By: Nosipho Ntombela

Zethembiso “Zethe” Mdletshe, a 25-year-old winner of the first season of the Vodacom Next Level reality show has always had an ambition to be something great in the entertainment industry. Born in a small town of Empangeni, Zethe said her childhood contributed a lot to her passion.

“My dad was a big lover of music, he would play a variety of genres from Celine Dion to Shwi Nomtekhala. My mother on the other hand saw the talent I had, every opportunity she got she would make me sing at graduations, and weddings. Her doings helped me realize my love for music and performing,” explained Zethe.

Like most stars, she started her singing career in a church choir after some persuading by her mom. This ambitious, fearless and beautiful young lady said to her, music is art and a feeling that always relates to her.
Zethe studied music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, which she described as a difficult sell. She graduated and decided to teach music for a year, before entering the Vodacom Next Level.

“I actually do not like competitions at all, least of all reality TV shows, so I was not interested in it but my friend kept tagging me on Instagram posts about the competition and persuaded me to enter,” Zethe said.
The application process according to Zethe included submitting an audition video and only shortlisted contestants made it to Johannesburg.
“It was a non-elimination show, so no one was voted off or anything like that. We worked with mentors throughout the show. I never thought I would win because I didn’t win a single challenge, I was always at the bottom of the leaderboard,” she said
Zethe says winning the Vodacom next level reality show has really elevated my career. As she was able to move to the city of gold and recorded her first piece of music.
“This is everything I’ve always wanted to do,” said Zethe.

This young artist says she enjoys Soul, jazz and house music, especially the likes of Lala Hathaway, Black Coffee, Thandiswa Mazwai, Masego, Esparanza Spalding and so much more.
Speaking about her EP (an album of collection of songs by a musicians which is used to raise awareness of their talent. It’s usually longer than a single), titled Qhawekazi, Zethe said: “The EP consists of music I have been working on for the past two years. What’s been great about winning is that the cash prize has allowed me to get into studio and put the EP together.”

Qhawekazi as titled means heroine. Zethe said the EP is about women. “Most of the songs speak about the strength of a woman, her abilities to handle life in all its different forms. It’s really just a celebration of women as well,” she said.

The EP is dedicated to her two nieces, whom she hopes will take something positive from it when they are older. “When they get to their twenties I want them to be able to listen to this EP and understand their strength and love themselves fully. No matter what, it’s perfectly fine to give yourself some extra love.” The Afro-soul singer also said that she hopes her EP will resonate with every woman who listens to it. “I want anyone who listens to it to take some confidence from it,” she said.
Zethe said that Patience is everything, and also the most important attitude one should have in the music industry.
“God’s timing is always perfect,” said Zethe.
Out of all musicians, Zethe still wants to work with Black coffee, and sees herself touring Africa and having collaborations with many different brands. From here Zethe promises to start working on her music video, and making more music. Only the sky will be a limit for Zethe, and SA Bloggers wishes her all the best of luck!

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