Have you heard of the Romantic Soul Train to be led by singing sensation Tshedi Mholo from Malaika, one of South Africa’s most famous music groups?
Mholo takes to the stage this month to serenade women with soul music and R&B and romantic ballads. After 21 years in the music business, Mholo is indeed a “Lady of Soul and this prestigious show is well deserved and set to wow the audience. Online editor, Hlulani Masingi sought out the songstress in a quest to find out more about her.
HM: Tell us about Tshedi Mholo.
TM: I am go-getter, a hustler, a mother of two, a housewife, an artist, musician and a businesswoman who handles most of her errands by herself. More than anything, I’m a Christian and believer in achieving the impossible. I love life and reign supreme.
HM: When did you discover your passion for music and what steps did you take to pursue it?
TM: I’ve been a musician at heart from the day I was born in Lichtenburg. My township had no infrastructure to support my dreams, so I became involved in most of the school cultural and arts activities over the years. My late father was such a great singer and my AME church invited me to be a chorister among the elderly people. Mmabana Cultural Centre groomed my artistic skills and helped me refine my talents.
HM: You were part of Malaika, who won the Kora Award for Best Southern Africa Group in 2005. Tell us what it is like to be part of a music group.
TM: Being in a group teaches you to accommode others, be receptive to and tolerant of their ideas and historical differences, and to compromise. I was the only female in the group, so it was challenging, but fun. I learnt a lot by just being myself and not allowing fame to cloud my vision as an individual. I have beautiful memories of those days and appreciate the exposure to influential minds in the music and business space.
HM: How do you feel about having shared the stage with world-renowned musicians such as the American R&B singer Joe Thomas, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, US R&B queen Mya and legendary crooners, The Manhattans?
TM: God works mysteriously. I never thought I would go that far! Yes, I dreamt and imagined, but perseverance allowed me to fulfil this destiny.
HM: Who was your role model when growing up and how did they contribute to your current success?
TM: My mom (my biological mother) instilled discipline and self-respect in us. She carried my dad, my siblings and me with grace and love. Mama Yvonne ChakaChaka is my daily mentor who motivates me to do better all the time and avoid negativity. She has an aura about her and stood tall before anyone even believed in her talent. I am also inspired by the achievements of women in influential positions.
HM: Describe the challenges facing female artists in the South African music industry.
TM: We actually beautify the face of entertainment industry, but are oppressed and afforded less respect than our male counterparts. Most female artists aren’t properly counselled or mentored before engaging in this industry, so I’ve developed a thick skin dealing with bullying and victimisation. I believe that a leopard doesn’t change its spots, but I also consult and engage with experienced people in my industry to improve on my approach to several challenges.
HM: Tell us about your achievements.
TM: I have a degree in Education; I am an Ambassador for Smile Foundation SA and for the Department of Basic Education “Lead to Read Campaign”; I’m a member of the School Governing Body and I’m counted among the best musicians in the country.
HM: You’re also a social activist. What projects are you involved in and where does your passion for giving back to the community stem from?
TM: Mama was passionate about assisting the needy back home and that gave me courage to continue with the legacy. Accommodating strangers was more like therapy for her and even though we couldn’t understand then, we began to respect and appreciate her contribution to society as we grew older.
HM: How did your childhood community shape your thinking?
TM: I grew up in Ditsobotla, Boikhutso Township in Lichtenburg, #BokoneBophirima. The culture was more family orientated in my hood. No child would go hungry, weddings were part of us, fun and gatherings taught us survival and love for each other. Those days make me appreciate them more than anything.
HM: What’s your motto in life?
TM: Never be a second version of somebody else. Be you and stay humble. We all face challenges every day, but with God we pull through.
HM: What advice do you have for women who would like to pursue their musical ambitions?
TM: Don’t allow yourself to be a doormat. Be schooled, learn and, yes, play stupid if you have to while the real learning is in progress. Go out and fight for the better you.
HM: What are you currently up to and where can we find you?
TM: I have a few shows lined up for Harties Cruiseline in Hartebees, #BokoneBophirima and in Sun City. I’m currently working on my next event, Romatic Soul Train, taking place on 25 August 2017 at Joburg Theatre to celebrate women in music.
Date: 25 August 2017
Venue: Joburg Theatre
Tickets available at Joburg Theatre.
Follow Tshedi Mholo on IG: @Tshedimholomagazine and Twitter: @TshediMholo and look her up on Facebook. For bookings, email Tshedimhololive@gmail.com.
Image: Tshedi Mholo