“Last year I had a problem with my throat and went to see a doctor and he referred me to a specialist. He (the specialist) said I have tonsillitis and things were really bad.” He was told the only way to fix it would be surgically removing his inflamed tonsils – which could mean he wouldn’t be able to sing for a year.
As it happens, his doctor advised that if he didn’t drink anything acidic, and started drinking hot water, it could soothe the effects of the surgery. It only took 10 days after the operation for Mbokazi to be pitch-perfect again. “After all that my voice came back and that is when I decided to record my own album.” Mbokazi is well-known as a member of the lauded a capella Gospel group Abanqobi, and he discussed it with the group before committing fully to his own project.
“It’s been hard at first, but as time went on it became easy because when I put my mind to something I make sure it becomes what I want it to be, and the sound and the songs are different from what people know me for.”
Mbokazi also racked up karma points, because the intent of the album is focused on positive healing. “When I decided to record a solo album, I wanted a song that would heal the nation and I prayed for it. One night I had a dream singing a song and I woke up and recorded it on my phone. I called my manager Sthembiso Xivoom Zungu (the next day) and told him that I have a song.”
The song Ngisize Nkosi, which serves as the first single and also the title of the album, is the song that came to him in his dreams. To expand on this vision, Mbokazi also recorded a live DVD earlier this year.
“I have written songs that will make every person praise and worship,” he says, adding that the CD and the DVD will motivate people to trust in a greater power as well as the human race. For his solo venture he collaborated with artists like Fikile Nkomo, David Dee, his sisters Sindi and Thuli Mbokazi and rising choral music star Busisiwe Gcabashe.
Recording live was however a change of pace, especially after recording with Abanqobi. “It was way different and it was my first time to experience working with women and men together, and everyone is depending on me,” he says.
He might have gone solo, but Mbokazi still walks with God.