Strauss Rolene’s First Album – ‘I’m sharing a lot of personal things’

The 26-year-old, who was crowned Miss South Africa and Miss World in 2014, and graduated as a medical doctor from the University of the Free State in 2017, believes a spoken word album is not as far-fetched as some people might believe.

“I participated in Miss South Africa as a 19-year-old in 2011 and was vastly unprepared. I also couldn’t speak English very well. I made such a fool of myself when I didn’t understand the question put to me on the final night,” she says.

She adds: “I picked myself up and in less than three years returned to be crowned Miss South Africa and Miss World. This album is about the lessons I learned while growing as a person during that time”.

The album, which consists of various life lessons and personal stories, is something Rolene says she has been “wanting to do for a while.”

“I’ve had so many people asking me, whether I could share some of my tips and some of the things that I’ve learnt during the past two years, especially on my Miss World and Miss South Africa journey. I would love to speak to each and every person, but I’m just one person. So this was the perfect opportunity to really share some of those secrets that enabled me to grow as a person with the world.”

When asked why she decided to compile a spoken world album, instead of a book like many other celebrities have done – with great success, she says: “I thought about doing a spoken word album, because it is the first one in South Africa and there isn’t really anything like it on the market.”

She admits that in today’s day and age, we don’t always have time to take time out of our schedule to relax with a book or listen to a long e-book and that’s what makes Secrets to My Growth so perfect.

“I’ve recorded bite-size pieces of practical tips and inspirational stories that people can listen to in the car on their way to work. There are 14 tracks and each track is about three to five minutes long.”

Rolene then hints at the possibility of other new projects to follow, saying: “There are a few things that are on the way, but I’m not allowed to say more than that. But there a few exciting things coming after the album.”

Most of the tracks are deeply personal to Rolene, who wrote the majority of the material herself, and she confesses that it was at times a daunting process.

“I’m sharing a lot of personal things, and I’m not sure what to expect,” she says.

The album also features local musician Jo Black, and some of the tracks were written by her husband, D’ Niel. Gushing over her husband, she says: “I’ve learnt so much from him. He is ten years older than me, and he is very mature and wise.”

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“That is what makes the album so relatable to people from all different backgrounds, ages and genders. There is something for everyone.”

Talking a bit more about the topics on the album, she says: “Most of the tracks are deeply personal, or touch on things that I wish I knew when I was younger. It’s really about learning from others, there are a lot of things I’ve learnt from someone else. And I would love to share it with other people and pay it forward. Not that I know everything, I keep learning every day. ”

Two tracks, Pretty Hurts and You Are, have already been released on online streaming platforms and people were surprised to hear the former beauty queen break out in song on Pretty Hurts.

Since the release of Pretty Hurts, Rolene has received an overwhelmingly positive response from fans, but says she won’t be releasing a full-length music album soon.

“People are asking me to sing more, but that is not my main focus,” she says.

Rolene who says she has never sung in front of people, adds: “I’ve recorded some radio adverts in studio before, so that wasn’t as nerve-wrecking as the part where I sing. It was extremely nerve-wrecking because I wasn’t planning on singing at all.”

According to the model, she asked Johan Voster if he had someone else in mind, to sing that part. But he replied: “We are in studio now and we have the time. Why don’t you just try it and we can see what happens.”

She admits that it was a little out of her comfort zone but she is happy with the result.

Rolene wants to equip listeners with the tools to become the best possible version of themselves, through her album, saying: “After the introduction, the first track is about instant change. And the reason I chose this track specifically is because a lot of people feel like: ‘I’ll make a change next week, or change next month.’ But they forget that change really happens in an instant.”

The messages on Secrets to my Growth are complemented by beautifully shot videos produced by Inhoud Huis Musiek and will be released soon.

Rolene is quick to point out, however, that the images are there to support the words and, while each video is perfectly suited to its accompanying track, it does not portray stories in their entirety.

“While the videos offer some imaginative interpretations for the messages I’m trying to convey, they are there to plant a seed, not tell a particular story, and are therefore minimalistic. I want people to interpret each message as it applies to them in that moment, at that particular stage of their lives.”

Secrets to My Growth is now available for pre-order here.

The album will be available for purchase on digital platforms and in all good music stores from 7 December 2018.


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