With the passing of Oliver Mtuzudzi this week, Africa lost a bonafide music legend. It was also a tough blow for season 1 contender Jeremy Olivier – not only did our finalist adore the Zimbabwean singer, but his stirring rendition of the artist’s “Neria” during the live shows – dedicated to his mom on Mother’s Day – prompted cheers and tears.
And it even led to a set visit from the man himself!
The two even performed together after season 1, in late 2016. In a touching tribute on Twitter, Jeremy described “Tuku”, as he was affectionately known, as being his “musical, and spiritual African father.”
This isn’t the only time The Voice SA talent have performed tracks from artists passed – or musos who died subsequently (nobody needs to be reminded that the past few years have taken a dreadful toll on the music biz).
When Craig Lucas paid tribute to the Purple One, Prince, in season 2’s live shows, it was considered one of the key moments in his eventual win.
During the duet round, runner-up Josh Ansley sang with opera performer Magdalene Minaar – the track they performed was “Barcelona” by Freddy Mercury and Montserrat Caballé. While the Queen frontman passed away over 25 years ago, the famed soprano left us late last year.
Who could forget Fatman? And who could forget Joe Cocker? The raspy-voiced singer died in 2014, but Fatman’s cover of “Unchain My Heart” would certainly not have had him turning in his grave.
Iconic soul and gospel singer Aretha Franklin passed away in 2018. In season 2, Spha Mdladlose got turns from Karen and Lira for her confident cover of the legend’s “Say A Little Prayer”.
Brenda “MaBrr” Fassie died in 2004, but her legacy is immortal. Tender Mavundla paid tribute in season 2 with a blistering rendition of wedding favourite “Vulindlela”.
Michelle Benham – another #TeamLira talent – booked her place in the show with a rendition of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by the super-talented but troubled Whitney Houston, who died in 2012.