He might not have won the competition, but he got the girl.
The third time was indeed the charm for Brandon Dhludhlu (24). He auditioned for the music competition in 2018 and 2019, and both times he never made it to the top 16.
But there was something about 2020 that changed his luck in the Idols competition. Brandon made it to the top three, found his soulmate, and received a life-changing record deal.
It has been an unbelievable journey,” the Mpumalanga-born musician tells Drum.
“I never expected all of it, and it has been amazing. This journey has motivated me, and I now believe that I can do anything as long as I keep going and not give up,” he shares.
In June 2020 during theatre week, the Idols contestants Brandon and Zama Khumalo found love in each other.
Zama won Idols 2020 with Brandon cheering her to the top.
The lovebirds have been supporting one another ever since, and now they have a new song together titled Ngimtholile.
The love song is an ode to finding one’s soulmate, and Brandon says he relates completely to the song because he found his soulmate, Zama.
“The song was co-written by two people, they thought me and Zama would kill the song, and we went to the studio to record it,” he says.
Brandon says Zama’s talent inspires him.
"Zama was one of the strongest contestants, she won for a reason," he says.
The couple share that they never planned on keeping their relationship a secret. But it wasn't long before other contestants realised they were a couple.
Brandon tells us he was scared of Zama when they first met, but she inspired him to keep on going and to deliver his best on Idols.
Brandon is currently in the studio working on his debut album, which is set for release in 2022.
Talking about his newfound fame, Brandon says it is surreal.
"After Idols, I went back home, people were asking for pictures, some of my friends thought because I am now famous they should distance themselves from me. In a way it feels like I am no longer a human being, people just want pictures, it’s been crazy."
"Unfortunately, we are not making a lot of money at the moment due to the pandemic. Gigs are delayed and no money is coming in," he says. But Brandon is motivated by his family and Zama to keep going and not stop now.
“I don’t want to go home empty-handed, so that keeps me going.”
Both Brandon and Zama are signed to Kalawa Jazmee.
Outside of music, Brandon wants to act and he shares that, as a kid, he used to love to draw.
“I am into arts and I have been in contact with a couple of productions. It would be amazing to portray other people, so I am definitely considering acting."