It is not often that a debut album impresses without having seen the artist play live. That is until Trevor Rebello (pictured), a young musician from Edenvale. Like, who comes from Edenvale?
He laughs when I tease him with the question. He had agreed to meet me in Melville where he and his guitar were going to give me live renditions from his self-financed debut album, Horses.
After hearing his album via a friend, I was so taken by his voice, his heartbreakingly honest lyrics which are all carried by his quirky rock/pop sound, that I had to experience his music in the flesh.
So it was noon on a Jozi spring day that we sat on an outside corner couch at a venue in 7th Street and Rebello bared his heart and soul through his music.
“I have always wanted to play music for a living,” he explains before he starts.
“It’s not about the fame and the riches. It’s about people knowing who I am. I play with a piano and sometimes a full band.”
He makes sure I know that it is not just him and his guitar.
“If I had just done me and my guitar when I was recording it would have been a hipster thing. Also, I would get bored if I wrote just for me. I like writing for a full band.
“I am trying to have the E Street Band sound. I am a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen. I saw him and the band perform a few months back. It was amazing.”
It is a very hard thing to play one-on-one for a complete stranger in the middle of the day and in the beginning I felt guilty, even a bit cruel. However, I figured, if you wanna be a musician and be out there…
Those negative feelings were replaced by awe. This was such a heartfelt experience. This young man is so emotional and his lyrics are painfully personal. There is a track called The Love You Sell which is about an Edenvale father who got into trouble in the media for having his very young daughter ride on a motorbike with him. There is another track about loss with lyrics such as: My soul has been breaking since I was 10 years old.
The song is about Rebello losing his father when he was only 11. It is so emotional and he performs it with such emotion that I am almost reduced to tears.
“All my songs are personal, but aside from this one, every song I normally write is in riddles. The album is about getting to a point in your life where you realise that you haven’t achieved what you wanted to achieve. The theme of horses is maybe about watching a slow racehorse. Eventually it will be shot and sent to the glue factory. It’s like having foolish resistance.”
There are stark comparisons in his life as, although he’s been in a few bands, he’s always had a day job. Reading between the lines this seems to have interfered with his dream of being a musician. However, with Horses he has decided to take a step closer to his desire.
“Horses is a reflective album and I definitely have more to say than when I started 10 years back. I don’t write poetry, but my lyrics could be poetry. If it is not dark or dirty, why bother?”
• Horses by Trevor Rebello is available at www.bandcamp.com.