The Voice

"It's not very pleasant": Thando Sikwila dishes on the toughest part of The Voice heading into the finale

Plus, she reveals why production had to shut down.

By Catie Powers
It's no surprise that Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Thando Sikwila has made it to The Voice grand final.
Her impressive pipes were showcased from the get-go with her rendition of Chaka Khan's I'm Every Woman during her blind audition.
Earning a place in Team Keith and successfully passing the call backs, battle rounds and semi-finals, she is now tasked with singing for the championship against Lachie Gill, Faith Sosene and Jordan Tavita.
As they watch her Voice journey unfold in real time, Thando's family are more than proud of the musician and mum.
Thando Sikwila has made it to the final four of The Voice 2022. (Image: Seven)
"No one in our family's ever done anything like this, but my mum was just speaking about how she's really inspired watching me go for my dreams," the reality star tells our sister site New Idea.
"I've wanted nothing else since I was a little girl to be a musician and I've stopped at nothing to make that happen. And I'm just really proud of myself for having this unwavering determination."
Thando's number one fan, however, is arguably her daughter Charlie, who adorably interrupted her blind audition as she called for her mum from side stage.
"Whenever we watch it back on TV, she's always like, 'is that you mummy?'," Thando gushes.
Thando originally appeared on The Voice eight years ago. (Image: Seven)
"All I wanted for her to do was just to see me being the best version of myself and being happy so that she can want that for herself and know that it's okay. To just do what makes you happy. It's very important to me that she knows that."
Of course, this isn't the first time the Melbourne local has taken The Voice stage, with the performer appearing on the singing competition eight years ago. Though, things have been "very different" this time around.
"The first time I was on it, it used to run a lot longer on television. This time was different because of a lot of different factors like COVID," the singer explains.
"Production got shut down at one point because cast members started getting COVID from each other," she continues, adding it was "too big of a risk" to continue.
"Imagine getting to the grand final and not being able to actually perform because you're in isolation."
But the shut down wasn't the toughest part for Thando, who found the battle rounds particularly gruelling.
"Just knowing that you're singing against someone, it's not very pleasant. Musicians, we're collaborative people and we wear our hearts on our sleeves and we're very sensitive about our art," Thando muses.
She added: "I kept saying 'I don't want to battle'" ahead of her performance with eliminated contestant Shaun Wessel.
"When Shaun and I were battling, we definitely approached it as two musos just having a good time together. And we did, and I really enjoyed performing with him, so much so that we're definitely going to be doing it again at some point in the future."
Thando's number one fan is her daughter Charlie. (Image: Instagram)
What did help Thando get into a competitive mindset during the battle rounds was her coach Keith Urban who helped "coax out that competitive spirit" while also gently luring the singer out of her comfort zone.
"[Keith] was a really great match for a coach for me because he would be able to sort of see me in a different way to how I'd always been perceived," Thando says.
"I came into the show as a soul and R&B singer and I feel like I've sort of had this evolution into a pop singer, which I just never imagined in a million years would ever be a thing for me.
And I think it's because I just really underestimated how difficult it is to actually sing pop music until I got to doing Chandelier."
This article was originally published on our sister site New Idea.

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