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South African Singer Vicus Visser Gets Ready For American Debut

posted 10 Feb 2013, 16:40 by Mpelembe   [ updated 10 Feb 2013, 16:41 ]

YouTube sensation Vicus Visser makes his America debut at the Kennedy Center

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 10, 2013) (REUTERS) -  What began with video clip posted on YouTube of the then 10-year old Vicus Visser has led the South African singer to performing at tribute concert for Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday (February 10) at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

A video clip of Vicus singing "These Arms of Mine" by 90's R&B group 'All For One' surfaced two years ago leading record executives to search South Africa for the young singing sensation.

When he couldn't be found, South African TV and radio personality Gareth Cliff, a judge on Idols South Africa, who spread the word that scouts were looking for Visser. The young singer was finally found in Bloemfontein, no longer the child on the video but a 17-year-old.

"Life back then was kind of normal, you know, every day waking up school, playing football, soccer, you know homework but then all of a sudden my brother tells me well bro you're in the newspaper and I'm like no, you're kidding, you know, and he says no yes. You have to go buy it for you and then I read the story in and next thing I got a phone call from the Daily Sun," Visser said.

He added, "I had no idea at first that people were looking, you know, until I heard then that people were searching for me in the western Cape when I was all along in Freestate, you know. So actually from there to knowing that I was, that people were looking for me was quite kind of like, whoa what's going on, kind of like surprise."

Visser said they didn't believe it was the kid in the video when they finally found him. "They didn't even believe my mother," he said.

Sony Epic Record and Def Jam tried to sign the YouTube star but Vicus turned them down to sign a management deal with Gareth Cliff and a record deal with South African company David Gresham Records.

"I think it's better to take things slow then to rush to quick fame or quick anything, to rush into anything so basically I made my decision cause an education for me is very important so I just had to finish my matric and from there on, and because I'm proudly South African firstly, and so I just took the initiative to just finish my matric and then from there on I'm pursuing my career," Visser said.

Visser has finished matriculation and now lives in South Africa's economic capital,Johannesburg, where he is currently recording an album and has been rehearsing for his American concert debut.

Visser will perform his first concert overseas to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King at the Kennedy Center after the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. asked him to represent South Africa.

"It's very overwhelming being here to represent such a big icon, two icons, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, it's kind of like carrying the nation's pride on my shoulders so I'm hoping I can make them proud."