There are many scriptures in the Bible that speak of God’s perfect timing, something gospel sensation Lebo Sekgobela has learnt since seeing major success with her third studio album, Restored.
Sekgobela is no stranger to the music industry, she has three studio albums and live dvd’s, but it wasn't until last year that she become a gospel powerhouse. Now she has just been nominated in one of the biggest categories, Best Female Artist of the Year, of the South African Music Awards. “The success of Restored has really overwhelmed me to be honest so when I got the news that I was nominated for a Sama I could not believe it. It is such a huge category and there is such amazing talent in South Africa so the fact that I am included is a little surreal. It's only by the grace of God that this nomination came my way”, she said.
Sekgobela who was born in Sebokeng, started her career as a backing vocalist for gospel stars like Benjamin Dube and William Sejake. She later released her first album Ithemba Lami in 2013 and her second album, By His Grace in the same year. However her 2016 release saw her become a household name. “I did not expect Restored to be so successful, when I released it I obviously hoped that people would enjoy it. When I released my previous albums I thought that those would be extremely successful but they were not and for me, I personally thought that some of my best work were on those albums, so when I put Restored together I did not expect much”, she said. Little did she know that she would win over the hearts of South Africans and that her album will reach multi-platinum status. “This album has really shown me that everything happens in God’s time. It has also shown me that God thinks very differently to us. He took this album and did more with it then I could have ever imagined, when I saw it as just an ordinary album, he saw it as a multi-platinum album”, she said.
“Now I definitely think that all my previous work was a ladder for me, you know sometimes with a ladder, it won’t work if the ladder is not placed on the ground correctly, once you have it placed on the ground correctly, you can use it for as much as you want to and my previous albums feel like that have been my ground work and my journey up the ladder. It’s my time now”, Sekgobela said.
Sekgobela is also behind one of the biggest gospel songs right now, Lion of Judah, off her latest album. “There is actually a funny story behind that song, when I was recording my live dvd, I was not going to actually sing Lion of Judah then I randomly decided while on stage, to perform it and I did not expect it to blow up that way it has, people absolutely love it. Whenever I perform people expect me to sing that song first and honestly I sometimes get tired of it because there are many other songs I sing off my albums, but I understand that it means a lot to people”, she said.
She also said that awards like the Samas are needed, “Many people think award ceremonies and the system of recognising great talent and work is overrated, I am not one of those people. I think they are important because you get to recognise hard work. Having said that, I must also saying that winning awards or being nominated for them is a bonus because for me, people loving and enjoying the music I make is an award on its own”.
Commenting on the gospel industry, Sekgobela said, “I think for the longest time we have undermined ourselves as one of the biggest genres in the industry. We have amazing talent, power and influence and I think it's time we started using that, at a time now where South Africans are not optimistic about the future, we can change that”.The singer is currently working on new music and hopes to release a new album later this year.