You may know him as Kyle Deutschmann, or perhaps, if you are one of his patients, you know him as Doctor Deutschmann. But if you are a fan of his music, you will know him by the name that has fast become a household utterance in South Africa — Kyle Deutsch.
The thirty-year-old musician was born and raised in Durban, South Africa, where he still practises as a chiropractor. He kicked off his music career on Idols South Africa and has been on an upward trajectory since. He stormed onto the South African music scene with amazing music and collaborations with some of South Africa’s biggest artists and producers.
Kyle Deutsch has a strong millennial fan base, but his music is enjoyed by all South Africans alike. He is a strong presence in the South African music industry with a very bright future. A unique vocalist, Kyle Deutsch’s music spans over many genres. Some of his biggest hits were Back to the Beach, All Night and Can’t Get Enough. Back to the Beach, a perfect summer song, became known as the Durban anthem.The song featured the vocals of Shekhinah and truly set the bar high for South African musicians.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Kyle Deutsch at his practice to find out everything there is to know about him and his music.
How did your musical journey start? What made you pursue music?
I taught myself to play the guitar when I was fifteen. My friends and I used to meet up in a classroom at school and learn how to play songs. I started to write my own songs and would play socially- at late night braais and get-togethers. After school, I began to study chiropractics and I also started to play professional football. At the age of 23, I went onto Idols South Africa just to see if what sort of talent I had — I realised that I could actually sing. Then, I got into a studio with Sketchy Bongo and Aewon Wolf and we started to make music. My dad was also very musically inclined, so that really influenced me.
You were on Idols season 8 before you made it to season ten’s top five- what made you return to Idols?
In season 8, I got knocked out in the top 32. Khaya Mthethwa, the winner of that season, came up to me and sad that he was glad that I was out because that meant that someone else would have a chance of winning. That inspired me. I started to make music after that. Going back for season 10 was a case of ‘shall I do it again?’. I knew that if I got through the initial round, there would be a good chance of me making it to the voting rounds. That is a great platform for people to learn about your brand and your music.
You’re one of the few Idols contestants to have actually emerge successfully after tackling the South African Music Industry. Do you feel that Idols prepared you for this career?
Idols really shows you what it’s like to be at the top. It gives you a platform and a crowd. It gives you a fan base. It’s great for exposure. You start your career with a fan base and it teaches you how to maintain your brand as an artist.
How did suddenly becoming famous alter your life?
It’s different in the sense that I get recognised when I go out to malls and other places. But my life is pretty much the same. I am still a chiropractor by day and I make music in the evenings, and whenever I have time. But it has made my life much busier.
I know that you were actually featured on Cassper Nyovest’s album while you were on Idols. That must have been exciting. Can you tell me how this happened?
Charlie (Aux Cable from a band called WTF) and I were at my place making a track. He had a melody for a song so we started making this track- and it had a very 30 Seconds to Mars vibe. We ended up sending the song to Cassper. The funny thing about that song was that we had just one layer of vocals and it was in a very demo stage. The next thing we knew about it was that it was on the album and that Cassper performed it on Metro Live.
What moments on Idols would you reflect on as your favourite moments?
My favourite moments were the rehearsals, the group stages and the time I got to spend with the other artists
Let’s talk about your hit single with Shekhinah- Back to the Beach. It was the number one summer song when it released, and it is still played on radios today. It was actually referred to as the Durban anthem. How did this song come to be?
Shekhinah wasn’t really making music at the time- she was writing songs and studying at the time. She had just come back from Johannesburg and I suggested making a song together. We went through some beats on Sketchy Bongo’s computer and chose that one and started writing to it. It was all about being back home- back where the good memories are. We wrote about that notion and we were done in about three hours. The original version didn’t have a bridge- we ended up adding that in for the music video. It has been played internationally — in Sweden and Germany — so we’re just waiting for the world to find it.
The Can’t Get Enough video is still one of the hottest videos in South Africa right now- how did you manage to create this masterpiece?
