“When I auditioned for I Want To Sing Gospel in Durban, the one thing I still remember was the number of people who were also trying to make it onto the show. This made me very nervous,” recalled Nelisiwe Dlamini (pictured), the latest winner of SABC2’s reality talent show.

When entering the popular show, Dlamini only expected to make it past the auditions and not much further so it came as a surprise when she found she had to compete until the end of the competition.

“To be honest, I never thought I would make it to the top 10. I know some people like my singing, but the reality was that there were a lot of people from all over the country who could also sing so it was a tough competition,” she said.

Dlamini began singing from an early stage and even started a band before entering I Want To Sing Gospel.

“Growing up at home we always sang and at some point my family members started complimenting my singing. With a bunch of friends we formed a group and even went on to record two albums, but nothing much came out of that,” said Dlamini.

Talent was not enough and it would take being on a national show like I Want To Sing Gospel to be noticed by the public.

“It’s amazing how people are treating me now. When I arrived back home it hit me that they were watching and a lot of them come and congratulate me. It is all too amazing to be the centre of attraction and I am humbled by their appreciation of my talent.”

As part of her winnings, Dlamini walked away with a cool R200 000 and a recording deal. Asked how she would spend the money, the soprano laid out plans that she had had for a long time.

“I want to improve the home that my parents live in. I have to renovate it and perhaps add some more rooms to it. That is my main focus. As for the recording deal, I know there is one, but I haven’t been told where I will be recording it. The producers of the show will let me know a bit more about that,” said Dlamini.

Since she was in the competition for several weeks, Dlamini made some friends on the show and when she starts recording she will need some of the voices to feature on her album.

“I want to work with most of them, especially Stembiso Gumede, whom I grew close to as the competition went on. If we were to start record- ing soon I think we’d be done by September,” she said.

For those who did not win, Dlamini believes this is not the end of the road for them.

“All I can tell them is to keep pushing their dreams and God will never fail them. It will happen one way or the other,” she said.