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Dr Tumi is a gospel music phenomenon. The singer-songwriter and producer’s trophy cabinet shimmers from the glow of awards for Song of the Year, Best Gospel Album, Best Gospel Artist, Best Gospel Song, Best Gospel Producer and Best Gospel Male Artist at the prestigious Crown Gospel Awards.
The long list also includes Mzansi Christian Awards for Best Christian Artist, Best Male Personality and Personality of the Year, as well as a Metro FM award for Best Gospel Album.
For those who were wondering, the name Dr Tumi isn’t some clever pseudonym. He was a full time medical doctor before he decided to focus full time on his musical career.
Today, he’s undoubtedly one of the most bankable artists in the country and, on Sunday, August 20, he’ll be hoping to demonstrate this bankability by filling up The Dome for his live DVD recording.
It’s an idea that was conceived after he considered how “one needs to do great things and bring people together from all walks of life”.
He explains: “I was thinking of a venue that would hold people in a huge number and The Dome was one place that made sense because of its position. It made more sense than going to a stadium because that would’ve made it an outdoor event. I like the fact that the Dome is an indoor venue and you’re basically avoiding all sorts of issues that come, like rain and that sort of thing.”
It’s been a colossal challenge thus far. “I’m realising how much work one needs to put in. It’s challenging because I have other engagements, I’ve been pre-booked for other gigs. Emotionally, I think you just need to remain calm at all times and make sure that you do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Preparations are going well.”
His plan is to release a lot of new music before the end of the year and he’ll be using the show at The Dome as an opportunity to do a live DVD recording of his new album. The album itself will be ready for release at the end of September.
When I ask him what he thinks has been the key to his continued success, he credits being original and being true to himself. “I don’t believe in recycling material. I basically don’t repeat anything. I think people yearn for original content. And to do that and to do it in your own way.”
Dr Tumi will also be touring the UK and America and will be playing a few shows in Australia. He’s expanding, and he’s doing it fast. He believes his work as a doctor helped equip him for the rigours of a full tour schedule. “I don’t mind pressure. Medicine really teaches you to deal with pressure the whole time. It’s a great training atmosphere.”
Even when he was practising medicine daily, he dreamed of music. “You’re there, but your heart is not there sometimes. So you have moments like that, but right now I’m really happy with where I’m at, and fulfilled.”