HERE IS ANOTHER YOUNG LADY WHO IS GOING PLACES! PLEASE WELCOME – FIROSHA!
Firosha Price. Remember that name. As the announcement up there screams – here is another young lady who is very definitely going places. The vocalist, writer and dancer is, in short, a lady of many talents. And darned hard to believe she is also a past victim of bullying – and, like most of ‘my people’ she is another who is rising above her torment and becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Originating from South Africa, her father flew her mother and her to Western Australia in 1986, when Firosha was eight months. Her father had already moved to Australia three years previously and this was now home. When asked why they did move to Australia, Firosha explains that their old home town in South Africa had a very high crime rate. It seemed that her family was fortunate enough to enjoy a good life there – although she admits that it was a scary situation as there were four sons as well – and apartheid did not make things any easier – they are Cape Malay coloured with Welsh descent.
Now, Firosha knew she could sing – she actually describes herself as having been ‘”his tiny little annoying thing” when she was a member of her class choir in primary school. But, while she has always known she could sing, she was not really given a choice – she was always made to feel not good enough. However, fortunately for the world, and us, this young lady persisted because she knew she had it in her. Also blessed with good looks she is very down to earth and just a really nice person. Firosha has been extremely self-conscious in her past – mainly due to that bullying – and more recently, she is one of several I have heard about who auditioned for a few of the Australian reality talent shows – but amazingly didn’t pass any. And yet…well, let’s just say there’s more to this young lady than meets the eye.
I mentioned that she really does appear to be an excellent singer and asked when this talent was discovered. She had this to say: “When I was four years old, I was like a child genius. I could read encyclopedias really early and speak properly. I had a high pitch voice. I have home videos of me at that age imitating Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation’ and Paula Abdul with a combination of singing and dancing. The furthest I can remember singing and performing was with a primary school choir in South Africa when my family went back for three years in 1994. I was about nine or ten years old.” She adds that South Africans are a very talented people and very fiercely competitive. She wasn’t very confident at all but always managed to force herself to the front row and just worked at it. “Even though I was the smallest. I only really discovered I could sing around 1996-1998 when I was about eleven to fourteen years old.” She explains that she has actually been singing on and off since she was all of five years old, but she’s never had formal training! Wow. She taught herself! Simply by listening and imitating artists like Celine Dion, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey – and that was it. She continues: “I did a few school choir appearances and group talent shows but nothing solo until my first assembly performance of ‘Together Again’ by Janet Jackson in high school in 1998. Soon after I entered a talent competition with my best friend – but it was what you would call – an epic fail!”
Talent seems to run in Firosha’s family. Her father sings and apparently has a lovely tone but is shy. And it seems she has heard her paternal grandparents sing, once, briefly, and they sound lovely. It’s in her maternal side too – a few younger female cousins and at least one aunt – all good singers. Even her baby brother is “quite the entertainer when he wants to be …”– but, again, that shyness! And wait! There’s more! Dancing. Her sister dances; in fact, everyone in the family dances well. No instrumentalists, although, Firosha learned the piano very young and can play ‘Happy Birthday’! Not bad at all.
Now back to that lack of confidence. It has grown over time but when asked why she feels she has been lacking this – well, let’s let Firosha speak for herself: “When you sing you bare your soul and it’s hard because you don’t know how people are going to perceive that. As much as we say we don’t, as humans, care what others think, we do – even if only a little bit. Today’s world takes away from the voice and talent and it gets overshadowed with a beat and image. So if you feel you do not have a complete package, it can make you feel like you are lacking.”
Firosha explains that the so-called perfect look and sound – in reality no matter how much we try – no-one is perfect. She feels that what might look and sound good today – might not tomorrow. Very wise words. And she continues by explaining her own lack of confidence: “My lack of self-confidence came from yo-yo dieting, wanting to look like a size six pinup and listening to others put me down. Sometimes those closest to you can say things that put you off following your dreams without realizing they are doing it. But then again, it’s those same people who support you and push you to your limits. It just depends on how you deal with criticism, because constructive criticism is good for you.” So true. She also does feel that one too many failed attempts at competitions, reality TV, karaoke etc. did have her second guessing her own talent. “It wasn’t until last year I decided to invest in myself and find a way to get out there, regardless.” She says that doing this has been the best – costly but effective – decision of her life to date.
Turning back to the subject of bullying, Firosha has some very interesting comments to make: “School can be lovely – or a difficult journey for some. Unfortunately bullying still exists and the saddest part is the school protects the bully because the victim is too afraid to come forward.” She adds that when they do, instead of being protected they are somewhat shunned for bringing it to people’s attention. She also feels that the parents of bullies do not have the best attitudes,which does make one wonder what the home environment is like in such situations. “Bullying can occur in school but also in your adulthood, so the sooner you learn to overcome this, the better.”
