Bala growing through gospel

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For Bala, the new album gives fans a glimpse into who he really is – after spending more than a decade leading a secret life.

CHRISTIAN CROONER: Loyiso Bala performed during the praise and worship session at Fort Hare University’s Miriam Makeba Centre of Performing Arts on Wednesday
CHRISTIAN CROONER: Loyiso Bala performed during the praise and worship session at Fort Hare University’s Miriam Makeba Centre of Performing Arts on Wednesday

Bala burst onto the music scene in 2000 with the legendary TKZee, alongside his brother Zwai Bala and Kabelo Mabalane.

In 2001 he left the group and started his solo career as an R&B singer. Since then he has released four R&B albums namely; Wine Woman and Song, Amplified, Blow Your Mind and Full Circle. His R&B albums won him five South African Music Awards (SAMAs), three Metro FM Awards and he was nominated for the MTV awards alongside Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Akon.

This week Bala performed at the week-long One Voice Conference at River Park Ministries in East London.

Speaking with the Saturday Dispatch, Bala said his move from R&B to gospel was inspired by his journey with Jesus Christ. “It has been 10 years since I’ve been in the industry and I’ve been to every award ceremony and won every award.

“I felt on top of my game but something happens when you get to your late 20s, you try and get perspective and I decided to find God in music.”

Bala said he was tired of being secretive about who he was. “The person I was on stage was different to the person I am. I pretended well for 10 years, getting on stage was like acting a role and I did it so well.”

His style of music has not changed but his lyrics are different to what people are used to.

Bala grew up in a Christian family and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and personal saviour when he was just seven-years old.

“I was a praying, church-going, Bible believer, spirit-filled individual but I kind of lost perspective of what it is I want to do. I wanted the next stage of my life to be really about people,” he said.

On his quest to find God in his music, Bala did a course called Heart of Worship at the Rhema Bible School in Johannesburg. At the time, Bala was not planning on doing a gospel album but rather wanted to know God more intimately.

“Whenever I fell in love I wrote a song and this time around I found a love so deep in Christ and I started to write and before I knew it, I had an entire album,” he said.

The first single on the album, Jesus to the World, was about him sharing the gospel with his friends that did not know Christ. “Jesus to the World tells people the secret to success in life is Jesus. People have asked me many times what the key to success is and I would say a lot of things but now I know Jesus is the best gift I’ve ever received.”

Bala said the album, released last year, received more sales compared to his R&B albums.

“The same audience that loved my R&B music is now loving my gospel music but now the support has become more intimate, it became more of a movement,” he said.

Bala’s music career is not the only thing that has changed in his life. He married Jennifer Odjidja in 2011 and is father to three-monthold baby girl, Kenzie.

“Married life is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I used to have a problem balancing my career and private life.

“I used to hate going back home, I wanted to stand on stage and sing forever but now there is no doubt my heart is at home,” he said.

Bala said it brought joy to his heart to know that despite past mistakes, God still blessed him with a family.

“I feel so blessed to have my wife and baby in my life,” he said.

Bala said he hoped to take the new album overseas but was still amazed how it was changing peoples’ lives locally.

“If I do what I have to do today, I believe my gift will open room for me tomorrow and take me to relevant places with God.”

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