Persistence, dedication and hard work got Khayelitsha-based musician, Thando Mtyhobile, a Best Xhosa album nomination for Kwa-Nothenga, in the South African Traditional Music Awards (SATMA).
The 34-year-old, who is competing with some of the best and well established artists for the award, said the nomination alone meant a lot to him and proves that hard work paid off.
But Thando needs your votes to win the award and has called on residents of the Western Cape to rally behind him.
The SATMA awards ceremony will be held in Mafikeng in North West on Wednesday September 19.
Thando told Vukani that he started singing at the tender age of 8 years old in 1992.
He said his brothers had been part of an Isichathamiya group and that really inspired him to begin his musical journey. He said in the same year he formed a musical group with friends called Peace Lovers Brothers and sang in many musical concerts.
Thando said in 2000 they released their first album which paved the way for his career.
He explained that in 2005 he recorded his first album titled Thando’s Introduction, but it did not do very well.
In 2006, he said, he decided to establish Sisonke Music Productions which he later renamed Sisonke Music Entertainment Company and also released his second album titled Shadows Proves Sunshine.
This, however, also did not do well and he became demoralised. Thando said he opted to be cautious, taking a break from singing between 2008 and 2011 to focus on working behind the scenes in the music industry and becoming a promoter for well-established artists.
He also worked as an artist’s manager and road manager, which enabled him to learn a lot about the industry.
He said this also helped him to build contacts and build his musical profile.
But in 2013 he stepped away from the music industry as he felt he needed to do some introspection. This break, he said, gave him enough time to find himself and that was when he realised that all the experience that he had encountered before had made him a stronger person.
Then, last year he went back into the studio to start working on his album which comprises songs mostly inspired by real-life experiences. And the song titled Xolisa, he said, was his favourite because it reflected who he really was.
Thando said the album was completed in February and but he only decided to release it in October because he wanted to ensure that everything was in order.
“I never thought that I would be nominated for a such big award. I live and eat music. I have always known that this is what I want to do.
“This is my passion and even though I have faced countless challenges, they have never broken my spirit but made me strong.
“My album is named after my home village as way of paying homage. I have already sold 200 copies.
“The biggest highlight of my career was when I toured with a group called Kuyasa doing fundraising and awareness campaign about HIV. I was their musical and dance director,” he said.
Thando said he is currently working on getting a company to distribute his music nationally and hopes that this nomination will open doors for him.
You can vote for Thando Mtyhobile by SMSing the number 2071 to 33888.
For more information, you can follow Thando Mtyhobile SA on Facebook, or @MtyhobileT on Twitter. For bookings, call 072 486 3540.