Unlike Hollywood, SA has very few celebrity couples worth mentioning. By this I mean there are few people in the country who are both talented and in the public eye. Usually it’s a case of a talented person sharing the limelight with their love interest and the lover just becomes famous by default.
We don’t have many Jada Pinkett and Will Smiths or Brad Pitts and Angelina Jolies, which is why Ntokozo Mbambo and Nqubeko Mbatha are something of a rare find.
She writes and sings like a dream and he is a song deity. They have worked together for years in Joyous Celebration and as their love blossomed, they dreamt of a life away from the choir. It would be a hard decision, but they believed they could pull it off, and they have.
The first project born out of the couple’s efforts away from Joyous Celebration is Mbambo’s CD and DVD offering, Filled.
“This body of work has been in motion for a couple of years now,” said Ntokozo.
“We’d planned to release it about two years ago and then I discovered I was pregnant so we had to put it on hold,” she explained.
Filled comprises a staggering 27 songs and they all draw inspiration from Ntokozo’s life.
“I believe a lot of the songs are from my personal experiences. I co-wrote most of them so basically it is an extremely personal project,” she said.
As for the CD’s title, Filled, Ntokozo has to look to the scriptures to determine which one most lucidly described her intentions with the album.
“I was inspired by a verse in the bible, Acts 2, verse 2, which says: ‘A sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.’ It is my wish that when people listen to this they are filled by the presence of God,” she said.
And, of course, being married to Nqubeko, Ntokozo meant he shared some of his creativity on the songwriting and production fronts.
“I was looking forward to it for a long time,” he said.
“She is very talented and as a producer, if you have a good song and amazing singing talent, what more do you need?” he said.
He admitted that recording the album independently was not easy even though the two had spent many years in the music industry.
“We really want to thank Lindelani Mkhize for helping us record through his company, LME. We also got a deal with Universal which proved useful to us as the distribution side of things was a concern,” he said.
A number of artists have worked on the project including current Idols contestant Khaya Mthethwa, who is a member of Joyous Celebration. Since they left Joyous Celebration, Nqubeko and Ntokozo have had fans asking them to return.
“I think so many people were heartbroken and are still dealing with the fact that we are no longer with the choir,” Ntokozo said.
“We went to watch Joyous Celebration sing at Easter and it was cool to be on the other side seeing them perform,” she explained.
“We could also pick up the technical glitches and where they made mistakes and we made fun of them. Essentially, Joyous Celebration is always going to be home for us,” Nqubeko said.
• Filled is at your nearest music store.