Juanita du Plessis

Juanita du Plessis

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One of the most successful recording artists in Africa since she emerged in the late '90s, Afrikaans singer Juanita du Plessis has gone platinum many times over in her adopted home of South Africa and native Namibia with her agreeable mix of adult-contemporary pop, gospel music, country-pop, and dance tunes. Her 1998 debut album, the country-inflected Juanita (aka Young Hearts or The Debut Album), was a critical and commercial hit, eventually becoming her first of over a dozen consecutive albums to go platinum. She had a best-selling single with the dance-pop anthem "Ska-Rumba" from the follow-up, 2001's Ek en Jy. With 2004's Altijd Daar, she charted again, this time with religious songs. The first half of the 2010s brought continued commercial success, including a pair of duo albums with singer/songwriter Theuns Jordaan as well as a chart-topping gospel release (2010's Wees Lig) and a country album that went to number two in South Africa (2014's Nashville). In 2017, Kaalvoetkinners featured Juanita with her children, Franja du Plessis and Ruan Josh, by then both successful recording artists in their own rights. After celebrating 20 years in the business with the hits compilation 20 Jaar: Treffers van 2008–2018, she went to number one with 2020's Dis Tyd, her 16th studio album. Born Juanita Naudé in Windhoek, Namibia in 1972, du Plessis was raised in an artistic family; her older brother, Pieter Naudé, is also a singer and songwriter. She married Herman du Plessis in 1989 before moving to South Africa. The singer/songwriter eventually launched her recording career in 1998 with the album Juanita. It not only became a hit but won a handful of awards from the Country Music Association in Namibia, including best singer and best songwriter. She returned in 2001 with the multi-platinum Ek en Jy, which spawned the African dance smash “Ska-Rumba." Releasing her music on her own Juanita Records label and continuing her streak of platinum albums, Dis Waar Ek Wil Wees saw release in 2002, and Jy Is… followed suit a year later.

Du Plessis ventured into country-gospel in 2004 with the release of Altijd Daar. It proved to be another multi-platinum hit. So was her next studio album, 2007's Volmaakte Kring, and Vlieg Hoog (Gospel, Vol. 2) from the same year. She followed those with a pair of 2008 releases, Jou Skaduwee and the collection 10 Jaar Platinum Treffers. Proving to be as popular as ever heading into the next decade, she delivered a trio of hit albums in 2010, including a live album with Theuns Jordaan (Bring Jou Hart) and the studio LPs Bly by My and Engel van My Hart. She went to number one in South Africa with the next year's Wees Lig (Gospel, Vol. 3). A second duo album with Jordaan, Hart Vol Drome, arrived in 2012, as did the Top-Three release Hy Voltooi My. She climbed a spot higher on the South African album chart with 2014's Nashville. It was followed by the collection Country Hart and Top Ten studio album Toe Staan die Wêreld Stil, both of which appeared in 2015. Du Plessis returned to the Top Ten with 2017's Koningskind (Gospel, Vol. 4). In the meantime, her daughter, Franja du Plessis, and one of her sons, Ruan, who performs as Ruan Josh, both launched successful music careers of their own. Together, they released the trio album Kaalvoetkinners in December of 2017. Juanita's 20 Jaar: Treffers van 2008–2018 followed a year later, and she made it back to the top of the South African album chart with 2020's Dis Tyd. ~ Marcy Donelson, Rovi

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