Up Coming Musician - Emile

Helderberg College is full of activity especially when it comes to music. Be it singing or playing an instrument, you are sure to find some extremely talented people.  We caught up with first year student, Emile Appollis and talked music, drama, and a fortunate camping accident.


I have been listening to music since I was in the Womb. I started playing classical music on the piano from the age 5. I played until I was 16.  When I was 11, I accidentally chopped my foot while cutting wood at a camp. Because of this injury, I had to take a break from piano; that was when my guitar journey began.

I was influenced a lot by my father, my late friend Pablo Rodriguez, and Pastor Brian Neumann and I can now play on three different types of guitar. I’m now getting professional help in guitar from a great lecturer at Stellenbosch University; his name is Graham Pringle.

I really enjoy playing the guitar and my favourite genres are fingerstyle, classical, rock, and flamenco. Over the years I’ve been inspired by the likes of Tommy Emmanuel, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Rodrigo y Gabriela. They have fuelled my love for my favourite genres.

My music career is kicking off slowly but surely; I've been in and out of bands, I have a great session band I play lead for. We don't really have a name for it. I'm also doing a lot of solo work right now and I recently wrote a musical play. I used a combination of existing music and wrote some of the songs; the youth group at church helped me write.

It took me about a month to write the play. It’s a Christian play about how music isn’t neutral and has a very strong influence on people. It’s centred around a girl and her new friends and how their choices in music impact their lives and relationships. It’s a live show so none of the music is pre-recorded.

The play will be presented by the 3 6-teen youth group from Silverleaf SDA Church on the 26th of October in the Anderson Hall at Helderberg College. I am part of the youth group and we are raising funds for our spiritual development. We would like the support of our parents and our community and it’s also a platform for the youth to showcase our numerous God-given talents.

At the moment I'm spending a lot time working on guitar technique, but in five years I intend to be doing a lot more lead and more fingerstyle work on a more public level so that I can get my music around more. But, of course, I'll never stop learning.