DESTINED FOR SUCCESS: Winner of the Jack Daniels Music Scouts Competition, iSesh on the decks.

Another music talent search has come our way in the hope of discovering the very best South Africa has to offer. The Jack Daniel’s (JD) Music Scouts Competition has revealed its winner, who is none other than KZN-born, house music star and producer, iSesh (real name, Nqobizizwe Buthelezi).

From an impressive 1 300 entries, iSesh battled it out to be the last one standing, earning himself the title of JD Music Scouts winner.

The competition started last July and was cut down to eight finalists hailing from Joburg, Mahikeng, Pretoria and KZN. They were chosen by the JD Music scouts –T-Bo Touch, DJ Vinny da Vinci and Mandla “Spikiri” Mofokeng – and were also nominated from public votes via the Jack Daniel’s Facebook page.

The competition is a nationwide project aiming to provide a platform to aspiring musicians at more than 70 regional warm-up gigs.

Sharing his thoughts on winning the competition, iSesh says he never thought it possible: “It was a very tough competition. I was extremely lucky and blessed to have made it.”

Born and raised in Ladysmith, the young artist moved to Durban to complete his studies. With a background in survey engineering, he discovered his love for music when he listened to cassettes as a youngster. In high school, he became the jazz band leader. This reinforced his appreciation for music, particularly deep soul. From this point on he knew he wanted to pursue a career in this field.

“In terms of these talent search competitions, I think they should continue making these kinds of opportunities because it gives up-and-coming artists the chance to showcase their talent to the world. I think it’s a very good thing because in South Africa, there is definitely a lot of hidden talent,” he says.

As the winner, iSesh will receive exposure via the campaign. He has also won a trip to the US to discover the history of hip hop and house music. “I’m not too sure on the exact date yet, but it should be around March. I’m looking forward to the trip to New York. The competition judges will accompany me.”

What was it like working with the judges? “It was great. I look up to those celebrities. I felt like a celebrity myself for a couple of minutes.”

As a deep house DJ, iSesh says he will continue with this style of DJing: “I won the JD competition with deep house, so I won’t change my style right now. It’s what the fans love. My dream is to see myself as a top artist like Black Coffee… just making and playing music that people love.”