Who is Kerwin?
Born in Cape Town, Kerwin moved to Paarl, and later to Hermanus, where he spent the most of his formative years. As a young boy he discovered his grandfather’s guitar in their garage, and as the late morning sun was shining in through the windows, he started drumming and strumming the dusty instrument, with his sister trying to study upstairs. There’s a flicker in his eye when he talks about this moment, the first moment that he realised he loved music, and the journey that his guitar has taken him on ever since.
After high school, during which he was part of the choir and took part in the school melodrama, he went on to study Mechanical Engineering. He describes the day after a test that was particularly hard, the lecturer entering the classroom, telling the class “if this is not what you want to do, do not do it.” It set his plan in motion; he would get a job to pay for his own mode of transport, then go out and make his dreams come true.
He got a job at Babylonstoren, where he still works as a wine tasting assistant. During one of his shifts, he was told “to reach out and get out there” by a well-known personality who he asked for some advice. This inspired him to start researching and landed him at Cosher. On the topic of Cosher, Kerwin mentions his songs, and how he wanted someone who would take care of them, and that is what he found. He clicked immediately with Ben, the producer, both being sick when he recorded his first single, Whêla (Kapela), and managed to lay it down in a day. Although he’s been writing songs for years, Kerwin picked a handful of his treasured songs, including a song he wrote in the eighth grade, and started recording. They are currently in the process of mastering, for an EP that will be released towards the end of 2018.
When I asked him about performing in front of an audience, he shared an experience at a runway show a while back. You know that moment at an event when the performers are about to start – the crowd starts to settle, but there is still some chit chat and scuffling. He starts playing, and as his vocals fill the room, the background noise disappears. He could feel the magic in that moment, with every person in the room giving their full attention to his message.
The message that he refers to is one of substance. He wants the audience to connect with his music, and feel it as personally as he does. His brand new single, RSA Love, is a beautiful tribute to his country, and how he wants to keep the love here, seeing how far we’ve actually come. He played me the song on the day, and all I could think was “summer anthem”. Give it a listen below:
From humble beginnings, to what I see as a very bright future, Kerwin is ready to put himself out there, and I’m excited to see where the road takes him.