Lessons singer Aus Tebza learnt from the pandemic as an independent artist
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Johannesburg - The biggest lesson Aus Tebza learnt from the pandemic is patience.
Her sophomore album release, Motheo, had to be pushed back by a year due to the virus and the lockdown that left most artists bare.
“I started recording the album in January last year just before we were hit by the pandemic. You can imagine the plans that I had. It was supposed to have been launched at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival because I was in the line-up,” said the bass player whose real name is Tebogo Sedumedi.
She had planned an “epic reveal” for the fans at the festival but, unfortunately, all major events had to be postponed indefinitely.
“I basically stopped working completely because of lockdown. It took over a year to finally get to this moment and it came with a lot of lessons. It taught me perseverance, patience and tolerance. I had to be more patient with myself. It got to a point where I thought this album was not going to happen and to some level I even thought to myself: ’am I even supposed to be a musician?’.”
The pandemic has also changed her mindset about the way she handles her music as an independent artist, from working on the business and administrative side to being in the studio and creating the music.
“The world is shifting and here I was cut off from an industry that is forever changing. It feels like we’re in this era where you aren't even sure if people will appreciate the music you’re doing. But in my heart I know this is what I am supposed to be doing.”
The afro-jazz album titled Motheo has taken her on a journey that almost feels like she is starting afresh.
“It feels like it is my first album. Like I am only starting in the music industry. This journey has put me in a position where I am also able to encourage other musicians to start looking at music not only from the performance aspect. It’s a serious business where we need to know how businesses operate,” she said.
Her album launches on Friday, something Aus Tebza is excited about. She will be having a special online celebration via her Instagram account.
The album is a full Setswana album made up of 10 tracks.
“I never thought I could release a full Setswana album. My first album, Make A Difference, had elements of different languages. With this one it was important for me to introduce myself as a Motswana girl.
“How fitting it is to say Dumeleng, le kae, ke nna Tebogo, an album that celebrates that.”
Her first single, Ke Lekile Ke Paletswe, has been reworked for a second release to launch the album.
“I changed the English line in the song to Setswana. I did that to encourage everyone that our languages are beautiful. I’ve had the opportunity to travel overseas and when I sing in our languages people appreciate the music more. The more you become yourself, the more people appreciate you.”
The album speaks to the many issues facing South Africans from GBV to broken family structures.
“There are also songs where I celebrate life and a song about prayer. We are in that dispensation where we need prayer, whether we like it or not. We are in a time where God has to be the centre. I hope the music lovers who listen to this will get a connection and experience a form of nostalgia. The basis of the music, Motheo meaning foundation, I basically take everything back to where I started.
“The music is a reminder and representation of the kind of music that influences the musician I am. It will take you to a certain place, whether it reminds you of back home with your parents, extended family or something happening in your life, people must expect to engage with the music,” said the songwriter.
The album will be available on all streaming platforms and hard copies directly from Aus Tebza via her social media platforms.
“The hard copies will really help support us as artists, hard copies mean direct cash. We also have USB options for people who don’t have CD players.”