Judith Sephuma

Jazz & Solo Musician - Johannesburg
Judith Sephuma

 

South Africa's Limpopo Province Judith knew that she wanted to be a singer from an early age. After matriculating at Khagiso High School, then attended Johannesburg's legendary FUBA Academy music school in 1993, where she received her Grade 5 Music Diploma.

Judith Sephuma is a South African jazz/Afro-pop singer who shot to stardom with her debut album in 2001, where the critically-acclaimed "A Cry, A Smile, A Dance".

On the fifth season of the SABC2 reality dance competition Strictly Come Dancing she was one of the celebrity contestants from September to October 2008, by the professional dance partner Eksteen Traut.

An ambitious young guitarist who she knew from Polokwane Selaelo Selota, was one of her fellow students a man who would play a major role in her career. Other achievements included reaching the finals of the Shell Road to Fame contest in 1994, and the finals in SABC's Jam Alley Search For Talent that year.

She made a significant move In 1994 to Cape Town to study music at the University of Cape Town, graduating in 1997 with a Performer's Diploma in Jazz. While studying Jazz singing, she was also classically trained by Virginia Davids for five years. Under the supervision of Prof. Mike Campbell in 1999, Judith then gained her Honours Degree in Jazz Performance, majoring in Jazz Singing.

Judith Sephuma

 

Judith's reputation as a vocalist blossomed during her years in the Cape. Opportunities to work in bands like (fellow UCT music student) Selaelo Selota's Taola, Meropa, UCT's Big Band, The C-Base Collective and The Cape Symphonic Orchestra and performing with Jimmy Dludlu, Loading Zone and Ian Smith's Virtual Jazz Reality, as well as alongside musicians such as Jack van Poll and Gerry Spencer, and sang at many a cocktail party and private functions.

A pivotal moment came when Judith was awarded first prize for Best Jazz Vocalist at the Old Mutual Jazz Into The Future competition in June 1999 and she was signed to (then) BMG Africa’s imprint. Entering a number of music competitions previously, Giant Steps, shortly afterwards. At the North Sea Jazz Festival in Cape Town in 2000, Judith formed her own backing band and performed under her own name and in 2001 she recorded her debut, A Smile, A Cry, A Dance.

In 1996 she was invited by Spencer to travel on the Symphony cruise ship for two months, visiting exotic places like Bazaruto, Mauritious, Zanzibar, Mombasa, and Reunion. Later that same year she performed, with the band Meropa, in Nantes, France at the Fin de Siecle Festival - her first overall overseas visit 1998/1999 with the assistance of pianist van Poll, gaining much more experience performing in Europe, and among her gigs was being invited by the South African government to perform in Holland for the Mandela's Children Trust Fund.

 

 

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