ABOUT CONNELL CRUISE
Connell Cruise is charm and charisma personified. The South African singer-songwriter has a smile to brighten any room and an attitude to match. With a stylish elegance, reminiscent of a bygone age and a boyish sense of curiosity, Connell has a love for life that has seeped into his music.
His rise in the music industry can only be described as meteoric. After being discovered locally by David Gresham Records, he released his South African debut in 2013 and received three South African Music Award nominations the following year. In April 2014, a social media frenzy surrounding the iTunes release of his single “Into the Wild” grabbed the attention of none other than music industry titan, L.A. Reid. Connell’s subsequent deal with Island Records in New York City is considered the largest and most significant record deal in South African music history, introducing him to the international music scene and trailblazing the way for a new wave of South African talent.
Connell was born in a small suburb of Johannesburg into a very musical family. His grandmother, a well-known Spanish performer who toured extensively throughout Europe, had each of her grandchildren learn a performance art at a young age. “It was a rite of passage for us,” he remembers. “My grandmother loved music and wanted us to experience that same passion for ourselves.” For Connell, she selected the piano; classical training began on his fourth birthday, and years of dedication would later earn him a qualification from Trinity College in London.
Growing up in his tight knit household, Connell was constantly exposed to a wide variety of musical genres and styles. “It was a musical melting pot,” he says fondly. This blending of styles has helped Connell’s music evolve into a fresh, multi-faceted pop sound. With infectious instrumental riffs and accessible lyrics that highlight the pop sensibility of his tracks, Connell manages to incorporate the nuances of the various genres he grew up loving along with the rhythms and sounds so essential to South Africa’s rich musical heritage. His songs are catchy, but also memorable on a deeper level, the level of a storyteller expertly and intricately weaving life experience into music and lyrics.
Since moving to New York City in 2015, Connell has toured extensively across the United States and South Africa. He has performed for tens of thousands of fans from festivals such as Bonnaroo and Firefly to iconic venues such as the Troubadour, The Highline Ballroom and Mercury Lounge. Connell has shared the stage with a vast array of musical greats; from the likes of Harry Belafonte and Adam Lambert to the Fray, SafetySuit and the American Authors.
Connell’s skill as a songwriter has earned him the opportunity to collaborate with a renowned cast of collaborators and international hit-makers; Ido Zmishlany and Daniel Kyriakides of Shawn Mendes fame, composer for the Chainsmokers; Scott Harris, One Direction hit maker John Ryan, fellow singer-songwriter Teddy Geiger and American Authors member James Shelley to name but a few. Connell has enjoyed tremendous songwriting success with his prolific body of work spanning three albums, two EPs, and 14 radio hit singles.
Connell found more than just success in New York City, he found love. Connell met his wife Sarah, a native New Yorker and certified Yoga instructor, over a dating app. One year later, in September 2016, the two tied the knot at City Hall followed by an intimate reception held in the Upper East Side. “I love being married,” Connell says, “but what I love most is being married to Sarah”. The happy couple recently celebrated their marriage in South Africa, with the high-profile nuptials being featured widely on local celebrity television shows and in magazines nationwide.
American audiences will have heard Connell’s latest U.S. release “Endless Possibilities” in the Quaker Oats commercials airing across the country just as South African fans are embracing the release of Connell Cruise’s sophomore album, “Barely Breathing,” after sending it straight to No. 1 on the iTunes album charts. Connell’s lead single from the album “All Day” has also become his career fourth No. 1 South African radio release. South African audiences will also have seen Connell Cruise in a completely new light as he takes to the dance floor as a celebrity contestant in the debut season of Mnet’s “Dancing with the Stars South Africa” - the BBC television series that has taken the world by storm.
Constantly between New York City, USA, and Johannesburg, South Africa, Connell
continues to proudly promote his South African sound to the world.