MUSIC TO HIS EARS: Dumi Masilela is making the most of the opportunities at his disposal. Aside from launching his debut album soon, he bagged his first acting rol in Rhythm City.
MUSIC TO HIS EARS: Dumi Masilela is making the most of the opportunities at his disposal. Aside from launching his debut album soon, he bagged his first acting rol in Rhythm City.

Like former Idols SA favourites Heinz Winckler (Binnelanders) and Gail Nkoane (The Wild),|Dumi Masilela is exploring the world of soaps. Having made the talent search show’s Top 18 last year, the 24-year-old has decided to try his hand at acting while also planning to release his debut album. Debashine Thangevelo caught up with Masilela to find out more about his acting debut and his journey since the reality show…

LOVE or loathe Idols SA, there is no denying that it is a fantastic launch pad for those hungry for a career in the entertainment industry.

And those who have gone the carpe diem route haven’t looked back. Now Dumi Masilela is following suit after landing the role of S’fiso Ngema in’s Rhythm City.

The former professional soccer player let go of his sporting dream after a serious car accident in 2008. But he had another talent that beckoned – singing.

“Music has always been a big part of my life, but I always did it on the side. After the accident happened, I had a lot more time to invest in it,” he shares.

Masilela was one of eight contestants who were voted out in the Top 18 phase of the competition. But the exposure he received proved invaluable.

“It was an eye-opener to what happens in the industry. The pressure that comes with that level of professionalism. The highlights were my Top 34 performance, where I sang Danny K’s I Get Up Again, and my group stage performance.”

Since Idols SA, he has been far from idle.

“It has been a case of lots of meetings and opportunities. I have been sitting down with my manager, brainstorming great deals. And I have been investing a lot of time in acting classes,” he shares.

Right now, Masilela is in talks with two big record labels, but it is all under wraps until he signs on the dotted line.

He admits the album is more a reflection of his Idols journey and will feature songs he has written.

“The album is almost like a (vocal) documentary of my experiences on Idols. A lot of the songs are inspirational and will have a romantic and upbeat feel. I write about things that affect me,” he explains.

Inspired by artists such as Bruno Mars, Miguel and Cedric Lamar, he says he is a combination of these talents in terms of their styles. And he is a mega fan of Drake.

It was last year that Masilela got in touch with the guys at Rhythm City and was debriefed on the character. With a week to prepare for his first acting role, he had clearly found his other niche.

“My character S’fiso is a go-getter who would do anything to make a success of his life. He is very driven, but his life circumstances have never afforded him the opportunity to be who he wants to be. He is then fortunate to be given a big break by Miles Vilakazi and gets a job at Redemption Records,” he shares.

Of course, coming from the kasi background that he does, S’fiso is wary of Miles’s motives at first. Then there is the issue of S’bu (Miles’s son) who isn’t happy to be replaced by this “street kid”.

Masilela laughs: “S’bu feels a bit intimidated by S’fiso, especially with his dad taking my side and being protective. He feels a bit left out and there is a bit of rivalry between the two, which is natural.”

With KB Motsilanyane (Lucilla) and Peter SePuma (Miles) taking him under their wing when he first arrived, the greenhorn says “they stimulated my growth as an actor”.

He continues: “A lot of people say the progress has been good and I give credit to the actors around me.”

As the writers are still working on developing the character, it will be a while before they gooi the musical facet into his storyline – although they do hint at his character’s singing ambitions.

As far as Masilela’s music and acting career goes, he is clearly in on the act for both.

• Rhythm City airs on at 6pm, weekdays.