It was actually a pity that we didn’t get enough recognition for that video- it actually inspired artists in South Africa to go in a new direction with their videos. I was listening to the music and I was planning on how to shoot this video, and at the same time, I was treating a patient who worked at the Navy base and had a shipyard. We ended up going through to the shipyard and organising things. On the day of the shoot, the Navy was here doing an expo. We ended up shooting the video on a vessel with some of the officers from the South African Navy. It’s the story of a guy who is stuck on a ship and he’s missing his girl.
The remix of Can’t Get Enough, which was also nominated for a SAMA, features a lot of other South African artists. How did you work out this collaboration?
We released Can’t Get Enough and we were playing the song for Kwesta. He loved the song and made us play it over and over again. I mentioned that this song suited a remix and he was on it. We chose guys who would work well on the song — Tellaman, BigStar Johnson and Sheen Skaiz. They really delivered. Being nominated at the SAMAs was a great achievement.
Your sound is quite unique when compared to other South African artists. You don’t seem to stick to one single genre. Was this something that you had planned?
These days we are very governed by what the producers are coming up with. I like it the way I do it- it’s very fresh and unique. My vocals don’t really fit into a single genre, so I enjoy mixing up the sounds. It also makes it more viable to the market.
All artists aim for a larger international audience. What do you think will draw the international audience to your music?
I think that my music is easy on the ear. I judge my music by whether you can play it on repeat without getting sick of it. My music also fits into different genres, so nothing will be the same.
Your new album- please tell us more about it. How many songs? Any collaborations?
We’re still in the process of putting it together. There are no final plans right now, but we will be releasing new music very soon.
What sort of influence do you intend to have on the youth and upcoming artists listening to your music?
I think my influence is more than my music. People are very deceived by the lifestyle that artists portray. There is a definite aspirational quality about my brand. People are learning that you cannot have only that one thing going for you- you need to be multifaceted, as well as able to create your own sound.
You’ve worked on the Save the Rhino campaign — why did you choose this campaign to work on? Can you tell us more about this campaign?
We filmed the Wild Side video in a game park in Swaziland. It is run by a man named Ted Riley. His story is quite inspiring. There has been the least amount of Rhino poaching in Swaziland in the last few years and he did this by taking one of his rhinos that had been poached and placing it on the King’s doorstep. He told the King that people were killing the rhinos and he worked on getting two rangers watching each rhino. We want our kids to see the rhino, we don’t want to be telling them about the rhino.
Apart from being a musician, you are a chiropractor. You’re handling a sort of double life here — how do you balance these two things?
I am my own boss in terms of my schedule. Time management needs to be on point- this is where I’m not the strongest. It is tough to balance. There is a lot of working hours, this means less family time and chill time.
Tell us about your life as Dr. Deutschmann.
As a chiropractor, I work on the neuromuscular skeletal system. The nerves and muscles and reducing people’s pain thereby increasing their quality of life. I deal with a lot of elite athletes. My research was on the effect of chiropractics on kicking speed for soccer players and it won first place at the World Congress for best sports research. We saw people improve in terms of their kicking speed and their performance after one treatment.
This one is for all the aspiring artists in South Africa- can you actually live off making music?
It is possible. It all depends on what people see as enough money to them. You can have artists with number one songs on the radio, and they can still be broke. You can still have no bookings. It depends on the dynamics of the music industry. There are a lot of different avenues of making money in the music industry. You cannot just rely on album sales.
Your new collaboration with DJ Chynaman is quite amazing. Can we expect any music this year? What can your fans look forward to?
There is a new single that will be released soon called Killer, and there is another one called Hollow.
You recently opened for Justin Bieber. How was that?
To have 60 000 people in Johannesburg and 70 000 in Cape Town was an amazing experience. It looked like we were in the sky, singing amongst the stars. The crowd response was great.
You have a performance coming up at Gateway on the 24th of June- at the Durban July Preview Fashion Show. What can we expect from this concert?
I will be performing with Sketchy and Aewon Wolf. It will be a fun event. Very high energy.
Who are some of your favourite South African artists?
Kwesta and Shekinah. Sketchy Bongo’s production level is crazy. Another producer to look out for is Deemo.
Kyle was nice enough to play two of his upcoming releases for me — “Killer” and “Hollow”. I can say with great certainty that fans are in for a treat!
Check out the amazing music video for Can’t Get Enough.