Mthibo dreams big

MASERU — For Haeso Music Award winner Thabo Rakhomo, also known as Mthibo, music is the labour of love.

The 26-year-old Rakhomo started singing at an early age, and remembers imitating popular musicians while he was still in school.

The music he grew up listening to  influenced him to enjoy dancing and singing.

People who were around him, the kwaito star recalls, would encourage him to sing and dance because they could see he was talented.

“I love dancing more than singing,” says Rakhomo.

Flash forward to a decade later and Rakhomo’s first album, Tsokotsa, was released in September 2008.

A second album which will be known as “Number One” will be released in September this year.

He says a preview single track from the new album will be released this week.

Like all good art, Rakhomo’s music mirrors life as he sees it.

“Different things happen in life and therefore when I sing, I recall my experiences and I end up singing about them,” Rakhomo said.

His music career and live performances have taken him from his home base in Hlotse’s Ha-Tlai Tlai village to places as far flung as Soweto and Ficksburg.

When he’s not writing or recording his own music at Teyateyaneng, the place he calls work, Rakhomo enjoys listening to  Michael Jackson, Arthur Mafokate and Damario.

“I like their dance moves,” he says.

He lists hip hop, gospel, famo and kwaito as his favourite music and loves to watch music videos or going to the studio to produce sound beats.

Oddly though, for a musician, Rakhomo is not much of a party animal and does not go out much.

While his achievements are no mean feat, the young artist says its not all rosy in the music business.

One of his biggest challenges at the moment is securing sufficient funds to record an album — he has had to take money out of his own pocket for both his albums — a  situation which has caused him to postpone the release of his album.

And even when an album is done, the challenges are not over.

“After the struggle to release the album, there is no big market for kwaito music because people in Lesotho are still interested in gospel and famo.

“However, being a musician puts me in the spotlight and when there is an occasion, one is invited and gets paid.

“But the payment is low and therefore the payment should be increased, half salary means half music,” said Rakhomo.

Rakhomo, who dreams of owning a production studio and record label, says he was honoured to win the Lesotho Haeso Music Award for the kwaito music since this was his first year as a professional as well as his first album.

“Thanks to all Basotho for supporting my music and the local talent.

“To everyone who aspires to be a successful musician, focus on what you want to do because you already have a dream and with passion and belief, you will achieve it,”  Rakhom says as a parting shot.

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