Noma and Karabo: A different breed of Idols

For anybody who doesn’t know you, please introduce yourselves.
Noma: Sure… My name is Noma Khumalo, I’m Idols season 12 winner and I’m a recording artist. Karabo: Hi my name is Karabo, winner of SA’s Idols Season 11. I’m originally from Nelspruit but residing in Johannesburg, I’m also a full-time musician.
Now for you Karabo it’s been over years since you won Idols, how has life changed? Karabo: It’s been great man I think the grace of God has really sustained me, I think I am who I am because of his grace. I have a house now , I was walking before I have a car now and I’ve been receiving a lot of work as well there’s gigs left and right. Not just only gigs but also work like doing feature films, I mean I got a deal with Disney last year to do a soundtrack for their brand new series called ‘The Lion Guard’ that plays every single day at 06:30 Channel 309 (Disney Junior)… and I was the first African to do it. So I’m basically taking it step by step and God has been moving me in the right direction.
You had to release an album in less than a month after winning Idols, how was the actual recording process in such a short period of time? Noma: With the whole process of recording that album it was day in day out singing at least 2 to 3 songs each day just to make sure we meet deadlines, because we wanted to release an album right before Christmas just to say thank to the supporters out there. The pressure was definitely on to get that job done in a short space of time but we did it.
Actually both of you had to do the same thing, was that a decision made for you by Idols?
Karabo: I think it is management, well in the previous years it never used to happen like that. I think it’s because people voiced it out, people were asking why does it take so long for the winner to actually release an album after they’ve won the competition.
So in my year things changed, that’s when they started this thing of releasing an album immediately after the season. It was literally 2 weeks after then the album dropped.
So in terms of song writing and production wasn’t it too much pressure for you guys? Noma: So with me I got the songs given, I would rock up in the recording studios and it was like “Noma these are the songs we’ve prepared for you” I just needed to perform them and sing. So it was just about giving the songs a voice rather than going back and forth sitting down and writing. except for the song I did with Sketchy Bongo, that was just me, Sketchy and Kyle Deutsch in studio.

So as Noma has mentioned that the songs were prepared for you, wasn’t it a challenge for you to impart your own influence into the album while sticking to what was given to you? Karabo: Yeah man it was, but I think one thing that I had to understand is that we had no time. So obviously songs were just given to us and I couldn’t be like “no I don’t want
the song I wanna write my own songs” or whatever the case might be, but I just had to be like “you know what, lets just go down to it and do it”. The songs that were brought forth were actually good songs, I really enjoyed them as well. I think they didn’t just give me songs for the sake of giving me songs, they gave me really good songs as well.

Now one of the hardest thing to do as a contestant of a talent search competition, is using and taking that platform to convert it into an actual breakthrough in the industry. What’s your strategy in actually being consistent and go on to have an impact in the industry? Karabo: I think the platform Idols gives out to any contestant whether you fall out at top 30, top 16 or top 10 wherever you fall out. I think it’s what you do afterwards, because I think Idols somehow spoils us because you come out of there and everything was done for you. Then when you come out to the real world you need to be the person that’s going out and doing things and it’s tough, I won’t lie its not easy because you expect things to happen the same way they did because that’s what you’re accustomed to. However, you come out to the real world and things are no longer done the way that you’re used to them being done. It’s also now about being able to adjust and learn, if you don’t know something there’s a thing called ‘ask’. We were always taught that there is no such thing as a stupid question just ask, if you don’t know how the camera works just ask… then you’ll be told how the Camera works.
That’s why we have people that have been in the industry, talk to the Legends and the experienced, the advice that they will give you is proper. As Karabo has mentioned the realization of actually having to work harder after Idols than during the competition. Now for anybody who’s a contestant in the up-coming season of Idols, for them to avoid making that mistake of not capitalizing through the platform given by Idols… how would you advise them on what to expect after the competition? Noma: What to expect after the competition is to start working. Like Karabo said, what we get accustomed to during the show is this amazing treatment and you get everything done for you and once you come out whatever you think you may need you got to organise that for yourself. Even with the management teams, you still have to do additional work. So if you were in Idols and you’ve gotten a gold ticket, all the best in your journey and don’t let your nerves get the better of you. It’s a tough journey but if you have the heart and it is a passion of yours and you really want your musical dream to prosper, work extremely hard during the show.

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