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Making it to the top five more than enough for me – Niikiey after exiting Idols SA

Contestant says she wants to venture into gospel and Afro-pop

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Idols SA top 5 contestant of Season 19 Niikiey Kubheka at Mosaïek Teatro, Johannesburg.
Idols SA top 5 contestant of Season 19 Niikiey Kubheka at Mosaïek Teatro, Johannesburg.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

For ousted Idols SA contestant Niikiey, making the top five of the final season of the singing competition show is something she will cherish forever.  

Real name, Niki Kubheka, the 19-year-old  aspiring musician exited the show at the weekend with Grammy winner and American artist PJ Morton making a guest appearance. Princess, Faith, Nkosi and Thabo then advanced to the top four. 

“I was at a library in March when I received a call that I must come and sing for the judges,” Niikiey said.

“This was during a time when I felt the lowest in my life because I wasn’t going to school as I had anticipated. 

“I applied to several varsities and none of them accepted me. Some of the reasons I received from the institutions I applied to were that my marks were too low for me to study psychology and the other reasons were that the classes for the course I wanted were too full. So, I’ve been home since last year.”  

Niikiey completed her matric in 2021 and while she was unable to further her studies, music became her saving grace.

Idols SA final five Nkosi King Teresa, Princess MacDonald, Faith Nakana, Thabo Ndlovu and Niikiey Kubheka held at Mosaïek Teatro, in Johannesburg on Saturday. Photo Veli Nhlapo
Idols SA final five Nkosi King Teresa, Princess MacDonald, Faith Nakana, Thabo Ndlovu and Niikiey Kubheka held at Mosaïek Teatro, in Johannesburg on Saturday. Photo Veli Nhlapo
Image: Veli Nhlapo

“I’ve been postponing entering the competition since I was 16. Every year I’d promise myself that I’d go but I only managed to do so this year at 19; I knew I had a beautiful voice but because I was bullied for having a thick voice in primary school, I wasn’t sure of my gift,” said the singer from Vosloorus, in the East Rand.

“It was only in high school that I realised I had a great voice. I then joined choirs and that helped me grow musically. I built confidence in the recent years and that’s what gave me the motivation to step on such a stage as Idols.” 

Before joining the show, Niikiey built a following of 11,000 on TikTok, which has now grown to 16,000. Her biggest highlight on the show was when she was paired with Mmatema Moremi for the first live show performance, which showed her fans how versatile of a singer she is.

“As much as I wanted to do gospel, singing with a well-known artist was such a huge honour for me. I had an epiphany singing with Mmatema and how she was also a contestant on the show. I knew then and there that God had ordained for me to be there,” she said.    

Niikiey plans to embark on a career in gospel and Afro-pop.   

“I’m just glad to have been on the show. Yes, it’s sad that I didn’t last that long but my goal was to at least reach the top 10, and making it to the top five was more than enough for me. People know me now. I got the right exposure, I’m just hoping for the best as I keep grinding in the music industry,” she said.  

“If it means I need to keep doing covers up until the right music producers or record labels see my talent, I will keep on pushing.” 

Niikiey Kubheka with Betusile Mcinga singing 'Ngena Noah' during the Idols SA season 19 top 5.
Niikiey Kubheka with Betusile Mcinga singing 'Ngena Noah' during the Idols SA season 19 top 5.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

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