Sunday, May 9, 2021

Joe T: a new addition to the gospel music industry

The local music industry has in the past decade witnessed an overwhelming inundation of talentless musicians all hoping for a quick buck and claim to fame. The unemployment situation has not helped – Somebody has to make a living and if you can’t find a job why not try singing?

But that has unfortunately diluted the quality of local music and rendered the industry a playground.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (SA) and currently employed by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, we can at least be sure Joseph ‘Joe T’ Tshukudu is not in it for the money.

The 29 year old has just released the first single from his upcoming gospel album. Although the single ‘Wa Galalela’ does not necessary bring anything new to the gospel industry, it is definitely worth anybody’s time. The feel good, up tempo song should resonate with today’s audience that seems to be obsessed with dance music. Today, it seems, the less said in a song, the better. “It’s all about the beat,” a friend once enthused.

Tshukudu grew up in Molepolole where he did his primary and junior secondary education before relocating to Gaborone. He did his BGSE at Naledi before crossing over to South Africa for his tertiary education where he graduated in 2009. “I come from a big family and I am the last born of 10 siblings,” he tells Arts & Society. It seems singing gospel was not something he could escape.

“Being born in a Christian family, I had a very humble upbringing. My parents brought us up with the fear of the Lord and taught us the word of God so I’d always attend Sunday school at our local church (Assemblies of God),” he says. Tshukudu started singing at a young age. “Having found singing as a daily practice during our family evening devotions, I would often lead a song before prayer.” His brother would always play the keyboard while he would sing with his sister. He says since then he has always wanted to be a professional gospel singer.

“Over the years I have been part of the praise and worship team, but currently i’m a minister at Revelation Times Ministries International,” Tshukudu says. Like many artists Tshukudu found inspiration in other talented musicians. He has been influenced by Boys2men, Joe Thomas, Jagged Edge, Da Truth, Tripple Lee and others. In Africa, I have been inspired by the likes of Ringo (Madlingozi), Lundi,Rebecca Malope, Vuyo Mokwena, Keke and Tshepo Lesole.”

He says his lyrics are strongly inspired by his relationship with God and all songs have been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit based either on his personal life experiences or on whatever “the Lord” would have laid “heavenly” in his heart. “Like one song in the album called ‘Dinonyane’ which basically talks about caring for the needy and for one another,” Tshukudu says.

The ten track album, Tshukudu says, encompasses all genres that have influenced him in his musical journey such as Traditional and Contemporary Gospel, R&B, Afro-Soul and Afro-Jazz. “The album has something for everybody and promises to be something different from what’s already in the market and very much reflective of me as a minister,” he says. He has worked with both Tshepo Lesole and keyboardist, Shatiso Aaron in the album.

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