Idols 'flops' find there is life after the competition
Tshepi Mashego and Lefa Pike have turned to theatre
SONGBIRD Zamajobe, Jennifer Hudson and multi-platinum selling Lira have all forged impressive careers despite failing to reach the business end of singing competition Idols.
That seems to be serving as a reminder to former hopefuls Tshepi Mashego, who fell in the theatre week stage of this season's competition, and Lefa Pike, who didn't go further than the Top 5 last year.
The pair have since turned to theatre - Pike is playing the daunting role of reggae legend Bob Marley in the Barnyard Theatre's The 7 Wonders production, while Mashego will be based at Gold Reef City's The Globe Theatre in Chef, Rattle and Roll.
The 7 Wonders premiered earlier this month and runs until October 7 at Cresta's Barnyard. It will then move to Gateway's Barnyard Theatre in Durban for just over three months.
The production is a tribute to music legends Elvis Presley, Carlos Santana, Bryan Adams, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, Bob Marley and Chris de Burgh. It sees Janine Cupido (Houston), James Dobson (De Burg), Lee Paver (Adams), Andy Murray (Santana), JP Moggee (Presley) and Cassandra de Beer (Aguilera) join Pike on stage.
The Kimberley-born Pike admitted that it's been a tough road since his time on Idols - despite Universal Music SA executive director Lindelani Mkhize snapping him up.
Save for last season's top two of Dave van Vuuren and Mark Haze, he was the only other hopeful to immediately secure a recording deal.
But while the writing and recording process of his debut album is proving arduous (no date has been announced, but it is set for a 2013 release, according to the singer), playing corporate gigs has helped pay rent since his move out of home to the north of Johannesburg. "I kind of got tired of travelling around (doing corporate gigs), so I wanted to do something different," Pike said.
"When they called me for this role, I thought this was one the biggest things I can do - he (Bob Marley) has always been my inspiration. But I have to admit that having to embody his personality on stage was scary."
One song on his prospective debut album that looks a shoe-in already is a song called Shower With Me, written by his manager. "It's not easy. It really isn't. Idols is only a start, and once you're out that's when you begin to see how far you can make it (in the industry)," said Pike.
"Being in the competition and making it as far as you can means nothing. There are people who make promises and then avoid your calls when you call them. I've had to learn to be in control of my life."
Mashego, who has acting experience (she played Dipuka in e.tv soapie Rhythm City three years ago and toured with the High School Musical production) has been quietly working on music with revered producer RJ Benjamin (she also lists him as a mentor), while also preparing for a new TV presenting gig on a DStv channel. The Shelley Adriaanzen-directed Chef, Rattle and Roll (produced by Hazel Feldman) sees four different characters cooking a three-course meal for a VIP guest "while singing, dancing and telling you their stories".
The audience then get the chance to taste the food - cooked on stage.