WATCH | Nelson Mandela Bay teen a sensation online
'Likhey’ stays humble as fame beckons and record labels come knocking
Despite becoming an overnight internet sensation for his cover of Ami Faku’s Ndikhethe Wena, a Nelson Mandela Bay teen remains humble as record labels fight over him.
Kwazakhele’s Likwithemba Booi, 15, wowed internet users when his mentor and fellow Bay artist, Dumza Maswana, posted a video on twitter announcing that the youngster would be part of the lineup for his show at the Port Elizabeth Opera House in May.
Maswana’s video, uploaded on Twitter, garnered just under 100,000 views, 9,000 likes and just over 3,000 retweets after it was posted on April 15.
Artists like Donald, Cassper Nyovest , Afrotraction, DJ Cleo, DJ Maphorisa and Ami Faku gushed over the teen and some said they would like to work with him.Proud parents Kholisile and Nosiphiwo Booi beamed as the Khwezi Lomso Comprehensive School pupil walked in, neatly dressed in his school’s grey trousers and jersey, to their home earlier this week.“Likheyi”, as he is affectionately known, says his singing improved when he tried to mimic his father, who is also a singer.Likhey could not hide his excitement when asked about his most recent viral video.Another video of him performing at his school’s talent show in 2018 also went viral – with more than 680,000 views on Facebook.“I feel happy and I am very excited that artists that inspire me have finally given me the nod of approval – it means a lot to me and to my parents because I get my voice from them.”Booi said he had begun singing at the tender age of five with his father at church.“I joined my dad’s singing group when I was still young and we would sing at church.“It is there where I gained the confidence to sing alone.“In January this year I also started my own group, called United Voices,” he said.Although he would like to be a singer, Likhey admits that he is also interested in sound engineering, information technology and acting.“The goal for me is to work for my family and build them a big home, because family comes first,” he added.Booi’s father says he gets excited, but worried too when he thinks about his child’s possible career.“I am happy for his success but I get nervous too, as any parent would if his child were to have a chance to become a star.“With his young age and knowing how the music industry is, we are worried, but we will not stop him from pursuing his dreams should he want to do it,” he said.“My wish is for him to follow his dreams and whatever those dreams are, I will support him.“I know children change their passions all the time and I would not have a problem with whatever he wants to do – now it is singing so we are pushing for that.”Booi’s mom, who is also a choral singer, says she has mixed feelings about him singing because she worries that he would not always be in her care.“I am happy because he is my child but I have some fears as well. But I trust him because he is a well-mannered boy.”Mentor Maswana said he had initially posted the video to promote of the show, but it had become more than that.“I can see that something great is coming for the boy and I hope his parents make a good decision with regard to his future. But I will be there to offer guidance.”“Huge companies and lots of people are talking to me since the video and it’s scary – but a good scary.”Likhey will perform alongside Maswana and Ntsika Ngxanga from The Soil in May...