Jabu Dlamini

IT’S 2014 and Jabu Dlamini (pictured) might only be releasing his second album, but that doesn’t mean he’s only just started his music career. He has been active in the public forum since the early 2000s, but his calling has taken longer to manifest.

He made his musical contacts back then and even performed at the South African Music Awards in 2004, alongside future legends like KB, Gloria Bosman and even icon Hugh Masekela. The performance caught the attention of Sello Twala who introduced him to Brenda Fassie. He impressed her with his vocal skills and she took him on as a backing vocalist.

In 2005, Twala took a chance on him and they recorded Dlamini’s first solo project, which was called Unzima.

“I will be the first to admit that that project did not go well at all,” said Dlamini. “This was mainly because I had no distributor so not so many people got to hear what we had cooked up,” he added.

With Revolver records hearing his potential and deciding to take a chance on him, Dlamini got to record his second album, Imfihlakalo YeZulu, last year.

“I did not give up at it because I knew that the material was good enough to be used. The album contains a number of worship songs which are aimed at uplifting people’s spirits,” he said.

He singled out the song Likhon’idwala, which he wrote, and he explained what was going on in his mind at the time.

“I was trying to give people hope in God. The title simply means there is a rock, and that rock is Jesus. If you hold on to Him, then he will be your rock of salvation that nothing can shake,” he said.

As a big fan of the late singer Vuyo Mokoena, Dlamini made sure to include a track dedicated to his hero.

“Vuyo was a legend and he inspired me to get into gospel music. I have heard several people tell me that we have the same voice and I find that really encouraging,” said Dlamini.

Unlike his first album which had no distribution deal, Imfihlakalo YeZulu appears to be getting positive responses and Dlamini is really happy about that.

“I am in Richards Bay promoting the album and when I get home we will plan a national tour. We hope to start with Mpumalanga, then go through to Limpopo, then the Eastern Cape,” he said.

While gospel music is meant to uplift the listener’s spirits, Dlamini admitted that some gospel singers’ lifestyles confuse their audiences.

“You get people who preach lifestyles that they don’t live. Some gospel musicians are alcoholics and drug addicts yet they sing about Godly things. They just succeed in confusing Christians and this is a very sad situation,” he said.

• Imfihlakalo YeZulu is now available at music stores.