Listen: Passion, faith drive Appel’s musical success


Appel remembers he was 15 years old, in grade 9, when one day he sat out of a classroom window and daydreamed. His teacher gave him one look and said, “Do you see what’s going on out there? Nothing. And that’s exactly what you’re going to become.”

However, these words did not deter him. He still credits his penchant for dreaming as one of the reasons why he eventually found success in the music industry.

“If your dreams are too big, people will easily make you aware of them. We are forced to dream smaller, because it scares other people,” says Appel, whose real name is Christoph Kotzé, in RNews’s studio.

Appel’s latest single, “Heito potato”, is a runaway hit and this week boasts the fourth consecutive week in the top position on the RNews Afrikaans Top-20.

The song also made history on this hit parade by entering the no. 1 position and at the same time held the top position on several other hit parades as well.

“Never let the smaller mentality of people around you diminish your dreams. Also, never share your dreams with other people, they are your dreams. Keep it between you and the Lord.”

He regards his profession as a privilege and admits that he does not undertake anything half-heartedly.

“The fact that I have released another number one song means that I still have it in me to put the best out there. Nobody does anything to be average.

“If you want to be average, you can get yourself a hobby. I have never seen music as my hobby. It is an incredible privilege, passion and gift for me to be able to make music. I don’t think the Lord puts something like that in your power to just do it as a hobby.”

As a young boy and later as a young man, he dreamed of writing music with people like Johan Vorster and Bok van Blerk. He jokingly tells how his parents thought he was “a different type of crazy” when he talked about these dreams.

He remembers how his mother’s old Fiat Uno car window could only be opened a little. He opened the window and listened to the melodies he could hear in the wind.

This sums up Appel’s relationship with music: He has not yet started a day in his life without music.

Music and the Lord.

“I refuse to get out of bed in the mornings if I haven’t broken bread and read a piece from the Word. I just want to put on my armor for the day – I can’t face the day without the Lord.

“The world is an interesting place, and I feel that if you have not acquired wisdom in the morning, you are not yet ready to face the day.”

When he doesn’t know which way to turn and when life rests heavily on his shoulders, he knows exactly where his strength comes from.

“The only constant in your life is God; you will struggle to find such a constant again. We as humans are fallible, and we are going to let each other down.

“The one who will never let you down is God. You know what you have in Him, and it is incredible to have a God like that in your life.”

  • Listen to a full interview with Appel above.

Watch here the music video of Appel’s latest hit, “Heito potato”: