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Idols winner breaks mould to bare soul

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TO Khaya ETCH

Only a day after winning Idols SA earlier this year, Khaya Mthethwa released the first video single from his then upcoming album. The song, Move, is a catchy, dancealong tune that features TV personality, Boitumelo Thulo.

For someone who was competing in the hectic show, you can’t help but wonder where he got the time to record the song and its video. But that was just the beginning of what his new life is like.

After winning the show the man had to knuckle down and sift through numerous performances, press interviews and fan activities to try to find time to record an album before the year ended.

Now, as we speak, his much anticipated debut effort is out – and the work has just begun for him.

“My sleeping conditions are bad because I am up at odd hours and I come back home at odd hours,” said the star.

“My life is like a roller-coaster. Sometimes I get in at 11 at night and other times at three in the morning and have to get up at five.

“It does take its toll sometimes but I am enjoying it,” he added.

To keep sane, Mthethwa keeps his relationship with God and family refreshed by staying in touch with them. Amid his hectic schedule, the singer looks to his family to get some sense of “normalcy”.

“I talk to my family every single day,” he said. “All my siblings, I speak with them daily, and when I think of those people who zone me out from other things, I get to laugh.

“We mess around on Skype or on BBM and it gets my head into a different space,” he added.

As successful as he has been with the country at his feet, it is refreshing to note that Mthethwa is probably the humblest guy that you’ll ever meet.

“One of the best pieces of advice that I ever got was that I have to be me in everything that I do, because that’s the best person I have.

“If I try to alter that then I will have to keep on coming up with ways of reinventing who I am,” said the somewhat shy singer.

Explaining why the album came out in a very short space of time right after the TV show, Mthethwa explained that he had been planning to record an album even before entering Idols SA.

“I have been preparing myself to make an album [since] over a year ago,” he said. “To be truthful though, a lot of stuff that I prepared was irrelevant for this. For me going to Idols was not necessarily to win but just to prepare for the album. So every time I was on my guitar or the piano I was writing something.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen after the competition but I wanted to be ready should someone come saying ‘do you have something’, then I’d say ‘yes’.

“I feel opportunities always come our way but we are never prepared for them and I didn’t want to fall into that trap,” he said.

Coming from a gospel background and yet being signed by Universal Music to produce a secular, probably a pop CD, Khaya had in a dilemma as he had ideas of his own.

“When we sat in the first meeting to plan where we were going with the project, I told Benjy (Mudie) and (Lindelani) Mhkize that though previous winners had done a pop sound, I wanted to do an R&B and urban soul sound.

“They were hesitant at first but I convinced them that there was a market out there,” he said.

 

• For You is now available at local music stores.


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