Gospel singer set for big time

2012-05-19 00:00

THULILE Mbili has proven that first impressions count. Her unique and original sound impressed gospel giant Pastor Mthunzi Namba, who has become her mentor and has helped with the production of her debut album My Home. Heaven.

The 12-track album was released early this month.

Born and raised in Chesterville, Durban, Mbili says she has always loved singing and has always believed in her talent.

She occasionally led her church choir and her life changed after their pastor told them about music auditions for gospel group Joyous Celebration.

The church choir auditioned, but it was Mbili’s voice that got the most attention.

“They asked me to be a part of an album they were working on.”

Mbili says she was somewhat intimidated by some of the group members because they had more experience, but she got over her fears.

Working with the group opened doors.

“After finishing the album I went back to my life, but the experience I gained helped me. I worked as a freelancer musician. I was mostly doing back-up vocals for other artists.”

Her big break came after she found out that Namba was looking for artists to join his music group.

“I joined the group after auditioning. We travelled a lot,” she says.

Working with Namba created many opportunities for the singer. She was part of the live recording of one of his albums, and while performing a solo during one of the recordings, she attracted the attention of people from international label Sony Music.

“One of them came to me and told me that I have potential. They wanted to do an album with me …”

It took two months to put together the album. Namba produced it and wrote some of the songs. She also collaborated with other artists.

The album, which she describes as “something for everyone”, is about life experiences. There are songs for every situation.

“Whether you are happy, sad or depressed, there is something for you …”

Mbili also finds comfort in her music. One of the songs she wrote for the album Buyela Ekhaya (Come back home) was written for her mother, who died before she could hear it.

“I wrote it at a very difficult time. She was going through a lot at the time and I wanted to encourage and support her.”

Mbili says she is happy with how the album turned out.

She has come a long way from her days as a back-up vocalist and stands firm in her belief that people should always stay true to themselves.

• Siyathemba.Ben@media24.com

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