Based: Cape Town
John Ellis is one of the most well-known singer-songwriters in South Africa. Born and raised in Durban, John wrote and played guitar with Saint Legend in the early 1990s before forming internationally-renowned three-piece Tree63 in 1996. Tree63 won multiple industry awards and was based in Nashville for many years, regularly touring Canada, the US, Europe and Australasia before John relocated back to South Africa to raise his young family.
John began a solo career as a singer-songwriter with the release of Come Out Fighting in 2010, an album which garnered him a SAMA nomination. In the past decade, John has released four more solo projects (most notably his soon-to-be-released Native project) as well as the acclaimed 2015 Tree63 release Land.
An experienced studio musician, John has appeared on numerous albums and songs for other artists as a session guitar player, both in South Africa and in the US. He has also produced local artists Pixie Bennet, Ard Matthews and Bradley Grey, to name a few.
Since returning from the US, John has performed all over South Africa with a diverse range of musicians, including Just Jinger, Natalie Rungan, Pierre de Charmoy, David ‘Qadasi’ Jenkins and even the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has appeared on stages with various members of Johnny Clegg’s band and contemporaries such as Arno Carstens, Ross Learmonth and Zolani Mahola.
John Ellis is a highly-regarded singer, songwriter, guitar player and all-round entertainer. He is also a published poet and has just completed his MA in Creative Writing at the University of the Western Cape. A father of three, he recently relocated to Cape Town from his hometown of Durban.