Berry well done! Meet our Idols SA Season 17 winner

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Idols Season 17 winner, bubbly Berenike “Berry” Trytsman, tells us about life in the Idols House & more.

With over 12,5 million votes cast during the Idols SA Season 17 finale – and after beating out 15,000 eager entries this year just for the chance to compete – Berenike “Berry” Trytsman’s golden voice and showmanship won her the crown on Sunday, 21 November, beating runner-up Karabo Mathe.

Other than the R1 million cash prize, Berry walks away with a recording deal, clothing vouchers, a brand-new car, a bursary to study business administration, and musical equipment.

For the Capetonian, winning Idols SA is a dream come true. Berry entered Idols SA Season 6 in 2010 but she was eliminated shortly after she placed in the Top 30. This mom of four didn’t give up on her goal, though. She auditioned again this year and she stole South Africa’s hearts with her bubbly personality, bright smile and powerful voice. “This moment is going to stand out for the rest of my life,” says Berry.

“I’m glad that I didn’t give up on my dreams or I wouldn’t be here. I’m truly overjoyed and I’d like to release as much music as I can. I can’t wait to tour locally and internationally. I want to take this platform that I’ve been given and run with it,” adds 30-year-old Berry the morning after the finale.

Want to re-watch Berry’s entire journey from episode 1? The whole of Idols SA Season 17 is available on DStv as a Box Set until Sunday, 19 December. 

Binge Idols SA S17 on Catch Up now

Winning South Africa’s hearts

Congratulations on your victory. How did you celebrate?

After I was announced as the winner, we had a big party with the entire production crew, the contestants and my family. It was lovely to catch up with my husband, Renier, as I hadn’t seen him since I left home for Theatre Week in early August! I’m still trying to wrap my head around winning the competition. What a moment.

You didn’t see your family for three months. What kept you going in the competition?

Prayer – and not just me praying, but Renier’s, our church congregation, my Idols SA competitors and my fans. I’ve made great relationships in the [Idols SA] house and I consider them my friends. We supported each other throughout the competition, and I think that kept me sane. I must say, though, my fans sent me scriptures to read, which was reassuring.

What was it like in the Idols SA house?

It was challenging as we are still in the middle of a pandemic, and we couldn’t go out and do much. We were always in the house, in the bubble, and there was nothing much to do than to eat, sleep, sing and repeat. Nonetheless, it was a great experience and the other contestants, and I grew closer. We were always there for each other.

What was going through your mind on the day of your audition earlier this year?

I’m always nervous before I go on stage. I could hear my heart beating faster and louder, and my mouth was dry. What made my audition more nerve-wracking was that I knew that I didn’t have another chance to enter Idols SA because I am at the cut-off age, and there was no way I could try again in future. I took in a deep breath, I said a little prayer and I sang my heart out. I needed to show the judges what I could do. I thought: “If I don’t do this right, it’s over.”

What did you do differently in this year’s competition that made you stand out compared to 11 years ago?

I didn’t have the support structure that I have now. I have an amazing husband who supports me, and he encourages me through everything. I also think that I’ve grown musically and in my personal life, which keeps me motivated and focussed.

What happened in your life between your first audition in 2010 and this year’s audition?

Well, I got married, I had a son and I got divorced, which was a difficult time. I started pushing myself again and I concentrated on music again. Years later, I met Renier, [who has two sons]. We got married and we had a daughter. We now have a beautiful, blended family. Although my life was complete and I was happy, I had always promised myself that I would enter Idols SA 1 more time. I then recorded my audition video, I sent it and the rest was history.

Was there a point in the competition when you thought: “I could actually win this”?

Honestly, no. Each week, I thought that I was going home until the point, during the finale, that I was backstage, and I was overcome with emotion. I was holding Karabo’s hand, and I told her that we are in the top 2 and 1 of us is going to win. It didn’t cross my mind that the winner could be me until the host ProVerb called out my name. All along, I knew that Karabo was also a worthy winner.

Which artists would you like to collaborate with in future?

Where do I even begin? There are so many. I love the local band Goldfish, they create awesome music. Mi Casa is also great. I’m not picky with what I sing, whether it’s a house song, rock, jazz or pop song, I’m always excited to try any music genre. I even told Karabo that in future, I’d like to sing a worship song with her because gospel music is where my heart lies.

What made you choose your single Ungowami? It’s an isiZulu love song and you don’t speak the language. 

Yes, I can’t speak isiZulu at all, but when I heard the song for the first time, I connected to it. I like the way it sounds and the message behind it. It’s a beautiful love song about finding a great partner and I believe that I share that with my husband. I have been through so much and finding him was fantastic. After listening to it, I sat down, and I worked out the pronunciation and I ensured that I sang all the words correctly. I also made sure that I had the translation to know what I was singing about. Ungowami touched my heart and if I feel that way about the song, I can project that [emotion] to everyone listening.

What are you planning to do with the R1 million cash prize?

Like many South Africans, I have debt. I would like to pay that off, and with the remaining money, I want to be as smart as I possibly can and invest it. Eventually, I’d like to buy my family a house. I’d like to provide my kids with a life that I’ve always dreamt of giving them – and I feel that it is now within reach.

The whole of Berry’s Idols SA Season 17 journey is now available on DStv as a Box Set until Sunday, 19 December. 

Binge Idols SA S17 on Catch Up now 

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