In the last Gospel Digest column we spoke to Sgwili, the KZN singer who used to do a lot of work with his then-business partner, Babo (pictured), as Ikhethelo. In the interview Sgwili spoke about his new solo album and mentioned that he and Babo were no longer a duo, citing a need to grow as a solo artist.
In an intriguing turn of events, we got hold of Babo, the other half of the now defunct duo Ikhethelo, who has also released a solo album.
“I have been working on my solo project uDeliwe for the past year and I am glad that it is out now. It becomes my 12th solo project since I first started out,” said Babo.
He expressed excitement about the project mainly because he gave several unknown people a chance to work on it.
“I looked around for young producers to help me out with the production. This was not because I had no access to the professionals, but because I felt very strongly about giving some youngsters a break,” he said.
Considering that he took such a risk, uDeliwe has done very well.
“In all my years of making gospel I have never sold the amount of units that I did when uDeliwe first came out. It’s only been two months, but I am really humbled by the number of people who have expressed interest in it.”
Perhaps the secret behind the project’s success lies in the message Babo carefully crafted for uDeliwe.
“When I was writing the music I had a lot of people in mind so I touched on a few subjects. Some of the subjects included issues surrounding divorce and unemployment. I think people can relate and that is why I am getting positive feedback,” Babo said.
That said, he spoke passionately about the disbanding of his partnership with Sgwili, saying that he wished Ikhethelo was still in the music game.
“I understand Sgwili had to go and develop his brand as a solo artist, but I don’t think he thought about the fans when he made that decision. Everywhere I go they ask me about Ikhethelo because that’s how they know us. We won some awards and sold a good number of CDs. It’s just sad that he left me with Ikhethelo. I can’t do it alone, but I understand,” said a melancholic Babo.
To illustrate that there was no bad blood between him and Sgwili, Babo said he was open to reforming the group if his former partner showed an interest.
“If he decides to come back tomorrow to work on Ikhethelo, I would be really happy to work with him. People ask me why he left and I can’t say much, except for the fact he wanted to grow individually,” Babo said.
• uDeliwe is available at music stores nationwide.