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Will Lira Produce The Voice SA’s 1st Female Winner?

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During this season’s Blind Auditions of The Voice SA, which concluded this week, coach Lira mentioned more than once that she’s ready to fight for the best talent in the show – and that she would be very pleased if Season 2 has a female winner. Now, the team of 12 talented vocalists that she has assembled to go into the Battle rounds of the competition will have to step up to the plate to ensure that Lira’s wish of becoming the new winning coach of The Voice SA materialises.

Lira has a pretty good chance of having talent in the finals of the competition. Not only does she have many experienced singers on her team, she was also the coach that was picked by three of this season’s talent who received four chair turns from all of the coaches after their outstanding performances. Among these four turns are beauty therapist Jacqueline Tolken, dance teacher Michelle Benham and student Amanda Faku. Giving the ladies a run for their money in this diverse team, however, are notable male vocalists such as 41-year-old MC and entertainer Sheldon De St Pern, Season 1 winner Richard Stirton’s best friend Luke Lovemore and DJ Bryce MacMillan to name a few…

Here’s everything you need to know about the talent in #TeamLira:

·        Al Petersen(28) from Cape Town has been earning her living making music wherever she can. When this sultry vocalist sang the Bob Marley and Lauren Hill love song “Turn Your Lights Down Low” Karen compared her to Amy Winehouse, but it was coach Lira who turned her chair to add her to her team, as Kahn regretted not buzzing for her. Watch Al’s Blind Audition here.

·        Amanda Faku(23) from Port Elizabeth had never performed in front of any audience before, but when she started singing John Legend’s “Ordinary People” in her Blind audition, she received the fastest four-chair turns inVoice SA history! Amanda is a part-time student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, but may have to put her studies on hold as her journey on the show has only just begun. Watch Amanda’s Blind Audition here.

·        Andrew Snyders(37) is one of 14 kids who all grew up singing in church in Cape Town. Later on in his life, Andrew endured a dark period of drug addiction, but it was his love of music that helped him out of that time and got him back on track. The father of two teenaged sons sang the All 4 One classic “I Can Love You Like That”, immediately grabbing Lira’s attention. Watch Andrew’s Blind Audition here.

·        Aston Wylie (24) is a full-time performer and music teacher who hails all the way from Gonubie, a small town in the Eastern Cape. Currently residing in Belville in the Western Cape, Aston performed a stripped down version of Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do” which impressed Lira from the start,  prompting her to tell Aston that she believed every word that he sang to her. Watch Aston’s Blind Audition here.

·        Bryce MacMillan(28) has travelled to Japan and the USA with his craft, but ended up back at home in Johannesburg where he is currently a full-time musician and DJ. His rendition of Ne*Yo’s “Sick” won him a spot on #TeamLira as she instantly recognized the soulfulness in Bryce’s voice and turned for him almost immediately. Watch Bryce’s Blind Audition here.

·        Bubbles Mnomiya (23) has a name that describes her personality and her stage presence perfectly. This effervescent performer, originally from Richard’s Bay, got the audience out of their seats and the coaches pushing their buzzers with her energetic and unforgettable performance of Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You”. “You sang the hell out of that song while being so animated and entertaining. That’s so rare,” Lira gushed. Watch Bubbles’s Blind Audition here.

·        Jacqueline Tolken(31) is a beauty therapist from Kempton Park, but she is no stranger toThe Voice stage. A few years ago, Jacqueline auditioned forThe Voice of Holland (with an Afrikaans song!) while she was living in the Netherlands, but none of the coaches turned for her. She returned to South Africa and worked on her singing, a move that paid off handsomely for her as her rendition of “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac earned her a full house of turns from the four Voice SA coaches. Watch Jacqueline’s Blind Audition here.

·        Luke Lovemore(23) performed music at Cape Town’s well-known Stardust restaurant which is where he befriendedThe Voice SA Season 1 winner Richard Stirton. After having seen Richard’s journey of success last year, and with Richard’s encouragement, Luke decided that it was time for him to try out too. He won himself a spot on #TeamLira with the Seal anthem “Crazy”.Watch Luke’s Blind Audition here.

·        Michelle Benham is a 27-year-old dance teacher from Johannesburg whose choice of audition song, Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, was more than apt. Her performance was so good, in fact, that she had all four of the coaches turn for her and get out of their seats to dance along with her while she sang! It was while pitching to Michelle that Lira revealed that she wanted to see a female taking the title this year. Watch Michelle’s Blind Audition here.

·        Sheldon De St Pern (41) is the oldest talent in the competition this season. Sheldon, an MC and entertainer from Durban wowed both Lira and Karen Zoid with his rocking version of Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open” and he brought Lira to tears when he revealed that he wanted to be on her team, despite admitting to being a huge Karen Zoid fan.Watch Sheldon’s Blind Audition here.

·        Spha Mdlalose(28) is a full time musician and voiceover artist from Cape Town. Her calm, confident cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Say A Little Prayer” impressed Karen and Lira, who were both immediately taken by Spha’s unique, jazzy tone. Spha chose fellow soul singer Lira to be her mentor. Watch Spha’s Blind Audition here.

·        Tender Mavundla(35) is no stranger to the musical world. When Tender lived in Johannesburg, she won competitions such as “Jam Alley’s Megastar” and collaborated with some of SA’s biggest musicians before moving back to her home town of Port Shepstone in order to study TV and Film Production. Her blistering rendition of Brenda Fassie’s “Vulindlela” earned Tender three out of four coach turns and a spot in the competition as part of Lira’s team. Watch Tender’s Blind Audition here.

The Battle rounds of the series will start on Sunday, 2 April, as The Voice SA takes a one week break on Sunday, 26 March to make way for the live broadcast of Miss South Africa.

The Voice South Africa, sponsored by Dialdirect, is broadcast every Sunday night on M-Net channel 101 at 17:30 and every Monday night at 18:00 on M-Net City channel 115.

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