Downtime: Time to shine

SA gospel group Simply Chrysolite beat Kelly Rowland to scoop Best International Act at the 2011 Beffta awards in London.

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Q&A with Simply Chrysolite
We chat to South African gospel group Simply Chrysolite about their striking success, their ambitions and the faith that drives them.

Simply Chrysolite is Dolce Bophela, Mabongi Shinga, Thabiso Mkhize (all 25), Phumzile Ngcobo (24), Thabzo Mkhwanazi (22) and Hlengiwe Nguse (20).

Having no musical training, was it difficult to put together an album?
Thabzo Mkhwanazi: Yes and no. It was a new challenge, since we’d never seen the inside of a studio or composed any songs. But through mentorship, everything was made simpler and easier. Eventually we came out with our debut album, which has won us four awards to date.

You ladies wrote all the songs on the album. Where did you draw inspiration to do that?
Thabiso Mkhize:
From the Holy Spirit. The Word of God says: “Sing a new song unto the Lord.” Based on this our mentor, Reverend Omotoso, prayed for us and instructed us to compose our own songs. So whenever we read the Bible, we find inspiration.

Who are your favourite gospel musicians?
Mkhwanazi:
Jonathan Butler, Byron Cage, Gaither, Eben and Kirk Franklin. Their music’s uplifting and very appealing to us as young people.

What do you think of being compared with the Spice Girls?
Phumzile Ngcobo:
It’s actually an accolade for us to be compared with a group who once dominated the pop charts both in the UK and globally. They were young and reigned in their time as the hottest girl band – everybody totally adored them. That means, by the grace of God, we have the same charisma. We trust that God will use us to reach out to the youth of the world in the same manner.

How do your families feel about your success?
Hlengiwe Nguse:
Although they initially didn’t understand the career path we’d chosen, they now acknowledge the work God is doing in our lives and are very happy. Most of us never really saw ourselves as musicians, so it took some convincing to get our parents’ blessing for the group. Now they become excited when they see our faces on TV, in newspapers and in publications like DESTINY.

What projects are you involved in this year?
Mkhize:
By the special grace of God, we’ll be ministering in and around SA, as well as in Nigeria and Israel. Most importantly, we’re travelling to Jamaica in July. We’re the first African group to be invited to their annual Go Festival.

To read the full version of this story go to page 145 of the April issue of DESTINY