Chit Chat – Kelebogile Boikanyo

2011-11-18 07:45


What does it mean to be the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year?

This award took me by surprise. It tells me that hard work pays off and it feels great to be appreciated.

It is also a wake-up call for me as this is just the beginning of my career and I have a long way to go. I will strive hard to make sure I achieve my dreams.

How would you describe your childhood?

As a child, I enjoyed playing with other kids barefooted and going to each other’s parties.

Family was very important to me because life was not easy growing up without the love of my mum. I was raised by my grandma.

When did you decide to take music as a career path?

I have loved singing since I was a baby. The only difference is that I sang to myself in the bathroom, my bedroom and places where no one could see or hear me.

I joined the school choir in 2002. I never chose to join. The principal at the time selected me because the choir needed extra voices. It was a month before the National School Choir Competition as a soloist.

Between 2002 and 2004 I won the Tirisano School Choir Competition as a soprano soloist. I went on to win the Sagma Opera National Competition in 2006, 2008 and 2010. It was the first time anyone won this competition three times.

That is how it all started. Since then, I have never looked back or stopped.

What attracted you to opera?

I love opera. I love music. For me it’s fun because it is where I find myself at peace. I can also sing other genres of music. Working with different artists and cultures makes it more interesting.

How hard is it to crack it as an opera singer in South Africa, and how big is the black audience?

Like in all art forms, staying on top of your game is hard because it is difficult to control everything. It is challenging but the show must go on and you just have to realise that no challenge is bigger than you.

Funny enough, a huge part of my fanbase is black. The number is increasing daily.

What do you think can be improved in the particular sector that you operate in?

Our government does not support opera because it believes it is a European art form. It’s sad because this is Africa and we are South Africans in our own land.

That is why more and more South Africans leave the country every year to pursue a career in Europe – not because they want to, but because they feel forced to.

Who do you look up to as a singer?

There are many great people in South Africa. As an opera singer, I appreciate all artistic talent.

Outside of opera, I look up to my husband because he is my other half and I need him as much as he needs me.

Is it hard to convince your friends or family to attend your shows?

Nah, my friends love watching me sing. They try their best not to miss my performances. I am blessed to be good at what I do. My family and friends attend all my shows. My fans are mostly people I grew up with.

How much travel is involved in you work?

I travel a lot, most of it is international.

How would you describe your night out with the girls?

I am not the clubbing type, we will hang out in a decent bar, eat something and just talk. I actually spend most of my time with my husband.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I should be at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York with my husband, we should have kids by then. I believe I can enjoy all those aspects because I have a very loving and supportive husband. He is my number one fan. 

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