'Idols SA' Paxton Fielies is headed for Hollywood
'Idols SA' winner heads to US with Africa in her voice and stardom in her eyes
US pop star Ariana Grande might be one of the most popular stars in the world, and as of this week officially the most-followed celeb on Instagram, but former Idols SA winner Paxton Fielies believes the world is looking for a new kind of pop star - just like her.
So she's going to Los Angeles next month to show them what they are missing out on.
The 18-year-old songbird will perform a special showcase at the prestigious Musexpo in Los Angeles on March 25, a platform that helped launch the international careers of superstars like Katy Perry and Jessie J.
Musexpo is one of the leading global music conferences, exposing up-and-coming artists to labels, publishers, agents and music managers from around the world.
Fielies was selected to perform after her record label, Gallo Records, submitted her music to organisers.
She has been hard at work to prepare for the show, rehearsing four hours a day to make sure she is at her peak.
"I am a little anxious but also really excited," the star said. "It is a lot of pressure to perform."
But the Angifuni hitmaker is confident she won't disappoint in LA, because she has something special that she knows the world wants.
"The world isn't looking for an Ariana Grande or Nicki Minaj, they are looking for someone like me. They are interested in our African sound and only we can pull off that sound authentically. It's something that can't be copied or bought."
She will document her journey and experiences at Musexpo on a reality-show-type series on her YouTube channel.
The trip is the latest in a series of prestigious overseas shows for Fielies since winning Idols SA in 2017.
In 2018 she performed in Sweden as part of the World Children's Prize Foundation, where she was awarded a global ambassadorship by the queen of Sweden, and also performed in Russia as part of The White Nights of St Petersburg festival, sharing a stage with the likes of Seal, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Kool & The Gang.
Despite these highs, Fielies endured what she called the hardest year of her life after she was targeted by a cyberbully who posted nasty pictures mocking her looks, hair and background of growing up in Bishop Lavis.
"It was difficult. It really got to me. I questioned why a grown person would target me, a teenager. There is a line between jokes and insults and I felt disrespected. I understand not everyone will like me, but it felt like an attack on me and who I am, my music."
Slowly Fielies is navigating the hardships of fame and breaking away from the label of Idols SA winner, proving herself in a tough industry.
"It's difficult. I understand that there is this thing called the Idols winners curse because there is so much pressure. I have seen people break down and others go to therapy, because it is a lot to deal with. It's a struggle to be seen as more than just an Idols winner. That's what I want. I want to be known not as Paxton from Idols but Paxton the artist who put her heart on the line, shot for the moon and became a star."