About Us

The name Cherry Pill is a metaphor for life – the sweet and joyful mix with the bitter moments to create a rich experience full of twists and turns. It is a band for sophisticated music lovers who appreciate music that tells a story.

Based in Johannesburg, South Africa the Cherry Pill sound is a blend of musical styles ranging from acoustic folk to upbeat pop rock, with strong influences from classical and jazz music . Thoughtful lyrics and sweet vocal harmonies are underpinned by the soaring melodies of Kristel’s classically-trained violin playing and Rory’s blues and rock-infused
guitar licks.

Their latest recording ‘Chocolate Box’ will take you on a musical journey, with each song evoking a different emotion – from the wistful romanticism of “Silent Movie” to the darkly brooding “Bare”, the pulsing rhythms of “Shoreline” to the tender contemplation of “Things on My Mind”.

Kristel Birkholtz – Vocals, Violin, Viola, Piano & Flute

Kristel was born into a musical family, with her and her siblings being trained from a young age on the piano and violin by her mother, herself a music teacher and performer by profession.

She went on to music formally at the University of the Witwatersrand (she holds a Masters in Music there), but she has always been an independent spirit, and decided after completing her studies that she wanted to carve out a career apart from more traditional music careers, such as playing in the orchestras or teaching. As a result, she has been fortunate to perform in a number of exciting and diverse settings, ranging from jazz and classical concerts to high-energy electric violin shows with LaserX. She has also made a few TV appearances on local TV shows such as Egoli and Backstage, and appeared in a Subaru TV advert shot in South Africa.

In addition to her busy performing career, Kristel is passionate about expressing her experiences of the world in song, and Chocolate Box represents a collection of her favourite compositions from the past few years.

kristel birkholtz cherry pill

Rory Gaddin – Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Synths

rory gaddin cherry pill

Growing up, Rory was influenced by the sounds of his Dad’s electric guitar, which could be heard (often from quite far away) belting out songs by Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. This passion for music turned out to be hereditary, and soon he was also learning to play.

At 14 he got his hands on his first multi-track tape recorder (a Fostex 4-track) and a Roland MIDI sequencer, and started playing around with writing and producing his own original compositions at home. Before long, this led to collaborations with various friends from around the neighbourhood, creating music incoporating elements of blues, rock, metal, hip-hop and electronica (not all at once, thankfully!)

After high-school, Rory went on to perform with various original and cover bands and ensembles spanning a number of genres, from hard rock and blues to classical and jazz. He and Kristel have performed together as a musical duo for more than 10 years, and he has been responsible for arranging and co-producing the songs on Chocolate Box.