In the run-up to his The Gathering of Worshipers concert to be held on 1 September 2018 at Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria Dr. Tumi Makweya has launched a special talent search for new backing vocalists. He also shares his journey and success tips
Share your childhood aspirations
I always wanted to be a doctor because it was what I wanted to do to help people. It’s a dream even my dad had for me. Somehow, medicine seemed like a great way to be of service to others.
Share with us life after varsity
After studying at Medunsa I worked at Klerksdorp, at the department of health. It was a learning curve for me as we’d perform under pressure. You think once you are qualified it’s done, but it wasn’t the case. The first two years were hectic, but you eventually adjust and start enjoying it. I left and worked in Bela Bela hospital for about a year and at various health places. I started my own private practice in 2013. Although it wasn’t an easy journey at least it allowed me to own my time.
How did you discover your passion for music?
I have always loved music and when I was around eight, my church bought an organ which I learned to play. My dad also bought me a keyboard, which I loved playing. I started singing and writing my first song at 11. I was invited at a number of events and would sometimes do free gigs at some point. Growing up there was a notion that music didn’t bring security, especially gospel. So I shied away from it as a full time career. When I was doing my final year at varsity I started a music label and signed a group called Intense. One of the members pulled out so I ended up being part of the group.
In 2016 I had a desire to do to music full time, and then recorded my first album. Like any up and coming artist I struggled to get distribution as people doubted my music. Ultimately I put my musci on social media and it went viral. My debut album was released in May 2016 and have since released three best selling albums. Since then I have seen the grace of God as we are also doing well internationally.
Wht is the inspiration behind each song you write?
My reference point is always the word of God. I have since drifted away from writing from personal experience and relate to other people’s stories. The more I experience God at a personal level the more I want to spread his word through my songs.
How is your relationship with God?
I have grown to learn how loving God is, which is a big thing for me. We always say we love God, but I am writing about his love for us. His love within our hearts is His love. This realisation has changed the way I have looked at life and people. The more I realise God loves humanity the more I love people. It’s a personal relationship, I am now more assured of his love. I feel I don’t have to qualify myself to deserve his graces. I have peace because I know He is with me. I am not fighting hard to win what I know I deserve.
Share some of the challenges you experienced in the music industry?
The first struggle is learning how to remain true to yourself because there’s so much demand from you. That can turn your life upside down if you are not ready for it. I am glad I didn’t get into this space when I was very young and discovering myself. I feel challenges depend on the state of mind you find yourself in. I have realised that people compete. I am authentic and don’t bow to trends. I have also learned that people don’t want a photo copy of someone else but your authentic self. I run an independent label, that in itself can be a bit of a challenge, like doing direct deals with retails; as well as having music not being airplayed, but you find your way around it. Social media helps a lot.
Why are you auditioning new people?
I have always wanted to create a platform for young people and a better opportunity them to get into this industry. I want them to be on a lot of stages in different places to show them that it can be done. I wanted to empower other people, train them and help them reach their potential.
How do you define success and what are your success tips?
Success is when you max out your potential every single day and when you are authentic. It’s a growing phenomenon. It’s a work in progress and doing the best you can. Find that one thing that you feel you are called to do and do it well. Don’t let anyone tell you it cannot be done because anything is possible. Don’t undermine small beginnings because they are a step closer for you to reach your goals.
The search is open to male and female vocalists aged between 20 and 35 who live in Gauteng or are able to relocate to the province. There are nine coveted spots available for various voices. Auditions will take place at Baseline in Johannesburg on 11 and 12 July 2018.