THE instrumentalist Rocco de Villiers traded the life of a pharmacist for ebony and ivory while in school.
De Villiers will be in the city tonight and tomorrow with his unique and flamboyant show.
The passionate pianist will be performing favourites such as Love Changes Everything, Edelweiss, Time to Say Goodbye and songs from his platinum selling album Beautiful Beautiful Piano like Music Box Dancer and You Raise Me Up.
He said he will also perform pieces from his last album, More Beautiful Piano and his upcoming tenth album, which is due to be released in March.
"I will also treat audience members to two of the tunes from my upcoming album, Stunning. Everything, of course, accompanied by a great suit for Valentine’s Day, a big flower on my shoulder and the stories behind the music,” said the ever suave De Villiers.
De Villiers is also the co-director of Third Ear Sound with Kutlwano Masote, a talented producer, television personality and a self-proclaimed cocktail connoisseur.
"When I was a child, I used to mix drinks for my parents and then I had to perform and play the piano in the lounge afterwards.
"To spice my performance up, I used to concoct all the ingredients in different bottles on the tea trolley,” he said.
His love for cocktails manifested in his presentation of KykNET’s Kook, Klavier en Rocco in 2001.
In each episode a celebrity guest would prepare a dish, after which De Villiers would play the piano and end the show with a cocktail.
In 2004 he produced 26 episodes of an Afrikaans folk music show for M-Net.
The show, Die Liedjies wat ons Ken, interrogated popular tunes and the new form in which old songs existed. In 2010 he also presented Klop die Klawers.
While at school, De Villiers dreamed of becoming a chemist but music proved to be a form of relief from the slog of text books.
"I have always played the piano, but since school playing piano became my escape, how I made money and how I entertained people.
"But it was only when I moved to Johannesburg in 1990 that it became a reality and I became a professional [artist].”
The instrumentalist, who describes himself as "hardworking, passionate, obsessive, loyal and driven”, proved his embodiment of these values by showing his appreciation to his music teacher by composing a piece for his latest album.
"My favourite piece of music to perform is currently Kla-1 Kla-2 Kla-3 Kla-4, a new piece I wrote for my upcoming album.
"This piece I wrote for my piano teacher Tannie Mona du Plessis, who had the biggest influence on my musical career.”
From wines carrying his label – with a sparkling pink wine in the pipeline – to an extensive list of stage productions as musical director, player and performer, De Villiers continues to create music when he experiences beauty and happiness in and around his life.
Port Elizabeth audiences can experience his unique and charismatic performances at Grey High School in Mill Park tonight and tomorrow at 7pm.
Tickets are R100 with bookings on (041) 365-0217. Picnic baskets are welcome and a cash bar will be available.