Local songstress Tamia Phooko is not as popular as she wants to be yet.
Artists face many challenges which weaken their potential, but Phooko has said, against all the odds, she wants to be internationally recognised.
She was crowned the inaugural winner of the talent search programme Step-Up Lesotho in October 2019 and took home a brand-new VW Polo Vivo vehicle.
She told Newsday in January this year that she was promised a recording deal in the United States of America (USA) record, a three-year scholarship to study at the Integrated Business College (IBC) and a M10,000 cash prize.
She was awarded the car and is yet to receive other prizes. She told this publication that she was managing to make progress in music with only what is available to her.
“It (withholding prizes) does not affect any of my progress so I am grateful for that,” she said.
One of her plans is to go to a music school to sharpen her natural skills.
“I feel I deserve the opportunity to enhance and improve my knowledge and skills in music,” she said and indicated that she wanted to represent Lesotho internationally.
Despite the organisers not living up to their promise, Tamia said winning the competition boosted her career.
“I have been getting many bookings and I have also been involved in a lot of collaborations and invited to perform as a backing vocalist,” she said.
She also revealed that she has lately been focusing on her upcoming project and said fans should expect the release of her single, Tselane le Limo in the coming weeks, which will be followed by the release of an EP.
“I am super excited about this,” she said.
As one of the artists in the country who wants to see the entertainment industry thriving, Tamia said that she wished that there was a variety of music competitions in the country.
Also, the artists need not only support from the government but also deserve support from the event organisers as well.
Event organisers, she said, should contribute to the music scene by giving local artists a chance to step up instead of only booking international artists for their festivals.
“I feel they (local musicians) need the support and like in South Africa and other countries, 60 percent of the music played on radios and nightclubs should be local music,” Tamia said.
The music industry will only grow if there are good working relations between artists and event organisers, she also said.
“Not only should artists be given proper recognition, but they also deserve to be paid well too. Clubs in the country should pay royalties for the music they play in their establishments as a way to help Basotho artists grow,” she said.