Phumla Mfene

AT 12, PHUMLA Mfene displayed a great deal of talent in singing. It came as no surprise as she was born into a musical family.

Although she started out being a member of a church choir at Order Christian Church, Mfene was destined for more.

After honing her singing skills with the choir, another opportunity availed itself, and soon Mfene was not only a member of the successful choir Lord Comforters, but also their lead singer.

She stayed with the group for an incredible 16 years until the urge to go solo became too strong, and she gave into it.

We caught up with Mfene to talk about her third solo album, Akamlahli Onowakhe, which was recently released.

“On my first two solo albums I released a lot of hymns, but on this new one I made the songs have more worship themes in them,” she said.

“Most people know me from Lord Comforters and so I am trying to show them another side of me with different style,” she added.

This other side would include her being heavily involved in the production of Akamlahli Onowakhe, to make sure she represented herself in the best way possible.

“I write my own music and get professionals to help out. On this project I got help from Dumi Mkostad and Bethusile Mcinga. They helped me with very good material, so with my own album as an addition there is a good balance,” she said.

Mfene’s choice to leave the established Lord Comforters in pursuit of a solo career met with a lot of resistance from her fans.

“I get a lot of people asking me when I am going back to the group. At concerts sometimes they ask me to sing songs from the Lord Comforters days.

“My response is the same: those day are gone.

“It is time for Phumla to grow now and that is what I am focusing on,” she said.

This is not to say that her fans do not like what she has to offer. With the release of her latest album, Mfene has received a lot of praise from her supporters.

“I can’t even comprehend the amount of love that they are sending my way. It is all too amazing.

“I love the fact that they can relate to my music and they are buying it.

“They are calling me and sending posts on Facebook just to tell me how happy they are,” she said.

Mfene has been travelling around the country to promote her product through live performances.

“I have been to Swaziland, Cape Town, Joburg and the entire Eastern Cape.

“We still have more places that we’d like to visit.”

There are several people she would like to work with, including Rebecca Malope, she said.

• Akamlahli Onowakhe is available at music stores.