Hailing from Theunissen in the Free State and now based in the city of Johannesburg, Thiwe Mbola has a reputation as one of prominent house vocalist in Mzansi, with a voice as smooth as silk and unique perfomance style. Artistically Thiwe’s music is influenced by the great South African Jazz artits like Mariam Makeba, Busi Mhlongo and Dolly Rathebe to Brenda Fassie and Lebo Mathosa. It comes as no surprise that Thiwe is a visionary of her music and a high fashion enthusiast.
Like many musicians who use fashion as a tool to define their signature looks, Thiwe falls under the category, and she is unapologetic about tapping into what really defines High Fashion. She simmers into work-mode as Lwazi Hadebe utters the first question.
Would you say you are living your dream? “No; definitely not. This is a piece of a puzzle that first step I need to implement everything else I have planned for my life”
What have you planned? “I want to create a platform for young talent. Starting with a music school. We need the generation to be formally trained from a young age; they need to be disciplined and educated.”
Thiwe Mbola’s sound has evolved and grown beyond the house music genre, bring her to a point of transition as a rounded African Soul artist.
We’ve established that you’re a musician, is the music industry welcoming for female artists? “It is not as easy one would think it is to get into the industry; you need to introduce yourself to the world gradually, you get bad reviews, you to make mistakes, you get to learn what you want and don’t want to be associated with. However, once you’re in the business, it’s up to you to ensure you have longevity and making sure the public is who we nurture because let’s face it, those are the people that largely support musicians, and they pay our bills.”
Soul Therapy is a project you are currently working on, when is it launching? – Soul Therapy is my new album, coming out on the 11th of September. It’s my musical diary; I’ve basically put my emotions on paper. I sing about being a proud woman, heartbreak, spirituality, unconditional love and faith.
Will this record only speak to women? –I’m writing from a woman’s perspective but men will resonate with some songs. Take Sekwanele for instance, it’s a love letter from a girl to her man whom, if you listen to the song, isn’t much, a broke guy if I may put it like that but this girl is in love with her man, nobody can tell her other wise and men responded quite positively to that song.
You’re working on a music video right now, what can we expect? The single we are shooting a video for is I Am Woman; a celebration of women, their “strength and their individuality. It’s a fusion of fashion and music, we will be seeing Afrocentric and urban chic looks. It will be stylish and unique.”
Being a musician means having to do live performances at some point, tell us about a performance you favour the most, one you think about each time you close your eyes “Each performance is different, I never repeat the same set. I would have to say when it comes to a live performance I never remember what happened on stage because I go into a zone and someone else is in charge in that zone.”
Out of all the musicians in the world, which one do you look up to and would love to work with more than anything? – Beyonce without a doubt, and it didn’t even take me more than a second to think about that. That woman has a plan, a vision for every album. I love how she puts every ounce of her being into her work and it’s quite evident. We female artists need to be more involved in our careers, we need to think beyond getting bookings we need to see ourselves on world stages invest in our careers, put together our own shows and sell out those concerts. She is King for a reason.
Where do you see yourself in as little time as next year? “around this time i will be doing final preparations for an Evening with Thiwe in August, my birth month so i will be on the road performing with my band.”