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Friday, February 26, 2021

Maak My Famous: Get to know Nicoleen Saal, season 2 winner

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English/Kaaps

Meet 21-year-old Nicoleen Saal – a freelance performer originally from the Cape Point Nature Reserve. She is also the current winner of Maak My Famous!

The season 2 winner of the popular talent scouting competition hails from Ocean View and is one of seven children. She also happens to be a twin!

Nicoleen may also be starring as Cinderella in Cinderella & FrikaDella (a classic story with a Kaapse twist). Although busy with the theatre production written and directed by Alistair Izobell, humble Nicoleen took the time out of her schedule to answer a few questions about Maak My Famous, her musical inspirations and more.

Keep reading to find out more about Nicoleen.

Who is Nicoleen Saal?

Nicoleen Saal is a church girl who loves to dance. She is a strong woman with a big heart. A hard worker. She’s perceived as an introvert to people because she doesn’t say much when in the company of others but she’s also quite the bubbly one. She loves the comfort of her own home. She loves to laugh.

When did you start singing?

I was in Sunday school with my twin sister and a friend, we were called The Trios. We would come together every weekend and think about what song we could sing for Sunday . . . and then on Sundays, we would just do a normal song that we sing in church. The people would stand up and be very proud of us! When I started high school – that’s when my father passed away – I was looking for something to occupy my mind . . . and I was looking for a purpose, so I joined the worship team at our church . . . they said that I’m doing very well and I have a voice, so I wanted more! I wanted to learn more. I joined a gospel group and that is where they . . . jinne hulle gooi vi my innie diepkant! So, dit is wat vi my baie sterker gemaakit. Ja, and that was that.

Who are your musical inspirations?

Beyoncé definitely, and of course our hardworking local artists Tarryn Lamb, Mahalia Buchanan and Paxton.

When did you decide to enter Maak My Famous and how did you feel when you did?

I think it was in October . . . ja it was in October. Before that a family member tagged me in a post on Facebook saying that auditions are open for Maak My Famous. I was like, ‘No, I’m not interested, it’s TV’ and ‘No, ek willie oppie TV wiesie’ [laughs].

And then I was like, ‘Ok, ek gannie noodwendig oppie TV issie, djy moet dit eerste deurmaak.’ So I was like, ‘Ok what do I have to lose? If I’m not in, I’m not in.’ Then [as a home audition] I sat on my bed, sang Bruno Mars and Cardi B’s Finnesse. The end of November, or December, I got a surprise visit from Emo Adams saying that I made it to the Top 48. That was my Christmas gift of 2019.

Did you know you would win?

When I got into the Top 48, I knew that it was time to take everything seriously and I think everyone’s aim was to win. When you’re in the Top 48, you’re just ready to work. When I got into the Top 10, I was like, ‘Ok whoa, everyone is amazingly gifted and talented . . . ek gattie meer wennie.’

Everyone was so focused and everyone grew after each episode. Die stories wat djy hoor van anne mense . . . You start to put yourself aside and think, ‘Wow, but that person deserves it. I also deserve it!’ Ja, so afterwards I was just having fun and doing what I love and that was singing and performing, and learning.

I didn’t know I was going to win [laughs] but it felt amazing! It felt like a dream; it felt like something I wanted, but I didn’t know it would [become] a reality honestly . . . I still can’t explain it!

If you weren’t singing, what would your occupation be?

In the beginning of this year I studied at ETA College in Rondebosch. I studied [towards a] high certificate in fitness. It was more like a realistic choice I felt that I had to make because I always wanted to do music or be in the entertainment industry. [I wanted] to do drama or study drama, musical theatre . . . that was always my heart. But, ek was bang. I was scared, so that is why I probably made the fitness decision. Luckily Maak My Famous saved me.

What advice can you give to those wanting to follow their dreams?

Sometimes to certain people our dreams seem impossible due to our circumstances; due to what certain people told us in the past; due to certain things in life. We, as dreamers, need to realise that we are bigger than our dreams. We are bigger than that dream. We are bigger than our circumstances.

If we push through and stay present, do what we have to do, respect our mothers, our fathers . . . our guardians and just do what we love to do and remain focused, we will be able to achieve whatever dream we have. We will be able to achieve a dream bigger than what we thought! So ja, always be focused, be present in everything . . . in every obstacle that comes your way. You are bigger than that!

What can we expect from you in 2021?

[You can expect me to] release my single. I’ve been very busy these past couple of months, so I will definitely be working on that. [You can also expect me] to be on a stage and share my love and gratitude towards the people that voted for me. Hulle is oek deel vannie riede hoekom ek is, waar ek nou is. Ja, just to be able to be on stage and enjoy myself . . . and share my gift with other people. I also definitely want to collaborate with local artists such Craig Lucas, Jimmy Nevis, Paxton Fielies, Shekhinah and Yanga.

[I would also like to] be part of more theatre productions . . .  have my hand in many pies [laughs], you know?

We should all take a page out of Nicoleen’s book, as she has shown that if you are driven, you will be able to reach your goal . . . because dai kan jou lekke famous maak!

Jade Rhode
"I write what I like" - Steve Biko