I was born in 1986 in Carnarvon in the Karoo in the Northern Cape province and grew up in a small town in South Africa called Humansdorp. For those who are into surfing, you may know J’Bay or Jeffreys Bay in South Africa. Humansdorp is about 10 minutes from J’Bay.
Who was Cobus before YouTube?
I was very inquisitive from a young age and wanted to understand everything. I never particularly excelled at sports or any other extra-curricular activity, and although I had a wonderful and happy childhood, I never really had a lot of confidence.
When I was 16 years old, I played the drums for the first time and that gave me an outlet and a source of confidence I had never experienced before.
Long before YouTube and drum covers, I enjoyed playing the drums along to my favourite music.
COBUS & YOUTUBE
How were you introduced to YouTube?
As most people my age, I was quite active online and had a good idea about which websites were gaining traction and what was happening on the Internet.
I can’t remember exactly where I heard about it for the first time but I remember finding out about YouTube before most of my fellow South Africans did, mostly because broadband access in South Africa at that stage was very limited and very expensive, making it very difficult for a video-sharing website to gain traction.
I remember loving the idea of such an open platform, being able to post anything for the world to see.
Even though I was quite a shy and introverted guy, there was something inside me that responded to the possibility of performing for people – from the comfort of my room, in a very controlled way.
What do you think are the benefits for using YouTube to build a music career (or any other career)?
YouTube (or any social media website) makes it possible to share anything within your comfort zone.
You don’t have to travel to a TV station, speak in front of thousands of people or even be trained or qualified to do so. You can connect with people in a way that suits your personality. This widens the playing field enormously. Shy and introverted people might discover an amazing talent for performing that they would have been completely unaware of otherwise.
It also enables people to build a following and possibly a career without sacrificing their day-job, which is an amazing opportunity.
It’s played an important role in your career to date. What role do you think it will play in the future?
The most important aspect of any social media platform is that it connects you to all your supporters in a very seamless and efficient way.
I am able to share my drumming and interact with those watch it, and get to know the people who support me. I don’t think that will ever change.
Some parts of my career are moving in a slightly more conventional direction but being able to connect with those who support me most is an invaluable tool on so many fronts, and something that I foresee being a big part of my career in future.