After The Eastwoods & Company

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By Kristie Compau with Andrea Stuart

We first met Overtone, a South African a cappella band, in 2009 when the band was discovered by
Clint and Dina Eastwood while filming the movie Invictus. Overtone quickly became local celebrities
while filming E!’s reality show Mrs. Eastwood & Company in Carmel. We recently caught up with five
of the band members, Shane Smit, Eduard Leonard, Emile Welman, Ernie Bates, and Tino Ponsonby, to
learn about their experience with the reality show, what they thought about coming to America, and
why Clint took such a liking to their music.

65°: Describe your experience with the show Mrs. Eastwood & Company. How was it different from how
you anticipated?

SS: When we first signed up for the reality show, we expected it to be more about Overtone and our
music; however, it ended up being more focused on the Eastwood family. When we started filming, we
could sense that this show would either be really good or really bad. We always stood together as a
band, but little did we know that this show was going to tear the band apart.
(continued)

Drama took place within the band, in front of the camera, and the
truth came out. It was a challenge, very tense… but also exciting as for Overtone’s future, we had
no idea what the outcome was going to be on the first season, but the ratings ended up being good
and we were asked to do a second season. This was the big moment when we asked, “Are we making a
career being reality personalities or will our talent for music come through and the world will
know our music.” Unfortunately, I think we would have ended up being reality personalities and that
was not our goal. Dina decided not to do a second season and that was it for Mrs. Eastwood &
Company. For Overtone, we decided to take a break and we never got back together.

EW: The reality show was a combination of a lot of different emotions. It was fun, draining, happy,
and sad. There are some things that could have been done differently to create more buzz around our
music during the show, but at the same time, we needed to keep it entertaining for the audience.
Would I do it again? Yes, I think so, but I would want to have the final say on every single thing
that goes out to the world.

EL: Something that I also found very interesting was how quickly you adjusted to having a camera
crew document your everyday day life and how they soon just become part of the unnoticeable
background.

EB: It was cool at first because the whole idea behind the show was to promote our music. Dina
always treated the group as her family. We
got to work with some of the biggest music, film, and reality producers in the
world. But it spiraled into something else. I think I had two, maybe three lines that got edited
into the 10 or 11 episode series, so I was definitely the most unpopular one of the whole show (he
laughs).

65°: How would you describe the experience of coming to America?

SS: Coming to the states was overwhelming. It’s a completely different world but I adapted pretty
well and now I’m a little Americanized. I love it!

TP: My experience with coming to America was the best experience I ever had to date. Americans
accepted us with open arms, and I didn’t expect that. I must say, most of the people I met In the
U.S. were really humble.

65°: What do you think Clint Eastwood liked about the band?

SS: I feel Clint loved our vocal arrangements and how well we blended. We were also something
fresh. Clint and Dina believed in us and did a lot to help us.

EW: There are a few reasons why I think Clint liked us. We had a song on our album, Frequency,
called “Shosholoza.” That was Africa’s second national anthem during the ‘95 rugby world cup and
the basis of the movie Invictus. He also saw that we were hard working, talented, young guys who
were willing to do whatever it takes to reach our goals and dreams.

Overtone’s last show in South Africa forever stands out in their minds as the point when everything
changed, catapulting them into new endeavors. The show was made into a live DVD, and they were
nominated for best music DVD the following year in South Africa.

The Overtone band members have since gone their separate ways but continue to accomplish their
dreams of making it big in music. Shane currently resides in Carmel, where he continues to work on
his music and is planning on opening a restaurant. Eduard is currently in Greece, where he sings
opera with his two brothers in a new group called Prima Voce. Emile is getting ready to perform at
this year’s BET Awards and is collaborating with names including Nick Cannon, Usher, and David
Foster. Ernie’s solo album comes out in July, and he’s starting his own record label. Tino is
working for the South African Broadcasting Commission while planning to build his own production
company. Riaan is working in the film industry and living in Los Angeles.

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