Kholeka performs on stages she dreamt about
Growing up in the rural village of Willowvale, gospel singer Kholeka Dubula always dreamt of performing on big stages.
Three decades later, she is doing exactly that. However, her journey to the top has not been smooth sailing.
From contract disputes to non-payment of royalties, the Willowvale-born singer has experienced many challenges along the way.
“At one of the companies I was once under they did not approve the songs I had written. Instead they came up with their own songs,” she said.
Dubula has fought with almost all her managers to get where she is today and she has no regrets. She said she only gained freedom to express herself and sing her own songs the way she wanted the day she started working with the late music producer, Bigboy Mlangeni.
Dubula has released her new album titled Your word, Alibuyi lilambatha, after a five-year break.
Her journey to stardom started in the early 90s.
“We used to sing at weddings and funerals, but I wanted to see myself performing for hundreds and hundreds of crowds on big stages. I told myself if Rebecca Malope managed to do it, I could do it as well,” she said.
Her break came when she accompanied staff of a Willowvale hardware store to East London for a funeral. She was spotted by Koko Godlo, who introduced her to Tshepo Nzimande.
“I was auditioned over the phone. Koko called Nzimande and I called him. He then asked that I sing so that he could hear my voice,” she said.
After releasing a few albums with Nzimande at Bula Music, Kholeka worked with different companies until she established her own music label, Kholeka Music Productions.
Although her debut album titled Kilikiti made her popular, Dubula said it was her fourth album that cemented her presence in the music industry. However, she said it was Ewe Siyakuvuma that set her apart.
Dubula said in her new album she sings about God who never changes.
“I have been through hell and back, but God has always been there for me. He kept me calm and sane despite everything I have gone through,” she said.
Just three months after it was released, the album has exceeded Dubula’s expectations and is receiving airplay on national radio stations like Umhlobo Wenene and Ukhozi FM.
“I am happy that my fans are loving it,” she said.