music shop, then eventually quit my “real Job” to do music full time again.
Sam: First job that I ever had was a cashier at Mr Video. Went on to be an Account Executive later on at a company called TBWA\OpenCo.
What instruments do you play?
CJ: My very first exposure to music was on the Piano, I then learnt how to play the guitar and I am currently busy learing how to play the saxophone.
Naledi: I play acoustic guitar, bass guitar, percussion and a bit of keyboard.
Sam: I play a little bit of the guitar and piano/keyboard. But my main instrument is my vocals.
Advice that shaped you career?
CJ: I wouldn’t say that there is a specific word of advice that has shaped my career, I think that being surrounded by the right people has shaped my career.
Naledi: There are many things I’ve been told that have shaped my career, but the most important is a word from God I recieved in 2018 that says “A man’s GIFT will make room for him and bring him before great men.” Proverbs 18:16.
Sam: No advice necessarily, but in my high school and varsity days I was very involved in music. I think that’s what guided me to my career.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
CJ: The need for a cup of coffee.
Naledi: My Wife! On a serious note though, she is my biggest inspiration. She is a medicine student and the way she applies herself to her studies inspires me to apply myself to my craft! Also, this is a God givien gift, so me not using it to its fullest is like a slap in Gods face.
Sam: The thought of a good breakfast. lol
What motivates you?
CJ: Being able to provide for my family.
Naledi: What motivates me the most is other musicians and artists stories. The story to success is almost similar, so when you hear the same challenges that people go through, it kinda lets you know that everything is gonna work out in the end!
Sam: My family and my incredible girlfriend.
How do you spend your down time?
CJ: I try to do as little as possible when I get any down time. I love spending time with myself, taking care of my mental and spiritual being.
Naledi: I play golf or i spend time with my friends because I’m an extreme extrovert.
Sam: Series, good food, doing absolutely nothing and just clearing my mind. Self-care is important.
What does success look like to you?
CJ: I don’t believe that success is something that you can see with the eye, but if I really had to paint a picture, I would paint a man and his family laughing and having a good time.
Naledi: Success to me is being able to do what your heart desires to do without restraints.
Sam: Success for me is enjoying what you do and loving every moment of it. Living a life with no regrets and caring for those you love most.
What sets Simple Stories apart as a band in the South African Music scene?
CJ: There is one very obvious thing that sets us apart and that is how our voices and personalities blend but what I believe really sets us apart is our work ethic and drive to make the dream work.
Naledi: I think what sets us apart is that we are the peopels band. We LOVE people! People matter. There isnt anything more important!
Sam: We are willing to grind and put in the work that not a lot of artists are willing to do. We call it “Test Cricket” mentality.
What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt in you music career thus far?
CJ: That music is for the people, once you start doing it for yourself then you have lost the plot.
Naledi: In the famous words of Dory on Find Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming”. That has been the most valuable lesson I have learnt.
Sam: Hard work truly pays off and building long lasting relationships with people is what will help carry you through.
What makes a great musician?
CJ: Being a great musician comes from perfecting your craft, whatever it might be.
Naledi: I think having an ear makes a great musician. It takes a really good ear to become a well rounded musician.
Sam: A great musical ear and just being yourself. Makes for the uniqueness.
Give me 3 words that describes you best?
CJ: Entertainer, lover, resilient
Naledi: A Lion Heart
Sam: Humble, shy, musical
What are your 3 biggest accomplishments in your music career thus far?
- Winning A Golden Bean award.
- Recording our first EP.
- Hearing songs that I wrote on the radio.
- I would say the people that music has introduced us to.
- Selling out an entire theatre for our EP launch and
- the way our music makes people feel.
- Being able to do music full time.
- Showcasing our talent across the country.
- And being happy that I can do what I love everyday.
I wish I could tell my 22-year-old self:
CJ: Keep trusting your Gut, it has never been wrong and it never will be. Oh and stay away from girlfriend number 3!
Naledi: Well I’m 24, haha, so I guess what I would tell my 22 year old self is, “YOU’RE DOING JUST FINE!”
Sam: Don’t worry so much. Everything is going to work out.
Your hidden talent:
CJ: I am a pretty decent hockey player, I have played both provincial and national hockey.
Naledi: I am a really good driver, like, I surprise myself behind a steering wheel.
Sam: I’m a pretty good pool player and a good swimmer
What other musicians do you look up to?
CJ: I look up to a lot of musicians, especially those who write their own music.
Naledi: I look up to Ed Sheeran the most because he has always been true to himself. He is down to earth too!
Sam: A lot to mention that have guided me through my life, but mostly old school music that my parents used to play in the house all the time.
What is one characteristic that you believe every great musician should possess?
CJ: Every great musician must first believe that they are great, so self-belief is the one thing for me.
Naledi: The ability to play well with others, on and off the stage.
Sam: Good character.
What advice would you give someone starting their career in music?
CJ: Being a full time muso is not like any other career. If you are in it for the Glitz and Glam then I advise you to become an accountant instead.
Naledi: Treat it like test cricket, this is not a sprint, it’s a very long marathon and never be afraid to ask for help!
Sam: Nothing happens overnight. It takes time, but if you keep at it and work hard, it will work out.
Be a true Heart, not a follower ―
- Colour: Black
- Food: Pap en Melk
- Drink: Wiskey
- Band: Simple Stories
- Singer: Bruno Mars
- Brand: Apple
- Happy place: Anywhere my family is
- Car: Toyota Hilux
- If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be and why? I would have loved to have had a conversation with Nelson Mandela about nothing in particular, just to hear the stories that he has to tell.
- Quote: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye”
- Book or Magazine: The subtle art of not giving a F#@k
- Colour: Red
- Food: Pasta & Pizza
- Drink: Jameson and Good Wine, also Orange Juice
- Band: Vulfpeck, The Muffinz, Coldplay,
- Singer: Ed Sheeran, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake
- Brand: Adidas, Nike, Gucci, LV, Fila & Simon Marry
- Happy place: At home (My Wife), On stage, at church and with friends
- Car: Golf GTI, BMW 5 Series…
- If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be and why? Bob Marley, because his music is loved by all races and is still being sung today! That’s impact!
- Quote: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right!”
- Online inspiration: Gary V
- Colour: Green
- Food: Ribs
- Drink: Tropika Orange Juice
- Band: Simple Stories/Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals
- Singer: Daniel Caesar/H.E.R
- Brand: Adidas
- Happy place: Headphones with good music
- Car: Ford Ranger
- If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be and why? I would love to meet Will Smith. I just think that we have a lot in common.
- Quote: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”
- Book or Magazine: The Secret
- Online inspiration: Will Smith
- Band on the run by Jeani Meyer for Hello Smart Blog
- Simple Stories Band for Hello Smart Blog
- FJ Potgieter for Eye Poetry Photography
- Bloemfontein inner city
Have a listen to Simple Stories in action below!