She’s recently dropped her new album, OkaJehova Akanqotshwa. It’s one of her best works of art, gospel star Deborah Fraser (53) believes. And she’s put everything in it.
“The name of the album was inspired by many women in the Bible like Esther and Ruth who faced challenges but never gave up. Their stories gave me hope to also not quit when faced with challenges,” she explains. We catch up with the songbird.
IN THE BEGINNING
She’s fortunate to have been raised by both parents in a loving home with her nine siblings, she says. “My father was a good man, I don’t remember him ever spanking any of us. He was a manager at a furniture shop and prided himself on taking care of his family,” she says.
“He taught me about furniture and created a passion for antiques in me. My mom was a housewife and took care of us.” Her dad died aged 74 in 2009, a few months after her mom passed on, and she still misses them.
It’s because her dad set such a good example that she sometimes worries because her children, son Nkosinathi (18) and daughter Aaliyah (16), never got to experience a loving and present father.
“But I thank God that I managed to raise my children alone. Nkosana once wrote on social media that today he is a man because of me even as a single mother. It made me feel proud.”
As a young girl growing up in KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal, Deborah used to tell her friends she would grow up to be a superstar one day. And it’s exactly what God had in mind for her. She’s had a relationship with God her whole life, she says.
“I could’ve sung any genre, but it had to be gospel music because of my faith and spiritual connection.” She’s been in the industry since the 1980s, but it was her 2001 album Abanye Bayombona that got fans’ attention. That record changed her life. “The album did better than I expected, and it’s still selling to this day.”
LADY IN WHITE
On many of Deborah’s album covers and her stage performances she is often dressed in white because “white is pure”, she says. “Before I perform I invite the angels and God in the space. When I sing I have to change someone’s life. When I perform in white I feel holy.”