YOLANDE DU PREEZ
For more than a decade, Christine Matthee has dazzled European audiences with her performances in tributes to artists such as Donna Summer, Tina Turner and Whitney Houston, and soon Cape Town audiences will be treated to her talent at the Joseph Stone Auditorium.
The Hout Bay born and bred singer got her big break in 2003 when she was given the opportunity to join Ponsa Espectaculos, a Spanish-based music production company. Known to European audiences as Christine Jaye, she performed in a Motown group with three other singers and enjoyed the tranquility of life in Malaga.
At the time of joining Ponsa Espectaculos, her daughter, Jiiah was only 18 months old.
“It was very difficult in the beginning to leave her behind but it became easier with time,” she said.
She would work abroad in the summer months, from the beginning of May till the end of October and then return home for the winter to spend time with her family and Jiiah, now 14.
“After returning home from my first six months away, I recall my mother and daughter waiting for me at the airport and as I approached them my mother told my daughter “look there is mommy” and she started crying saying “that is not my mommy”, she said.
Ms Matthee was first introduced to music when she started singing in church with her siblings.
She later joined the choir at Sentinel Primary School and started performing in restaurants across the city after she matriculated from Hout Bay High School, in Hangberg.
Four years after joining Ponsa Espectaculos, she went solo, performing tributes to Tina Turner, Whitney Houston and Donna Summer in venues across Spain.
“It was an amazing experience and the shows were very popular,” she said.
But in 2014 she decided to return to her hometown for good to be with her family. She then joined Main Events SA, a community-based promotional company, and starred in performances such as the Great Pretenders, The Queens and Hit Express.
And now South African audiences can see her on stage performing songs from the feature film The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale as well as other hit tunes by diva Whitney Houston.
The show will be backed by the Allstar Band with supporting act singers Janine Jessica, Ruth Knight, Bruno Hernandez and the Groove Kings.
As an avid fan of Whitney Houston, Ms Matthee says her biggest challenge is the expectations of audiences.
“I want people to enjoy themselves and to be satisfied with my performances and it is difficult to please everyone,” she said.
But one thing that she can guarantee is that audiences will be blown away by the show.
Main Events SA owner, Jayson King said Ms Matthee is passionate about her work.
“Her personality projects the characters she represents and she is a genuine and sensible musician.
“She is very disciplined, punctual and professional and always a pleasure to work with,” he said.
Mr King said she has done extensive work in Europe and the future is looking bright for her as neighbouring countries including Zambia, Mozambique and Bot-swana have shown interest in her talent.
Main Events SA contributes 50 percent of ticket sales to charity events and homes for the aged based on the Cape Flats which assist with ticket sales. Ms Matthee’s soulful voice can be heard on Saturday April 2 and on Friday May 27, at 8pm. Tickets cost R120 and bookings can be made by calling Naju on 021 633 4299 or 021 633 9137.