Ricardo Groenewald

by Tanya Monteiro on 06/10/2019

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While buying a gift for a friend this weekend I was struck by the music in the store, I stayed longer than I needed to listen. Then this song came on and I had to ask the guy helping us is it was Micheal Jackson, he laughed and said no he’s a local guy.

Ricardo Groenewald was a huge hit in South Africa in the ’80s. Sadly there’s no wiki page on him but from the little available online, it seems Ricardo got his first hit at 8 years old.

He was born in the Eastern Cape town of Humansdorp. Where his father spotting his son’s singing talent early, moved the family to Joburg by the time he had started school.

His hit song “I love you Daddy” was released in 1987 and it catapulted him into a badly managed career and life, he left school in Standard 5 and never went back. At 18 he performed with Stevie Wonder in Japan but his hit was fading into memory and Ricardo’s drug and alcohol abuse took over as it so often does when money and fame come early.

He moved to Cape Town where he spent his last 21 years, making eight other albums and became a proud “man of God”.

Having been ‘pushed’ into music it landed up being the only thing he felt he knew how to do and he spent a lot of time before his death in November 2015 (age 43) advising younger musicians on how to take care of themselves. A very similar trajectory to Michael Jackson after all.

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