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If Robert Pattinson was a musician, his name would be Freddie van Dango.
At first glance, Van Dango seems to be an ordinary guy who likes to grow his hair, but spend time with him and you realise he is far from average. He is the artsy type who walks and talks lazily. In fact, everything about him spells “lazy”. Yet he is a talented singer and guitarist. His friends and family made this observation and dragged him to the Idols auditions two seasons ago, something that changed his life.
“I never saw myself doing this at all,” he said, referring to his career in music. “I just had pressure from my family and friends to audition, but even then I didn’t take it seriously.”
And, as with those close to Van Dango, Idols judge Randall Abrahams also told the young man that he saw both potential and laziness in him.
Despite that, he managed to reach the Top 30 stage of the competition.
“I didn’t see the necessity of it all. To me it was just a TV show and the judges are just people making that show, so I really didn’tcare what they had to say as they were just doing their jobs,” he said.
But that did not stop him from returning to that TV show the next year to audition again. When he stepped into the audition room, he was an obvious judges’ favourite as they had seen his potential. He took it all in, pushed himself hard and made it to the Top 4.
“I think many people, like the judges, are unsure if I am a serious musician or a clown. I don’t even know. I just like to sing because singing is easy, but I am not trying to be someone else,” he slurred, because sometimes even talking is a lot of work for Van Dango.
Thanks to the Top 4 position, Van Dango was motivated to record a serious album and share some of his creativity. Titled Tonik, the 10-track compilation has Van Dango taking you inside his mind with some easy-going melodies.
“I wrote eight of the songs and was looking at doing a nice, simple, but melodic album,” he said.
And that is just what you get. Because he is a prolific writer and singer who also plays the guitar, you are spoilt for choice as the man shows off his skills.
It will come as no surprise that Van Dango lives music. In fact, he has a few of his musical friends living with him in his Melville, Joburg, home.
“We call it the House of Van Dango and we are always writing new songs,” he said.
Still on the subject of homes, when Van Dango first entered Idols he was apparently a struggling artist who slept on the couch in his friends’ homes, a fact which he feels was exaggerated. “They made me look homeless,” he said, laughing. “I just shared a room with a friend because we all believed in music, but I guess the TV show wanted to make it all dramatic and that’s fine, I guess,” he said.
• Tonik is now available.