Idol for the Idols

Vo­cal coach grooms singers

Sunday World - - Life - In­ter­view by So­maya Stock­en­stroom

It takes more than just tal­ent to pro­duce an Idol.

There’s an en­tire team be­hind the scenes work­ing to bring the magic ev­ery Sun­day night to Mzansi Magic. One such gem is vo­cal coach Mar­garet Mot­sage.

She joined the Idols fam­ily in 2005 as a back-up vo­cal­ist.

“I’ve sub­se­quently be­come a pre­lim­i­nary judge for the first leg of au­di­tions, a the­atre week vo­cal coach and I am also as­sist­ing with ver­nac­u­lar coach­ing,” she tells us.

Mot­sage has many years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the mu­sic in­dus­try and has been a phe­nom­e­nal gospel pow­er­house her­self.

“It’s been truly an hon­our to have been part of the brand for so long. I have seen phe­nom­e­nal raw tal­ent turned into tan­gi­ble cred­i­ble artists who went on to do amaz­ingly well. It’s such a priv­i­lege to be able to con­trib­ute, and it will be a bless­ing to stay on for as long as I’m still needed.”

Hav­ing also been a found­ing mem­ber of Joy­ous Cel­e­bra­tion, Mot­sage ac­tu­ally wanted noth­ing to do with mu­sic as a ca­reer.

“I ini­tially wanted to be­come a den­tist be­cause my aunt was a den­tal nurse. She would of­ten take me to her work and that’s where my in­ter­est was piqued. How­ever, be­cause of a lack of funds, I couldn’t pur­sue that,” she says.

Born in the 1970s and raised in Kim­ber­ley, she spent her for­ma­tive years on the East Rand.

She says her tough, but glo­ri­ous child­hood taught her a valu­able les­son that no one was go­ing to give her a free pass in life.

“There was a time when I couldn’t live with my mother be­cause she was a do­mes­tic worker at the height of apartheid; and had to live with a fam­ily that wasn’t ours. That taught me to rely on my­self.”

Hav­ing worked with the likes of Ju­dith Se­phuma, Ben­jamin Dube and Rob­bie Malinga, she pro­duced a few of her own hits too. But with three al­bums un­der her belt – Mar­garet Sings Praises (1995), Si­hamba Naye (1998), Dwala Lam (2008) – she stepped out of the lime­light.

“I haven’t been a mem­ber of Joy­ous Cel­e­bra­tion for quite a while now. It was a tremen­dous jour­ney as one of the found­ing mem­bers and I learnt a lot. I can al­ways cre­ate mu­sic again in the fu­ture on my own too. I re­cently started vo­cal coach­ing on a full-time ba­sis, which is a pas­sion of mine. I love see­ing singers trans­form and com­ing into their own by refin­ing and hon­ing their skills.”

The sin­gle mother of one says had Idols been around when she broke into the mu­sic in­dus­try, she would have grabbed the op­por­tu­nity with arms wide open. “Idols SA has given so many young peo­ple the plat­form to show­case their tal­ent to an au­di­ence of mil­lions.”

Mot­sage says con­fi­dently that Vin­cent Bones, Mmatema Moremi and Bongi Silinda stand out among many she had coached.

She also has her bets on who will make the fi­nal cut tonight but didn’t want to jinx it.

“More than singing, it takes hu­mil­ity, con­sis­tency, re­spect and a fierce pro­fes­sional work ethic to win this thing.”

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