Jacq, formerly known as Jacques Terre’blanche, was responsible for one of the most memorable moments in the South African Idols talent contest. Facing stiff competition form all sides, the undoubtedly talented singer decided to play dirty. Taking to the stage without a shirt was a masterful move; he may not have won the Idols crown, but he ensured a loyal teen and gay fan-base eager to swoon to his puppy-dog voice and blonde haired good looks. It’s a move he’s repeated in the publicity for his second album, Revealed.
Fully clothed, 24 year old Jacq is at first somewhat disappointing. He’s certainly a good looking guy, but without his well-toned chest on display he looks boyish – even effeminate – with that trademark long hair. He proves to possess one of those “bubbly personalities”, grinning constantly, chatting away like a machine gun. He’s instantly likeable.
He spoke to Mambaonline about his new CD, performing for his gay fans and cutting his trademark hair.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a singer or entertainer?
I never really wanted to become a performer; people encouraged me because I had talent. I was a springbok gymnast and I had to spend four hours a day training. Music was just my love – something I kept near to myself. I gave up gymnastics when I was 17 as I damaged my knee. I got into UCT where I studied jazz and classical music and Idols came along and it was all new to me; the cameras, glitz, make up, lights and action. But I knew that it was what I was meant to be doing. Performing is like gym, the “kakkest” part of gym is actually going but when you walk out of there you feel good about what you’ve just accomplished. So that’s what it’s like with music, it’s an awesome workout.
There’s always a danger that something that you love doing can become “just a job”…
Well it’s been four years now in the game. Singing the same songs every day can make that happen. A lot of the time you get sick of singing. That’s why I cater for a wide variety of audience. I think that’s what keeps you fresh and wanting more. You find inspiration wherever you can.
Your new album: Tell me about it, what makes it different from the first one and what do you want to achieve with it?
The first album was a totally jazz album. I was stubborn; saying to everyone that “just because I’ve come from Idols now, don’t expect me to do a big pop album”. It did create an identity for me; people didn’t just see me as ‘Jacques the idol’ but as someone who could make music. With the second album the aim was to simply have fun. A lot of it was original material from Denmark and London. The other 50 percent is mine. We even put some Afrikaans tracks on there. It’s a far more commercial album.
The album is called Revealed. I named it Revealed ‘cause I’m revealing my happiness and no-care attitude in the album. As I said, it’s more commercial and I am revealing that side of myself. There’s also a pic on the front cover without my shirt….
What’s with the change of name?
We’ve just rounded my name off to Jacq; it just makes my name more universal.
Is there any part of the process of making music that you prefer?
I love being in studio. It’s a passion for me. Its just lovely creating something you are proud of and then taking it out there. But I really enjoy everything; everything is equal to me. It’s like the seasons: everyone says they hate winter and prefer summer. But there’s something to enjoy in every season.
Was Idols a positive experience for you?
I was never a fan of Idols. When I said to people at varsity that I was going on Idols they laughed at me. But, of course, it does a lot for you. You can bitch and moan all you like. The fact is that you get so much exposure on that show that you can come twelfth and still become the biggest star in the world, depending on your ambition and goals that you’ve set for yourself. I’ve heard a lot of people moan about [Idols producer] support but I think I have had the same attitude before Idols as I do know. I’m busy right now not because I’m an Idol but because I’m a musician. I would recommend it to anyone that really wants it. Go in there with a goal. I promise it will do a lot for you.
The Idols experience not only helped your career but it made you a celebrity. How have you dealt with that aspect of it?
It’s obviously difficult to come out of a competition [like Idols] and have to deal with people recognising you. But I love people, I respect them and they respect me. I handle it humbly and just enjoy. You will get your odd jock who will come around and say “Fuck you, who are you? You pretty boy!”, but that stuff happens in life.
“I love the vibe and the energy of gay people.”
Are there any other South African Idols contestants that you think have done well?
I respect Heinz Winkler, I respect the hard work he has put in. He is pretty much the only one. I’m not his friend or anything and I don’t necessarily get along with him ‘cause I’ve got a naughty character and he doesn’t. I haven’t really stayed in touch with many of the Idols.
What kind of artist would you like to see yourself as in 10 to 15 years time?
Man that’s a difficult question because it’s such an unpredictable lifestyle. Like with the show that’s coming up at the Civic [a musical in which he is set to star]. That might travel to London and to Paris, and, you never know, I might want to stay in Paris. As a musician I just want to be known as the dude who was able to please everyone. Speaking musically, I feel I have the talent to hit every avenue of music, be it funk, rock, pop, jazz. I feel I have that. As corny and clichÃ©d as this may be I want to create peace and happiness with my music.
Is there any musician you really admire or would like to work with?
Well I admire Cliff Richard very much. I have met him. I am not a fan of his music but of his career and how he has always remained on top of his game. There are lots of artists out there I would like to perform with. There is Chris Martin. I would love to perform with him.
What are your thoughts about people’s perceptions of the way you look?
A lot of the time it is crappy. At the end of the day you just prove them wrong by working. You just show them that you are a real dude and you are doing what you love to do. I have never lived for what I look like. My attitude is “rather listen to me and then make your judgments”.
But your body and good looks are also a tool for you…
Definitely for girls and gay people. They want me to take my shirt off!
How do you feel about that?
Well I don’t mind actually. At a corporate gig I would not take my shirt off. However at something like Pride I am probably going to take my shirt off. Everything’s a game. You’ve just got to know how to play it. If you give your audience respect they will give you that respect back.
In terms of playing at the Queer City Mega Pride event, is this an audience that you want to cultivate?
Well I work with a lot of gay people in this industry; one of my best friends is gay. He has a doctorate in philosophy. I love people and I enjoy everyone. I want to cultivate them [gay fans] – they dig me and I dig them. One thing I have realised about gay audiences is they either love you or hate you. If they love you they will support you. I love the vibe and the energy of gay people. A lot of