Lieze Stassen’s journey from a mining town to a train town, and eventually the city’s lights began on 2 May 1963 in Namaqualand – Nababeep – where she was born. She began her schooling (1970) in the Karoo – De Aar – and completed her matric in Worcester at Worcester Gymnasium. (1981) Music has always been an integral part of her life. Even as a six-year-old she sang solo in the church during a Christmas Performance. At an early age she took piano lessons and also had music as a subject to Matric with piano as her major subject.
Immediately after her matric she enrolled at Babs Laker’s Academy of Dramatic Art where she studied speech and drama extracurricular, and started working full time at LESERSKRING (NATIONAL PRESS). During this period she met her first husband. From this marriage, a daughter and son were born – Simone and Alexander.
Although she initially thought she was going to be an actress, during her studies at the ADK she immediately got involved in music theatre. One of the drama school’s most successful cabarets, AFRIKANERS IS PLESIERIG under the guidance of GERARD SCHOLTZ, was one of the many productions which she was involved in and started making a name for herself. It’s also at this drama school where she and RALPH RABIE’s (JOHANNES KERKORREL) paths crossed and where their close friendship originated. Both of them working for the NATIONAL PRESS, Ralph as a journalist at Die Burger’s night office and Lieze as music buyer at LESERSKRING.
LIEZE STASSEN & RALPH RABE (Johannes Kerkorrel):
Working full-time, playing mom, extramural studies as well as the launch of a solo career, however, becomes a handful and she decided to work on her music career full-time after resigning from her full-time job. In 1989 Lieze’s marriage was over and she decided to move her and her two children to Johannesburg where she focussed on her music career. She did a lot of one-woman-shows, theatre productions, art festivals as well as solo and collaborations with big names like LAURIKA RAUCH and COENIE DE VILLIERS.
During 1994 her longing for the Cape took her back there, where she immediately landed on the set of WOESTYNBLOM, a television series by JOHAN VAN JAARSVELD. This was a great personal achievement for Lieze and she regards this as her return to her roots. The series was filmed in Touwsrivier – another train town where she went to school – where her father was the school principal and mayor and her mother a music teacher. It is also during the recording of the soundtrack for WOESTYNBLOM, written by NEILL SOLOMON, that Lieze realized her loyalty lies with her mother tongue. Die soundtrack of WOESTYNBLOM earned a SAMA for the best soundtrack for a television series.
In 1995 she found a sponsor for her debut album and began working on material. Recordings for this CD began in January 1996 and in 1997 she won the SAMA award for best contemporary album, THULA, in Afrikaans. Another two mini albums XV MEN / BOKKIE and SKY sees the light in the next eighteen months. In 2000 Lieze built her own sound studio and started writing and working on a new album, AENGEL, which she recorded in 2001 and released in 2002. Lieze took the production of the album upon herself and started looking for a new sound in Southern African music.
After this, Lieze’s journey took a dramatic turn taken in 2003 when her son, Alexander, then in matric, died in a motorcycle accident. She was devastated and swore she would never sing or even touch a musical instrument again. There were occasions after the incident where she half-heartedly attempted to perform again, through the encouragement of friends and family, but these ended in disaster. Her heart wasn’t in her work, and she totally withdrew herself from the music industry and society as a whole.
She stayed in the Cape for another 5 years and kept herself busy with a business where she was a partner, until she finally decided to close the business’ doors and leave the Cape. She then moved to Pretoria, living with friends and family, while she tried to find her feet and seeking peace. During these wandering years she discovers an appeal to children and music education, and she began giving private vocal, guitar and piano lessons.
She also underwent a spiritual revolution and her new album, MY HART IS JOU GEBED, was born between heaven and earth and the healing presence of horses. With this, she once again found her belief in God and in His unfathomable grace and love.
MY HART IS JOU GEBED is an album stripped of all musical trappings and tricks. It’s an album that focuses on the singer and the song. Lieze, along with a number of young and emerging poets, wrote the songs and also did the compositions. Each poem was chosen with great care for this album, with each one giving a glimpse into Lieze’s life story. She handled the production, arrangements and instrumentation herself and did the recordings at VIC VAN DER WATT, a long-time friend, at SOUNDWORX. (Vic sadly passed away on 8 June 2014)
Lieze is currently living in Pretoria.She’s working on a number of projects, including dedication albums in collaboration with authors and publishers as well did the debut gospel album under the working title: Shelter from the Storm.