Out to lunch with divalicious Mandisa Tiso

BIG-VOICED Mandisa Tiso, one of the Divalicious Project cabaret quartet, trained as a musician at Stageworld Theatre School in Port Elizabeth.

She chose to have a pollo gorgio pasta and a cocktail at the Primi Piatti at Brookes on the Bay.

How did you get into music?

I’ve always loved music. It might be a cliche, but it is a universal language. When I was young, I used to enter talent competitions in Walmer Location where I live. I loved being on stage and getting attention, but most of all, I loved to sing and entertain people. I then discovered musical theatre when I was in Grade 6 and I saw then that I could combine all the things I enjoyed doing like singing.

What advice would you give to a 16-year-old version of yourself?

I would tell her to learn to forgive people, because life is not a musical fairytale, we don’t always have happy endings.

Which teacher/mentor made the biggest impression on you, and how?

Three women have had a huge impact in my career choices. Firstly, it’s Glenis Whitehead (my Grade 6 teacher). I auditioned for a school musical, The Little Mermaid, and was cast as the evil witch. I think that’s when she noticed I was actually a good singer and performer.

When I was in Grade 7, she took me for my first big musical audition, Annie. She would fetch me from rehearsals and take me to her house and make sure I went to bed on time and woke me up for school the next day. She is a very special teacher and mentor.

The second one is Robin Williams, who gave me free speech and drama lessons when I started high school. She taught me all the basics and introduced me to a world of opportunities.

The last one is Marlene Peterse who runs Stageworld. She pushed me, hard sometimes, to do my best but it always paid off. She taught me not to just sing a song, but to feel it, to feel how the person who wrote or performed it felt.

If you had to perform karaoke, what song would it be?

It’s Raining Men or I Don’t Want to Know by Gladys Knight.

What is your favourite spot in the metro?

The beach, because that is where I get time to relax and have deep meaningful thoughts.

To party, I love Captains both in Summerstrand and in Central. It’s a great place to just be and be surrounded by a great atmosphere. I also like going to Balizza when I feel like dressing up.

For shopping, I go to Walmer Park and Greenacres. I’m a sucker for beautiful shoes and clothes.

“I can’t go a day without …” My BlackBerry!

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