Rising Star award for Idols’ Amanda

Amanda Black will sing at the National Arts Festival on the main programme
Amanda Black will sing at the National Arts Festival on the main programme

Singer and songwriter Amanda Benedicta Antony – better known by her stage name, Amanda Black – grew up pursuing one dream only: to be a famous singer.

The 25-year-old spent her childhood entering school talent shows and competitions, but it was her third SA Idols entry in 2015 that ultimately led to her success.

The Afro Soul star, who made it to the final seven of Idols’ season 11 and whose debut album Amazulu went platinum just three weeks after its 2016 release, has been awarded a prestigious Rising Star alumni award by her alma mater, Nelson Mandela University.

Black graduated from NMU with a National Diploma in Music in 2015.

“It is an honour to be receiving this prestigious award. It means all the hard work has not been in vain,” she said.

The singer pursued tertiary studies “because my mother wanted me to have a plan B”.

“I chose music because all I wanted to do was sing.”

Black, who was the season 11 fans’ favourite, said although she was disappointed not to win Idols, she had gained invaluable experience.

“My journey has been filled with hard work and blessings.

“Timing is everything,” she said.

“I learnt I wasn’t meant to win Idols even though I wanted to, but I was meant to be there, because I learnt a lot about who I wanted to be, and who I was as an artist.

“Being eliminated taught me the importance of perseverance and persistence. I also learnt about the huge impact and power that social media has on the industry.”

Her hit single Amazulu , meaning “the Heavens” and written in isiXhosa, was nominated for several SA and international music awards, and earned her two MetroFM awards, four SA Music Awards and nearly three million views on YouTube.

“My hopes for my career going forward are that my music and message reach more people and heal and touch people’s lives on a global scale,” she said.

Black is known for the Xhosa art patterns she wears on her face. “[It] has quickly become part of my brand . . . But it started as a way of expressing myself and embracing who I am.”