Lebo Sekgobela's big break
When a song is played - both in churches and taverns - you know it is a real hit.
Picture credit: Veli Nhlapo.
Self-made musician Lebo Sekgobela has won the hearts of South Africans with her album Restored, that sold about 90000 copies in five months.
The multi-platinum album was a favourite for many during the festive season, being played at weddings, taverns and churches. Sekgobela says the album, which was released in July last year, has finally given her the big break in the industry. "I have released four albums, Restored is my fifth and I was amazed by its reception.
"It has bashed doors for me in the industry," she says.
The singer has already scooped an award and a nomination in just six months after the album's release.
Last year, she was the only woman to be nominated in the Crown Gospel Music Awards for Best Gospel Artist against powerhouses such as the late S'fiso Ncwane, Dumi Mkokstad and Andile KaMajola.
She also won the Top-10 Artist award from the SABC Summer Song competition.
She says events since she released the album have proven the need for perseverance in life. "I spent my festive season on the road. I was performing even at shows that were not gospel-related. That was when I knew that my work was received well," says Sekgobela.
The singer, who was born in the Vaal, said that growing up, she never thought music would be a big part of her life. "I have always loved singing, I sang at church but I wanted to be a chartered accountant."
But due to financial constraints, she could not study what she wanted to. "My mother was a domestic worker. I knew she could not afford to take me to school, so I gave up and worked as an administrator right after passing my matric."
But Sekgobela capitalised on her talent when she got the chance to be a backing vocalist for industry giants such as the late Lundi Tyamara, Vicky Vilakazi and Justice Mhlongo.
"I knew I could sing. I worked as a backing vocalist but that still did not earn me recognition."
After releasing her first album in 2005, which did not get much recognition, the gospel star says becoming the big seller with Restored came as a huge shock. "Although I was shocked, I learned about God's timing. I realised that my time had not come during the years that I released unsuccessful albums," she says.
Sekgobela is now working with her husband, Lucky Sekgobela, who is her manager and her "cornerstone". "I never thought my album would do so well. When my song Boholo ba Hao first played on Lesedi FM, people were crazy about it. They loved my work and that was a big step for me."
Sekgobela will be starting her tours from March 25 in Polokwane, Limpopo.