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Thami Shobede – The Reverb

Thami Shobede

Finishes second in season 12

What an absolute tragedy – but also a triumph. Thami Shobede aka Fresh Milk was runner-up to Noma Khumalo in 2016 but passed away just three years later on the verge of a wonderful career. Like many successful Idols including Shekhinah, he was a repeat offender, making the Top 16 in season 11 before returning to finish second in season 12. In 2017, he released the acclaimed single ‘Sthandwa’ and then the album ‘Never Lost’, which debuted at number one on the iTunes chart. He said of the album at the time, “I created a love inspired album with sounds extending from deep Afro soul to mbaqanga soul tunes that will have you dancing like crazy. My album is meant to breach a gap between the Brenda Fassie and Afro-pop sounds to the soulful and still authentic sounds of Amanda Black and the likes of Musa and Vusi Nova. It’s a blend of sounds merging R&B and my cultural heritage.” It scored a nomination for a SAMA in the Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album category, a year in which Shekhinah swept up three awards. He was gigging regularly and inspiring others (including Mr Music) when he collapsed on stage on 11 September 2019 and later passed away aged just 31. He told IOL of the show, “I would like to think I won Idols. People go into the competition to achieve their music dream. You want to sign that big record dream, you want to get booked like every other artist you look up to, you want to be on TV and be recognised and trend. Part of that includes the prizes for the top spot. I think I got everything that comes with the competition except the prizes.” He’s missed every day.

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