When Tree63 first became a band, they lacked one crucial element: a name.
So before they performed a gig in their native South Africa, they quickly came up with “Tree,” but the name had already been taken by an American band. Inspired by Psalm 63, they added the "63" to the end of their name to distinguish themselves.
With the name debacle solved, Tree63 immediately went to work on its debut after several successful gigs in its hometown. Then after a few setbacks, frontman John Ellis was ready to hang the music thing up for good. But as he began to rehearse with drummer Darryl Swart, John realized there was, indeed, something special there and forged ahead.
Eventually landing a record deal, the band’s self-titled debut released in South Africa and the United Kingdom before reaching America in 2000. Nonetheless, the music was met with enthusiasm everywhere it played, and before the band knew it, they had a couple hits on their hands with “Treasure,” and “Look What You’ve Done.”
After being awarded the Dove Award for “Rock Album of the Year,” the band was not only selling out tour dates in its native South Africa, but making a big splash in America, too.
The band’s biggest hit was still to come, however, when they covered Matt Redman’s worship hit “Blessed Be Your Name” in 2005. Fellow worship artist Chris Tomlin once described Tree63’s rendition of the song as “the definitive recording of one of the most all-encompassing songs in the entire world of Christian music.”
Four years later, Tree 63 parted ways in 2009. John has returned to South Africa and serves as a mentor for up and coming musicians and occasionally performs under the name “John Ellis and Friends”