Q&A with Bianca le Grange, performing in David Kramer’s District Six Tribute ‘Kanala’

Most people remember her as a finalist on the first season of Idols. But Bianca le Grange has kept busy since her television appearance back in 2002.

Where and when did you love for music start?

Music was always a part of life. My mom was a music teacher. She played the organ in church and would lay me on her lap to accompany the choir. She says I would be humming and singing along.

When did you first decide to become a performer?

I’ve been performing since I was six years old. It’s all I ever wanted to do. So from a young age I knew I would be on a stage. I would take every opportunity awarded to me, from singing at weddings and funerals to friend’s birthdays and family gatherings.

Did you consider any other careers for yourself?

Teaching is the only other profession that I would consider. If I never became a performer, I would be teaching performance art.

Image: Fugard Theatre
Image: Fugard Theatre

What failures have you had in your career?

Not reading contracts and knowing where your signed copy is. This was a huge setback in my career. But failures are there to teach us. My challenging moments in life and my career have always taught me to get up and try again. Cry, wipe your tears, and start over.

What other difficulties have you had along the way?

I still get challenged and people’s perceptions are “You’re famous so you must be rich now” or “You’ve been exposed so do it free for the community”. But people don’t realise that I still get rejected I still get disappointed. I still have to try hard, be better, and always ready for anything.

What lessons have you learned from these experiences?

First, opportunities are not awarded to you. Sometimes you have to create those opportunities for yourself. Second, have persistence, courage, and drive. Learn from your mistakes, swallow your pride, humble yourself, and try again. Third, treat people the way you would want to be treated. You never know who someone might become.

Image: Fugard Theatre
Image: Fugard Theatre

What has been the biggest professional highlight in your career?

Meeting Nelson Mandela and singing for his first 46664 concert with Usher, Alicia Keys, and P Diddy.

What has been your most memorable experience as a performer?

The first time the top 12 of Idols sang for an audience of 25 000 people at the dome in Northgate Johannesburg, I cried seeing the crowd. I was so nervous!

What was it like to be a finalist on the show?

My Idols experience was bitter and sweet but I enjoyed doing it. I still watch every year and vote and see the new talents they will be putting through that gruelling audition. I got a lot of exposure and it opened many doors for me, from being a presenter on TV to being an actress. After 13 years, people still refer to me as the girl who did Idols!

How do you find time for the singing, acting, and other gigs?

Time management. I don’t say yes to every event and job. I choose what is beneficial for my career as well as my purpose. My goal is not just to entertain; I want to touch and help people by connecting with their souls.

Image: Fugard Theatre
Image: Fugard Theatre

Kanala is at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town from 2 February. Book at Computicket.