Here is another amazing young lady, ready to take on the world. Please meet Firosha, talented young vocalist, songwriter and stylist. To say nothing of extremely attractive, very nice and down to earth, to boot. Her favourite genres are pop, R’NB and jazz but, having listened to a sample of some of her songs, I have a feeling this talented young lady could sing in any genre, if she put her mind to it. She has also got quite a story to tell. Now living in Western Australia, she originates from South Africa. Now the thing is, she has been extremely self-conscious in her past, mainly due to bullying - and more recently, amazingly she has auditioned for several of the Australian reality talent shows – and didn’t pass any.
Let Firosha tell you all about it.
1 You now live in Perth, but haven’t all your life. Where do you originate from?
Answer: In 1986, at the age of eight months, my father flew my mother and me to Perth from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He had moved in 1983 with his immediate family. We briefly lived in South Africa for three years in 1994 – but this has always been home.
2 What made you move to Western Australia?
Answer: My grandparents chose Australia because Cape Town, South Africa, had a very high crime rate. My family was fortunate to have good lives there. Though having four sons I can imagine this was a scary situation. I’m sure apartheid didn’t make things easy either as they are cape Malay coloured with Welsh descent.
3 You appear to be a very good singer. When did you discover this?
Answer: When I was about four years old I was like a child genius. I could read encyclopaedias really early and speak properly. I had a high pitch voice. I have home videos of me at that age imitating Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation’ and Paula Abdul with a combination of singing and dancing. The furthest I can remember back singing and performing was with a primary school choir in South Africa when my family went back for three years in 1994. I was about nine or ten years old. South Africans are very talented and fierce competitors – I wasn’t very confident but I always managed to force myself to the front row and worked at it. Even though I was the smallest. I only really discovered I could sing around 1996-1998 when I was about eleven to fourteen years old.
4 How long have you actually been singing? How young were you when you first sang publicly?
Answer: I have been singing on and off since I was five years old but I have never had formal training. I taught myself by listening and imitating artists like Celine Dion, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. I did a few school choir appearances and group talent shows but nothing solo until my first assembly performance of ‘Together Again’ by Janet Jackson in high school in 1998. Soon after I entered a talent competition with my best friend but it was what you would call, an epic fail.
5 What about the rest of your family? Are your parents or any siblings, relations musically talented?
Answer: My father sings – he has a lovely tone – very shy though. I’ve heard his parents sing briefly in the kitchen or lounge and they sound lovely. On my mother’s side I have a few younger female first cousins and an aunt who sings well. My baby brother is quite the entertainer when he wants to be but he’s very shy as well. My sister dances – well, everyone in all my family dances well. No-one plays instruments but I learned piano very young and can play ‘Happy Birthday’.
6 From reading your story, it seems that you have not always been very confident and this is something that has grown over time. Why do you feel you have been lacking this?
Answer: When you sing you bare your soul and it’s hard because you don’t know how people are going to perceive that. As much as we say we don’t, as humans, care what others think, we do, even if only a little bit. Today’s world takes away from the voice and talent and it gets overshadowed with a beat and image. So if you feel you do not have a complete package it can make you feel like you are lacking. The perfect look and sound – when in reality no matter how much we try, no-one’s perfect. What looks and sounds good today may not tomorrow. My lack of confidence came from yo-yo dieting, wanting to look like a size six pinup and listening to others put me down. Sometimes those closest to you can say things to put you off following your dreams without realising they are doing it. But then again, it’s those same people who support you and push you to your limits. It just depends on how you deal with criticism because constructive criticism is good for you. I think one too many failed attempts (competitions, reality TV, karaoke) had me second guessing my talent. It wasn’t until last year I decided to invest in myself and find a way to get me out there, regardless. This has been the best decision of my life. Costly but effective.
