Connell Cruise live at Bailey's
Discovered in 2012 by the David Gresham Record Company, his 2013 South African debut album received 3 South African Music Award (SAMA) nominations. In 2014, a social media frenzy surrounding the release of “Into The Wild” grabbed the attention of the music industry titan, L.A. Reid. Cruise’s subsequent deal with Epic Records in New York City is considered the largest and most significant record deal in South African music history, introducing him to the international music scene and trailblazing the way for a new wave of South African talent to follow.
Cruise was born in Johannesburg to a family with a rich musical history. His unique background has shaped his musical evolution into a fresh, multifaceted sound. With infectious instrumental riffs and accessible lyrics that highlight his tracks' pop sensibility, Cruise seamlessly incorporates the nuances of the genres he grew up listening to with the rhythms and sounds essential to South Africa’s musical heritage. His songs are catchy and memorable, connecting to the listener on a deeper level — the level of a storyteller expertly and intricately weaving life experience into his music and lyrics.
Cruise's skill as a songwriter has granted him access to the inner circle of international collaborative songwriting including the likes of Ido Zmishlany and Daniel Kyriakides of Shawn Mendes fame, Scott Harris, John Ryan, and Teddy Geiger. Cruise’s work has featured in high profile international synchronizations, “Endless Possibilities” appeared in the United States Quaker Oats/Pepsi Co. commercials, and "Into the Wild" featured in both the "Robinson Caruso" and "The Missing Link" International Feature Film Trailers.
Following his international debut "Into The Wild EP” with Island Records in 2015, Cruise toured extensively across North America and South Africa in 2016, performing to crowds of tens of thousands at festivals like Bonnaroo and Firefly as well as iconic venues such as the Troubadour in Los Angeles and The Highline Ballroom and Mercury Lounge in New York City. Cruise has shared the stage with a wide array of musical greats, notably Harry Belafonte, Adam Lambert, The Fray, SafetySuit, and the American Authors.
Cruise’s 2017 sophomore album, “Barely Breathing,” debuted at #1 on the iTunes album chart and garnered Cruise his 5th SAMA nomination. The lead single from the album, "All Day," became an instant hit on radio charts in South Africa and would go on to feature as the theme song for the South African edition of the international series "The Bachelor."
In 2018 Cruise took to the dance floor as one of 12 celebrity contestants in the debut season of “Dancing with the Stars South Africa." Cruise and his dancing partner, Marcella Solimeo, consistent throughout the competition, won the coveted Mirrorball Trophy becoming Dancing with the Stars SA’s inaugural winners.
Currently at work on his third studio album with David Gresham Records, Connell Cruise continues to take his proudly South African sound to the world stage.