Blessing Chitapa is big news in the music world after winning ITV’s The Voice. But she is also a home bird by nature and is currently enjoying the comfort of being back in the Black Country with her family.
Today the 18-year-old spoke of her whirlwind few weeks after the delayed The Voice resumed and she found herself winning a public vote in the final.
She has a single out and a record deal for an album, much to the amazement of her friends back home in Dudley.
The former Kingswinford School pupil said: “It’s crazy. Now I’m back, and my friends are going crazy and they keep saying ‘Blessing do you even understand what has happened?’
“I feel they are more excited than I am. My parents were in the audience for the final – and my sister – I think they were just shocked and surprised too.
“I was so shocked to get to the final, and just so surprised even making it to the top two.
“I didn’t know what the public were thinking of me. That they were voting for me was the greatest feeling ever. I felt so loved, and adored.”
Blessing learned to love music by singing in the church and would post some of her songs online.
Today, she revealed that she was spotted by producers of the programme, who asked her to audition for the show.
Just last month Blessing had been living in Russells Hall, Dudley with her parents, sister and brother, studying biology, chemistry and physics online at Dudley College.
She said life was normal, peaceful and quiet. She loved singing but had plans to study biomedical sciences at university.
But then, in just one night, the teen’s entire life was flipped upside down when she was crowned the winner of The Voice UK – sending her soaring into the spotlight. And now Blessing said it feels like her entire future has opened up.
She said: “I feel just great, just amazing, I’m on top of the world. I never thought I’d get so far, let alone winning – it was just crazy. It feels wild.”
Blessing was invited to audition for the popular ITV singing show at the end of last year after a producer for the programme watched a video of her singing on Instagram.
The Voice UK sees hit artists take on the role of coaches and judges to find the nation’s next best voice. The singer begins their audition with the judges turned away from them. If a judge likes what they hear, they hit a button to spin around and reveal the face behind the voice.
The judges for the 2020 show were Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am, X-Factor star Olly Murs, Welsh singing legend Tom Jones, and US singer Meghan Trainor.
But despite sailing through the audition stages, impressing the judges, Blessing was forced to return home to the Black Country in March when the coronavirus pandemic brought the show to a halt.
“It was hard, we didn’t know what was happening and people kept asking me when was it coming back,” said Blessing, a former Kingswinford School student.
“It was like trying to hold onto the unknown and still have some enthusiasm when we didn’t know what was happening. I was meant to travel down for the semi-final in March but that was stopped. It was picked up again in November.
“To be honest I just hoped I’d make it past the audition stages. And then at the battle stages I was sure I would go home.
“I was so shocked, and just so surprised, even making it to the top two. I didn’t know what the public were thinking of me. That they were voting for me was the greatest feeling ever. I felt so loved, and adored.”
Born in Zimbabwe, Blessing moved to Dudley with her father Cleophas and mother Sarita, brother Dawn, age 26, and 19-year-old sister Sharon when she was six-years-old.
Her parents are both church pastors – and Blessing first found her love for singing through the church.
She said: “I grew up in Zimbabwe and we always sing. I grew up in church singing hymns. My family all love to sing and music was part of me. Since coming to this country I kept singing and thought maybe I’m pretty good? Then as I grew up I just fell in love with it more and more.
“I haven’t had lessons, I just sing on Instagram. And everyone kept telling me to go on the show with the four chairs. And I thought, ‘come on, I just sing on Instagram’ but then someone from the production team emailed me and said I should come and audition.
“And I really didn’t want to miss out on such an opportunity.”
Blessing’s personal highlight in the show, she said, was singing a duet of Hold Back the River with Olly Murs – her mentor throughout The Voice.
“That was my special moment,” she said. “I was so excited and so looking forward to it. I always listen to Olly Murs, I think he’s brilliant. I will carry that with me forever.
“He’s already messaged me after the show to say if I need anything I should always get in touch, which was so lovely.”
Now The Voice has come to an end, Blessing hopes to record her first album and build her music career further.
After spending several weeks in a hotel while filming took place, she said now she is back home in her room, “like everything is normal”.
“It’s crazy as growing up I was never alone,” she added. “But I was in this hotel, just by myself. And now I’m back, and my friends are going crazy and they keep saying ‘Blessing do you even understand what has happened?’. I feel they are more excited than I am.
“My parents were in the audiences for the final – and my sister – I think they were just shocked and surprised too. And my family in Zimbabwe were going wild too. We normally go to visit once a year but of course couldn’t this year.”
Growing up, Blessing said her musical inspiration included American singer Brandy, who she said helped her become the singer she is today.
But singing hasn’t been her only hobby – she also used to play basketball for West Bromwich Albion when she was 15, and also is a keen hairdresser.
She added: “The whole experience has just been a blessing; to have met Olly Murs, also Ellie Goulding, and all these inspirational people along this journey – it’s been an amazing opportunity.” – www.expressandstar.com