A MDANTSANE singer has landed a lucrative recording deal after winning a provincial gospel talent search competition.
Siphokazi Sondishe impressed the judges through all stages of the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture-run competition and on Saturday night was announced overall winner of the Eastern Cape Gospel Talent Search 2013 competition at Hemingways.
She won a recording deal with well-known music producers Sizwe Zako and Tshepo Nzimande, as well as R50000 in cash.
Second place went to Duncan Village’s Lutsha Yolelo while Sharon Johnson of Graaff-Reinet finished third. They took home R30000 and R20000 respectively.
Sondishe not only impressed the judges, but was also a crowd favourite. They clapped and gave her a standing ovation after each performance.
The project is an initiative of the provincial department of sport, recreation, arts and culture which started last year. Starlet, a group from Lusikisiki, won last year and released their debut album in April.
Department spokesman Manzi Vabaza said this year the focus was on solo artists.
“About 500 artists from all eight districts of the province, including the two metros, participated at the auditions,” he said.
Following an elimination process, 19 finalists remained and they battled it out for top spot on Saturday night.
“We were looking for a high level of talent as the industry is struggling lately,” said Zako.
“We wanted someone who through his or her voice forced people to buy CDs.”
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch after she was announced winner, Sondishe said she was humbled to win the competition and felt blessed.
“This is a victorious day for me. I am very excited.”
Sondishe auditioned in King William’s Town. “I arrived late and was the last person to be auditioned.”
Having started singing at age four, Sondishe’s career really blossomed when she was featured on gospel singer pastor Khaya Mayedwa’s album in 2008.
She has also worked as backing vocalist for East London gospel singer Khanyisa Sabuka.
Sondishe, who is a member of East London-based gospel band Stand, said she was excited her childhood dream of one day recording her own album would became a reality. — firstname.lastname@example.org