''Fame won't change me,'' the former Cape Town street sweeper and winner of SA's Got Talent, James Bhemgee (45) just told me in an interview. ''Fame doesn't change your life; it changes your lifestyle,'' says the opera singer who's R250 000 richer since last night's second season finale of the talent search reality show on SABC2.
''I was very excited when the top three acts were announced and I was one of them,'' James Bhemgee tells me. ''I was very positive. I knew that The Limited Drum Corps [who ended third] would fall out first. I wanted to win. I like winning!''
About whether and how he thinks his life will change when he arrives back in Cape Town tonight after attending the live finale in Johannesburg yesterday, James Bhemgee says ''I'm a people's person. I won't change. I won't keep myself kwaai [distant] from people now.''
I asked him whether he has a message for people about dreams . . . and whether dreams really can come true. ''Keep persevering,'' he tells me. ''If you have talent, don't give up. Keep reaching. Keep trying. Perfect your art. If you're a singer, a musician, try and get someone to help you. Keep improving. I've trained for years and people didn't understand why. Now I'm reaping the rewards,'' he says. ''Ive always wanted to sing.''
''For 13 years I've been unemployed,'' James Bhemgee tells me. ''Those 13 years were the hardest part of my life. I didn't have opportunities to sing but I never gave up on my dream. I survived. I went through very tough times but I was and I am a believer.''
ALSO READ: James Bhemgee, former Cape Town street sweeper wins second season of SA's Got Talent on SABC2.