'I lost my dad last week'- Zethe beats heartbreak to win NXT LVL crown
Still struggling with the pain and emotions of having to bury her father, afro-soul jazz musician Zethembiso "Zethe" Mdletshe gave the performance of her life to win the first season of TV music reality show Vodacom NXT LVL on Wednesday.
Speaking to TshisaLIVE just hours after her win, Zethe revealed that she dedicated her final performance to her father, who died just days earlier.
"It was quite emotional but I had to switch myself off. When I went to his funeral I cried my heart out and let it all out because I didn't want it to be a barrier to my performance. I used those emotions to help me. He loved my singing and I honestly believe that he was there to support me."
Zethe's win was even more remarkable since she had constantly found herself at the bottom half of the show's leaderboard. In an interview with TshisaLIVE last month she opened up about the frustration of constantly being scored low by the judges.
"I don't know what is going on. I know that we are not supposed to pat ourselves on the back and say we are good, but you know when you do well and have given your all. It is not encouraging when you don't receive the response you feel you should get. That is how the industry is. You can give 100 percent but sometimes not everyone will like you. You are not God."
She had gone into Wednesday's finale expecting not to win and prepared to "sing for someone out there to give me a job".
"I told myself that I was going to go there and just sing my heart out because this is a once in a lifetime experience. I was already consoling myself like: 'It's not the end of the world (that you didn't win). You've gone through worse" But to win? I still can't believe it."
Zethe walked away with prizes over R1-million but no recording contract, as she wants to take her music career in her own hands.
"Right now I am heading into studio with Euphonik to finish a song we did together on the show. I am also taking my prize money and recording an EP for release early next year. I don't want people to forget me," she said.