It seems that Firosha’s own experience was both physical and psychological. “Once they can’t touch you anymore because you are no longer afraid, they leave enough damage on your mentality and self-esteem that you start to doubt yourself as a whole.” She was picked on at school by older kids, and in junior high, it deteriorated because she was ‘different’. She spoke English – absolutely – and she had gone to school – but still she was seen as ‘different’. “We are a lot more multi-cultural now but, as a Muslim South African, it wasn’t easy. and you wouldn’t know I was a Muslim unless I told you because we fit in – just. I had girls start fights with me for no reason. In junior high I was a nerd, always had my head in a book, first class ranger police cadet, and I think to fit in, the kids that weren’t so popular would pick on the nerds to be accepted.” Firosha admits she was physically attacked and feels it is odd that her attackers were not her size. BUT, she wasn’t afraid and did fight back. Someone even put dog food in her lunch once and she was teased about her name, her tan and her religion. As she says, she didn’t even have to wear a headscarf, but she still didn’t escape it.
It does appear that when she changed schools in year ten the bullying stopped. “I was actually a little more popular so I made it my mission to stop other girls being bullied. The older girls would ask me to watch over their baby sisters and I tried to put an end to all that.” Firosha then made it her mission to be friends with everyone from her own background of any age, and she continues to be friends with a lot of these people today. “I think standing up for what’s right has gotten me into a lot of trouble, but I’m not afraid to take people on if it’s for a good cause. I think people need to learn to not be afraid and speak up.” She advises people to tell someone, a teacher or someone in authority, if they see something happen. But, as she adds, by not getting involved, you are involved and it is actually your choice not to do anything about it. So, if something bad does happen to that person (and yes, she means an accident or even suicide) then your conscience will absolutely be hard to live with.
But Firosha herself does appear to have overcome these obstacles and her family and friends have now realized that she does, indeed, have a beautiful, strong, superb voice. When asked how this makes her feel? “I’ve had a few other life lessons which have shaped me to become who I am – some good, some bad. I feel amazing that I am finally being recognized for my talent. I still feel that I have a long way to go and so much more to learn.” She adds that she has put her foot down in relation to following her dreams and she is pushing on as much as she possibly can. She hopes that someone, somewhere, will see her work ethic and raw talent and give her a chance.
Now, earlier in this interview, we alluded to TV reality shows and that there is something more to this young lady than first meets the eye. While she did not pass the auditions for those reality shows, something else AMAZING has happened to her which we both realize is the most incredible opportunity and WILL open those doors for her. Some weeks ago, Firosha received word that she has been selected to represent Australia in the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS OF PERFORMING ARTS in Hollywood, CA, USA, in July 2014. What an incredible honor and privilege for this young lady.
With this amazing news, Firosha feels her life is about to change and I couldn’t agree more. Some of her friends and family are just a tad surprised; they didn’t even know she could sing! But they have all been and continue to be very supportive. Firosha adds that she would like to take this opportunity to thank them all and that having them follow her journey has been (and continues to be) a great feeling.
When asked about her career plans and the future, she answers, “I would love, in an ideal world, to be a Beyonce or a Mariah. Not exactly, though, we already have them. I have the work ethic to do it all: music, modelling, fashion, have a perfume and create an empire. I have big dreams.” However, on a smaller scale, Firosha would simply like to make music that people are not going to be embarrassed to listen to ten years from now. “It is difficult because the commercial markets demand variety. I’d love to get involved in as many projects as I can because I would like to get my name out there.” She is currently working on an EP and hopes, one day, to release an album and be able to perform it for the world.
Her final message to the world: “Do not be afraid. You are never too old or young to pursue your dreams. Every professional was once an amateur and, like someone recently told me, your voice has no expiration date. Your biggest enemy is yourself – don’t listen to negative opinions. Love yourself, turn yourself into a project and don’t give up until you’ve tried everything. If it’s meant for you, it will come easily, but if it’s difficult, don’t be in a hurry to throw in the towel. No matter how many excuses you find or how hard you think you have it, someone with less is doing more. Don’t look at your grandchildren one day and say: ‘If I was your age, I would have been this or that’. By then it’s too late and all talk. People around you will appreciate you for your efforts because actions speak louder than words. If you can’t invest, believe and love yourself . You can’t expect anyone else to. Have faith; God hears us all. We are all blessed, no matter what we achieve with that. Find your purpose in this world, whatever that may be, and be prepared to work at it with everything you have. The right person will see you when the time is right.”
Very wise words to finish. FIROSHA – remember this name.STORY SOURCE: Firosha Price (translated by Lannah Sawers-Diggins) Song video: ‘What You’ve Done’ World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) StarNow Firosha.com FaceBook Page YouTube Images: FIROSHA