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Jimmy Nevis is using his tough upbringing as motivation to help young Mzansi talent grow

Jimmy Nevis. Picture: Supplied

Jimmy Nevis. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 4, 2022


By the time “Heartboxing” hitmaker Jimmy Nevis got to high school, he’d already performed at the Baxter Theatre and was well on his way to forging a lane for himself as a muso. Then, suddenly, he was gripped by fear and anxiety.

“When I got to high school, I realised that maybe singing isn’t the coolest thing. I became quite shy, which turned me into a loner and saw me withdraw into a shell,” says Nevis.

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“I just didn’t want to sing anymore, my voice was breaking, and it became an awkward time overall.”

Somewhere along the way, the singer decided to break out of his shell and no longer keep his voice a secret by auditioning for a cabaret group and singing in front of the school.

This is when he started to find his way back on the right path, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Using his experience as a reference point, Nevis wants to help other talented creatives and entrepreneurs overcome similar challenges that prevent them from breaking into their desired industries and reaching their potential through his partnership with Vuma’s “My Community Connects” project.

“Vuma created the ‘My Community Connects’ platform for talented South Africans to showcase their businesses and abilities and ultimately get noticed,” says Lianne Williams, Head of Marketing at Vuma.

“We want to help these gifted creatives and social innovators overcome hurdles preventing them from growing their brands by connecting them to mentors, upskilling them, and giving them a platform to showcase their talent.”

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Nevis shared his tips to help Mzansi talent overcome industry-related challenges and succeed in their respective fields. Here are a few of them.

Don’t wait to be discovered

“In the beginning, I didn’t believe in myself and didn’t have the confidence to get on a stage and sing. So I thought I would wait until people discovered me.

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“However, when I decided to put myself out there and knock on as many doors as possible, I began believing 100% in my craft and growing my brand,” he says.

Be aware of industry shifts and trends

“I come from the music industry, which changes almost every two years. For example, we were still selling physical CDs when I started my career. I think the only digital music channel at the time was iTunes,” Nevis says.

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“Fast-forward to today, and CDs practically don’t exist. Instead, everyone is streaming their music online and paying subscriptions.”

Create a social media presence

“The entire world is on these platforms today, which is why entrepreneurs and creatives can’t overlook them. For example, I struggle to find a business if it isn’t on a popular social platform.

“So having a presence on TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube can help make entrepreneurs and creatives more accessible to customers and fans.”

Connect with a relatable mentor

“I’m a big advocate of mentorship and having relatable mentors in the same industry as you, but, unfortunately, there’s a shortage of mentors. Thankfully, platforms like Vuma’s ‘My Community Connects’ make accessing a range of industry experts from varying backgrounds even easier.

“That’s what makes this platform so crucial to the success of the country’s aspiring entrepreneurs and creatives.”