IF the moving voice of singer Tshepo Tshola makes you cry, do not worry, you are not the only one.
The many has been doing it since the 1960s and he has no plans to stop anytime soon.
The Stop the war hitmaker who started his performance career in 1970 when he performed in Roma with a group called the Lesotho Blue Diamonds says he remembers his mother telling him that as young as 10, he would make women cry in church owing to his excellent voice.
“Before 1970 I had already started performing with my mom, dad and my sisters since we had a family choir. My mother told me that when I was a little child at 10 when I started making ladies cry in church,” Tshepo Tshola said before he burst into laughter.
“Being the son of a preacher, every day at home my and dad would have us sing so singing in church would always shock many people.
“I wish we had recording facilities back then. Man, that would have been awesome. I am working on my documentary now which I started about two years ago so lately I have cameras that follow me throughout the shows.”
He said the lack of resources and infrastructure have negatively affected the local music industry and stalled its progress, superstar, Tshepo Tshola has said.
The crooner spoke to the Weekender this week and said “Lesotho music sector is beginning to get stagnant”.
He said there is no longer any gatekeeping and quality control and the situation has been exacerbated by the advent of backyard studios. He however said the statusquo requires the authorities to act and provide resources to the ailing industry.
“Musicians are mushrooming all over the place and that should encourage authorities to create a conducive environment for growth.
“The country lacks infrastructure for musicians. Moreover, the musicians in Lesotho do not have the facilities to grow beyond the borders. We do not have any unions and we do not have any security system in Lesotho but the talent is growing massively.
“Lesotho has amazing talent but everybody is building their own little studio in their house but we do not have a bigger studio where we can fine tune the quality of music where we have the machinery for mixing and mastering.”
He said lack of quality control has also cost local artistes airplay in on South African media platforms.
“If you go to South African TVs for instance, if your video is not world class quality they will not play it. That is the reason for which musicians especially in the sub-Sahara region about lack of airplay. I once asked why they do not play local talent and they told me that the videos are mediocre. They told me that the videos are not world class quality and they want to play what’s worthy.
“It’s sad but then again, I am the kind of person that says; “giving up is not an option”. We need to keep pushing.”
The singer said he is yearning for support for several developmental initiatives that he is working on. He said he dreams to build a centre where young musicians can be trained and groomed and they would eventually host festivals in different African counties.
The Village Pope, as the singer is popularly referred to, also confirmed fellow singer Oliver Mtukudzi’s statement that they have a collaboration in the pipeline. Mtukudzi last month said they were working on a massive project with Tshola.
He said he would also seek Mtukudzi’s guidance on how he can come up with an arts centre as the Zimbabwean did in his home country.
“I have to talk to Tuku and ask him how we can do it. I spoke to Tuku several years ago about setting up a cultural ensemble where we can put our hands together and put up festivals in different countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and grow till we can have a United African Music Centre of some sort. We have everything except the resources to build a centre like that. We must learn from each other to grow our region.”
“We are coming up with something massive with Oliver. What a great man, what a human being. Great things are coming and we need to do them with Tuku. Now that he is coming here, I am going to make sure that we spend a bit of time together and keep moving on. We talk on the phone and we meet all over the place all the time but something bigger is coming. I can promise you; that collaboration is on the way,” he said.
He said while he does not have a timeline for the release of his collaboration with Tuku, they would continue to work hard until the project is released.
“We are not resting. We are still moving on. Most of the time if you put a time-line, it is always determined by the finances but in our vision, we are flying. It is just the little hiccups here and there which are solvable.”
The singer who last year collaborated with Cassper Nyovest on a track titled Superman said he has collaborated with over 60 Southern African musicians.
“I think I have done the largest number of collaborations. I don’t know if anyone has done that before.”
He said he was ready for the 3 November 2018 event where he is expected to headline the Lesotho Times Fanfest along with Mtukudzi, AKA, Amanda Black, Lady Zamar, Sho Madjozi, Kwesta, Prince Kaybee and several others.
Tshola said he was ready for the performance and organisers simply need to ensure that the sound was perfect for him to perform.
“Make sure the sound is right, make sure everything is perfectly put then we will showcase our excellence. For the upcoming show revelers can expect the best there can be on stage.”
Tshola said he would also welcome younger musicians who want to collaborate with him as he believes music is an important tool to unite people.
“Music is an important tool that can bring people together and even help leadership. In song we can do a lot. It is an honour for me to work with younger musicians. It is my legacy. It humbles me when people come to me asking for collaborations. I cannot ignore the magnet that God gave me to attract people. The other important fact is that I am genre less. If I can do a song with Cassper Nyovest then I can sing with anyone.
“At times I always say I don’t deserve all these titles that people give me like musicians when I never went to any music school, what I know is I am a presenter of song. Give me a song and I will present it.
Tshola has 12 solo albums released after the demise of Sankomota, a group that he was part of and produced over 20 albums.
His last album is The Quintessence of Tshepo Tshola released in 2014 and says he is also working on two more projects with his sons although he could not be drawn into divulging more information.
He said he was passionate about growing younger talent and would not stop.
“We cannot lose hope. We need to keep on pushing. I am no longer pushing for myself but it is just a wish to see my legacy while I still live. I want to leave a legacy for our children and our grandchildren. They must find these things available so that the talent grows,” the Village Pope said.