Idols SA 2020 ‘Season 16’ Top 10 song choice
Here are the song choice for the Idols SA 2020 top 10 contestants.
This Sunday the contestants sing songs meant to motivate, including some gospel and secular classics!
While some of this Sunday’s live show songs are indeed rousing gospel, others simply inspire reverence and joy. Here’s what they are.
Be: Mariah Carey – ‘Make It Happen’
This is indeed a gospel number by music’s favourite diva, but in the hands of songwriters and producers Clivillés and Cole (aka C+C Music Factory) it’s also a delicious disco stomper. The third single off her 1991 ‘Emotions’ album, it incorporates traces of gospel in its bridge and crescendo – but it bangs on a strong club beat.
Brandon: The Golden Gospel Singers – ‘Oh Freedom’
While the version of this song that Brandon is singing is from this Harlem-affiliated choir, it’s actually a post-Civil War African-American freedom song. It’s often associated with the Civil Rights Movement, having been sung by Joan Baez at the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his unforgettable ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.
Bongi: Beyonce – ‘Spirit’
Labrinth is one of the co-writers and co-producers of this cut recorded for the 2019 film ‘The Lion King’. “A dynamic secular-gospel exhortation to ‘Rise up!’” as one writer put it, the ballad opens with lyrics chanted in Swahili by male choristers, and it was generally praised for its inclusion of African music elements. It’s also a showcase of Beyoncé’s range, so Bongi better bring it.
Jooma: Leon Bridges – ‘River’
This track is taken from Bridges’ 2015 debut album ‘Coming Home’. A soul singer in the mould of ‘60’s R&B crooners like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, Bridges’ song is slow and imploring, containing the lines ‘In my darkness I remember / Momma’s words reoccur to me / “Surrender to the good Lord / And he’ll wipe your slate clean.”’ It’s just been featured in the highly-rated sci fi show Lovecraft Country.
Mr Music: Sjava – ‘Ighawe’
An urging to ‘wake up’ and ‘pressa pusha phanda, push imission”, this song is a great showcase of the Afro-folk / trap crossover that’s made Sjava so popular. It initially emerged on social media – one of the tracks culled from his 2018 SAMA-winning debut album – before being released on the ‘Umphako’ EP. ‘It’s one of the songs that I appreciate because of the messaging, production, everything about it,’ Sjava says. ‘It’s one of the songs that make me proud, and it’s not every day that I’m proud of a song I make.’
Ndoni: Brenda Mtambo – ‘Ungayeki’
A beseeching not to stop or let go, this tender tune appeared on Brenda Mtambo’s 2016 debut ‘So Much More’. The message – to always be motivated – might have been the reason Brenda overcame her Covid-19 blues: she wrote on Twitter in May that she was “so emotional because life hasn’t been easy for me,” but concluded: “I am healing each and every day.”
Ntokozo: Tori Kelly – ‘Never Alone’
The lead single from her sophomore 2018 album ‘Hiding Place’, this tune was co-written with gospel legend Kirk Franklin (and Max Martin, the Swedish songwriter best known for hits by Britney and the Backstreet Boys). A plaintive and powerful track, it contains the lines “There’s not a hole too deep / That God’s love is not deeper still / You’ve come too far to give up now / Let’s go!” and it won the Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance/Song in 2019.
Succedor: Stevie Wonder – ‘Higher Ground’
We shouldn’t be surprised that this song was written and recorded in three hours – that’s Stevie Wonder, who also played every instrument on the track , including the then-novelty synthesizer the Moog. Appearing on his 1973 masterpiece ‘Innervisions’, the lyrics address the issue of reincarnation and, according to Billboard, “People who are moving ahead in love and in all phases of life.”
Zama: Jennifer Hudson – ‘A Change is Gonna Come’
Hudson performed this track at the Democratic National Convention this year, but the Sam Cooke original dates back to 1964. The song was inspired when Cooke and his entourage were turned away from a whites-only motel in Louisiana and it is a Civil Rights Movement staple. It contains the refrain, ‘It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.’
ZanoThando: Alicia Keys – ‘Superwoman’
‘Every time I sing [‘Superwoman’], it makes me feel inspired to be however I am that day,’ Keys said of this song, the fourth and final single from her 2007 album ‘As I Am’. A celebration of femininity co-written with the prodigious Linda Perry, it earned Keys her second consecutive Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 2009.