The direction of my career was, although unknowingly at the time, decided by my parents who first met as choristers of the All Saints Church choir in Borella. I believe that their meeting in this musical environment ensured that my siblings and I were blessed with the seeds of music and art. In the early days my elder brother Callixtus, (better known as ‘Callie’ to his musical counterparts), was and still is, a very talented singer and multi-instrumentalist. My sisters Krishanthi, and Shereen were much- sought- after vocalists who performed professionally in several bands, and later settled down to their careers and family life. My youngest siblings, Tina, and Channa, although blessed with good voices, did not take to music professionally, but remain great appreciators of good music.

The Mendis’ home was always filled with music and singing, with my Dad, Victor, strumming his old box guitar, Mum Therese singing along with her beautiful voice, and all the kids joining in, additionally accompanied by my brother Callie beating a pulsating rhythm on an old box or tin. We did not need an excuse for a ‘sing song’ in our home.

Callie played a large role in setting me on the musical path in the early days of my career. He took me along, (a nervous thirteen year old) to sing with his band “The 007’s” (Double Oh Sevens)…this group was the birth place of such great musicians as pianist/keyboardist Mohan Wimalasuriya,saxophonist Lucky Welikala, and others. Callie who decided that drums would be his foremost instrument, was, at the time, one of the few drummers in Sri Lanka, who would play to sheet music, and play by ear as well. He picked up his music reading skill at Father Herath’s band, as this large orchestra was called, and I would sometimes absorb the wonders of music sitting in at their rehearsals at All Saints church, Borella.

Besides my brother, two of my uncles played a role in my formative years as a professional singer…Mervyn Rodrigo, an award-winning Recording Engineer, who would record my voice at our family parties, when I would play at being a singer, using a broomstick as a microphone stand. It was Uncle Mervyn who recorded my first song, the late Claude Fernando’s, “City of Colombo” which now appears to serve as a popular anthem for our capital city.

Uncle Anton De Silva, a good bass-voiced singer himself, took me along to meet the late, great, impresario, Malcolm Andree, to be auditioned for a place in the song contest “Elasto’s Moving Designs.” I still vividly recall that audition … the song I selected was “Yesterday” by the Beatles, and I had the honour of being accompanied by Patrick Nelson, one of Sri Lanka’s most respected piano virtuosos of the time. Malcolm who is responsible for setting a large number of Sri Lanka’s musicians on the road to fame, made a fateful decision for me that day. He decided that I should participate in the song competition in the role of a guest artiste and not as a contestant. Since then he featured me on a number of concerts and stage shows, and it is with gratitude and love that I remember Malcolm, the singular force behind my entry into professional singing.

I am now a solo singer and it has been, and still is a great delight to guest with such top professional bands as Sohan and The Experiments, Purple Rain, Mirage, and a number of others, too numerous to mention here, but I convey a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to them all for accompanying me on my musical journey.

I have been blessed with the realization of two career dreams, Singing and Radio and Television Presentation, and in this profile I will focus mainly on my singing career.

As both my careers developed, God’s favour brought me much recognition in Sri Lanka and overseas, and I apologise if the rest of this profile may sound as though I am ‘blowing my own trumpet’ or ‘beating my own drum’, but I share this solely as a testimony of God’s blessings in my life, and for His glory.

I have received a number of accolades for my contributions in my chosen fields. To date, I have perhaps received the highest number of awards presented to any single personality in the medium of television in Sri Lanka and as a leading singer in the country’s Western music industry. In 2014, I received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Rupavahini State Awards ceremony, presented by the Ministry of Culture and the Arts. (For The Comprehensive List of AWARDS, Go to the listing on “AWARDS”)

The same year I, was bestowed with the much coveted state honours – ‘Vishwa Abhimani’, and ‘Kala Visharada’ for my contribution in the artistic fields. I consider the recent recognition by the Sri Lankan State, as a‘jewel in the crown’ in my career.

I have performed to high acclaim in many major cities around the world, including Los Angeles, Washington, Portland, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Paris, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Zambia, Damascus, Cairo, Bahrain, Oman, The U.A.E., New Delhi, The Maldives and the list goes on. I returned to most of these world cities for a number of repeat performances.

My vocal talents encompass several genres of music including Rhythm and Blues, Soul, Pop, Rock, and Jazz. My musical accomplishments and talents have paved the way for much lauded performances in musical theatre, which include leading roles in the Sri Lankan productions of award winning Director Jerome De Silva and the Workshop Players, namely: Rafiki in “The Lion King”, Grisabella the Glamour Cat in “Cats”. I also played the female lead in the production of the rock Musical “Tommy”.

In my capacity as television presenter I have been the official correspondent for the state television Network, The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, at many prestigious international events, including The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Vancouver,Canada, and several presidential tours overseas.

I have conducted television interviews with many former world leaders such as Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Canadian P.M. Brian Mulroney, Australian P.M. Bob Hawke, New Zealand’s P.M. David Lange, and Asian leaders such as Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohammed and Hussein Mohammed Ershad of Bangladesh.

In the international music world I have interviewed leading personalities such as Trini Lopez, Kool and the Gang, Osibisa, Richard Clayderman, Johnny Logan, Latoya Jackson, Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) etc. I have also been compere at many of these concerts staged in Sri Lanka.

I am happy if I have, even minimally, been responsible for providing opportunities, for Sri Lankan Western Musicians on my musical programmes on television, interviewing a great number of our leading musicians too for the popular TV shows, ‘Musically Yours’, ‘Sawasangeetha’ ‘Variety Fare’, and many others, which I presented.

I have also contributed to the field of television news presentation in Australia in the role of Executive Producer and Presenter of “Sri Lanka News weekly” a weekly news programme telecast on Channel 31, in Melbourne.

I hold a Doctorate in Education Leadership,I am a Licentiate holder of The Trinity College of London, a Gold Medalist of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and an Honorary Fellow and Examiner of The Institute of Examinations in English, Music and Speech. In 1998, I founded a school of Communication in English, and Speech and Drama, named The School of Effective English Communication. It has now been absorbed into the much larger and popular English training operation, known around the island as The Noeline Honter Academy of English, Media, and Music which, in addition to English Language training, offers specialized training programmes including Television Presentation, and Radio Broadcasting, together with Vocal coaching- a comprehensive programme for semi – professionals, and professionals in Singing and Stagecraft.

This profile would be woefully incomplete if I fail to mention my family, my beloved son and daughter, Ryan and Jaimee, and my late husband Kenny, who have been a great strength to me, and have supported me with love through all of my undertakings. My daughter-in-law, Tammy, although arriving in my family relatively recently, emphasizes the fact that love and family are inseparable. A few years ago, I was blessed with two adorable grandchildren, Sarah and James,and more recently, little Hannah, who are the delight of my heart.