Axed Idols contestant looks on the bright side

By Amanda Maliba Time of article published Oct 26, 2021

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Nqobisile ‘Nqobie’ Linda was last night’s latest evicted Idols SA season 17 contestant, leaving only five still in the running to be crowned with the converted title.

Nqobie (29), who hails from Soweto, opened up early on in the competition about her fight with depression and has since impressed the Idols audience with her powerful, calm and controlled voice, as well as her fighting spirit. Before Idols, the singer was full-time employed, which she said she wasn’t fulfilled in, and enjoyed a short run as a backing vocalist.

Nqobie’s exit comes after her brilliant performance of Zonke’s hit song Feelings, with veteran muso Oskido on the judging panel who immediately texted Zonke, who then responded with a promise to write a song for Nqobie, win or no win.

The Sunday Independent spoke to the songstress to find out what her next step is, post the Idols journey.

Sunday Independent: Why was it important for you to share your mental health journey with the Idols family?

Nqobile Linda: It is not something that I share with anyone and everyone, only if there's a need. This is a conversation that most of us are afraid to have, we shy away from it and I am glad to have had this platform where I could speak about it. So many people lose their lives because we are quiet about our mental illnesses, and especially when you are in the limelight and the many expectations around. I wanted to show that it is okay to be vulnerable while reaching for your goals.

SI: Weren’t you scared that being part of the show is opening yourself to being judged by the whole country?

NL: It was very scary because I'm a very insecure person and I always think that I am not enough. And now entering a competition where you need to be loved by other people, when you don't even love yourself or you don't see yourself the way you should be is the scariest thing ever.

But I had to take that leap of faith, I had to do it because I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines and always be scared of who would say what. I needed to let go of those fears and dive in to achieve my dreams.

Opening up can also lead you to unwanted judgement from people and it’s really a harsh place to be in. I remember when I had a performance and I was really exhausted and some people commented that I looked tired and that I was slipping back into depression, that time I am at my happiest. That wasn’t nice because there are so many things that we deal with during the week while we prepare for the Sunday performances. I had a constant battle of not believing that I am not worth being in the competition and making it that far, then there are people that throw my struggle to my face, making it really hard.

SI: How do you feel about making it so far in the competition?

NL: I am so proud of myself because, as cliche as it may sound, I never thought I’ll make it that far. I always used to say, while growing up, that I would never enter a competition because it is not nice when you think you have a gift and someone says you actually don’t, and having people judge you. I was very scared of that.

SI: How did you feel about being one of Randall’s favourites?

NL: I wouldn’t say favourite (giggle) but knowing how strict Randall is, full of knowledge and his stature within the industry, getting great reviews from him week after week, that was special. To be seen by him and for him to just be nice to me was just reassuring. Something I didn’t expect from him.

SI: Where to from here?

NL: Hopefully, I'll get a recording deal or get signed with someone and start singing and being in the studio because I honestly don’t want to go back to a 9-5. I found myself and this is where I want to be. I see myself going for a soulful genre, or R&B because that is more of who I am.

@AmandaMaliba

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