7 You have auditioned for several reality talent shows. Would you like to explain the audition process?
Answer: I have auditioned five times to be exact, from sixteen years of age when Guy Sebastian won ‘Idol’ – until this year. These were ‘Australian Idol’, ‘Popstars’ and ‘X Factor’. The audition process is nothing like you see on TV. You complete mass paperwork at home, stand hours in a line, meet some lovely other talented people waiting and then you audition in front of two to three sets of judges before the ones on TV. I have seen extremely talented artists turned away. I have never been on TV. I have never made an audition in front of a celebrity judge and the one I did in ‘Pop Stars’ – she had been there for hours. She just wanted to get out of there so she picked the two good looking guys in my line up and it was over. That was a good audition. You sing in front of the judges and every other contestant – supporter on the day. That tests you, your confidence and your talent. This year’s audition looked more like a job application – or a housing contract. I couldn’t believe the questions they asked and a lot of them didn’t even relate to singing. When I asked the judge what I needed to work on this year, he said don’t waste your money on lessons – go busk in the streets. When I asked him, respectfully, what he was looking for and to elaborate on what he meant by ‘go busk on the streets’, he couldn’t answer me. As disappointed as I was I thought I gave it everything and will now follow my own path, creating my own opportunities. I believe I have done so.
8 You have been bullied. Was this physical as well as psychological?
Answer: School can be a lovely, or a difficult journey for some. Unfortunately bullying still exists and the saddest part is the school protects the bully because the victim is too afraid to come forward. When they do, instead of being protected they are somewhat shunned for bringing it to people’s attention. Parents of bullies have terrible attitudes as well, to the entire thing so you can only imagine what’s going on in the home environment. Bullying can occur in school but also in your adulthood, so the sooner you learn to overcome this, the better.
My bullying was physical and psychological. Once they can’t touch you anymore because you are no longer afraid, they leave enough damage on your mentality and self esteem that you start to doubt yourself as a whole. I was picked on in primary school by older kids. In junior high it got worse because I was different. I spoke English and I had gone to school but was still seen as different. We are a lot more multi-cultural now but a s Muslim South African it wasn’t easy and you wouldn’t know I was Muslim unless I told you because we fit in – just. I had girls start fights with me for no reason. In junior high, I was a nerd, always had my head in a book, first class ranger police cadet and I think to fit in the kids that weren’t so popular would pick on the nerds to be accepted. I was physically attacked and funnily enough never by anyone that was my size. I did give them a fight though – I wasn’t afraid. I had someone put dog food in my lunch once. They teased me (about) my name, my tan and my religion. I didn’t even wear a headscarf and was still subject to it.
9 Did bullying occur throughout your schooling?
Answer: I changed schools in Year ten, 2000 and the bullying stopped. I was actually a little more popular so I made it my mission to stop other girls being bullied. The older guys would ask me to watch over their baby sisters and I tried to put an end to all that. I made it my mission to be friends with everyone from my background at any age and I’m still friends with a lot of them today. I think standing up for what’s right has gotten me into a lot of trouble but I’m not afraid to take people on – if it’s for a good cause. I think people need to learn to not be afraid and speak up. If you see something happen, tell a teacher, help out. By not getting involved, you are involved – your choice to do nothing. If something bad happens to that person (eg accident or suicide) your conscience will be a hard thing to live with.
10 You appear to have overcome these obstacles and your family and friends have realised that you have a very strong and superb voice. How does that make you feel?
Answer: I’ve had a few other life lessons which have shaped me to become who I am – some good, some bad. I feel amazing that I am finally being recognised for my talent. I still feel that I have a long way to go and so much more to learn. I have put my foot down in following my dreams and I’m pushing through to the best of my ability. I’m hoping that someone will see my work ethic and raw talent and give me a chance. I have been given that chance with WCOPA and my life is about to change on a large scale. My friends and family are surprised – some don’t even know I can sing. Overall everyone is very proud and supportive. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all, having them follow my journey has been a great feeling.
11 What are your plans for your career and the future?
Answer: I would love, in an ideal world, to be a Beyonce or a Mariah. Not exactly though – we already have them. I have the work ethic to do it all – music, modelling, fashion, have a perfume and create an empire. I have big dreams. On a smaller scale I would like to make music that people are not going to be embarrassed to listen to ten years from now. It is difficult because the commercial markets demand different. I’d love to get involved in as many projects as I can because I would like to get my name out there. I’m working on an EP at the moment and who knows – one day I’ll release an album and be able to perform it all for you.
12 Do you have a message you would like to teach the world?
Contact Details: Lannah Sawers-Diggins
Ph: 0411 139 639
|How to find FIROSHA|