Like many great singers, Phelo Bala started singing in his church choir at an early age, and it was immediately clear that he’d inherited his unique musical gift from his beloved mother and brothers Zwai and Loyiso (of TKZee fame). It is with them that Phelo would eventually form the globally acclaimed group, the Bala Brothers, when he was only 14 years old.
He has just released his debut afro soul album called, Ndimlo and with international jazz day this weekend, on 30 April, we chatted to Phelo about his music, his heroes and what he’s all about.
What does music mean to you?
It is my oxygen. I cannot live without it.
Any funny moments on stage?
Whenever I’ve learnt a new song and couldn’t remember my lyrics on stage.
Which living person do you admire most and why?
My mother. She’s never forgotten me. She’s forever praying for me.
What is your most treasured possession?
My phone. (Hides)
It’s your round what are you drinking?
The song you wished you wrote?
Anything, by Michael Jackson.
Dream gig to do?
A tribute performance at the Grammy awards.
What makes you stand out?
The way I think.
Pheloza, Spoks, Phelz, Pheja.
If you were not a musician what would you do?
I’d be a teacher.
Pick five words to describe yourself?
Crazy, sensitive, funny, smart, ambitious.
What song changed your life?
Richard Smallwood – Total Praise.
Your favourite fashion garment?
Give us some real proper slang and tell us what it means.
Ziyakhiptha – It’s happening
Top of your bucket list?
A SAMA award. (Giggles)
Your greatest achievement?
Being able to tour the world.
What do you complain about the most?
What is your biggest fear?
On stage I tend to?
If you are walking on stage for a keynote speech, what song would you use and why?
Ingxaki by myself. It’s an inspirational song with a movie/theatrical feel.
The best life lesson you have been taught?
It’s never too late.
Where would you like to be right now?
In some music studio in New York or somewhere writing music.