Gospel's Dumi Mkokstad stands test of time
An 18-year music career is the dream of many artists of different genres.
Some artists never make it past a debut album, let alone overcoming what is called the sophomore stage. But musicians such as Dumi Mkokstad have braved all the challenges of the industry and are still going strong.
Born Mdumiseni Nzimande in Cabazana, Mount Ayliff in Eastern Cape, 27 years ago, Mkokstad has had a colourful and decorated career as he drops his 10th album, Egameni Lika Jesu.
The 16-track release showcases his maturity. He has worked with Hlengiwe Mhlaba, Jaziel Brothers, Bethusile Mcinga and Judith Sephuma.
Egameni Lika Jesu treads exactly where his previous albums have trodden.
Mkokstad believes that the album showcases his more advanced writing skills and a strong message that he delivers so well. He preaches hope as he inspires those who have given up on life.
In the past few years, Mkokstad has proven to be a mean composer, penning hits, and he continues to exhibit the skill on this new offering.
He says his secret has been to make sure the songs carry relevant messages.
"I know that some people do not read the Bible or go to church, when you write music you need to think about those people ," he says.
Mkokstad's composing method starts with a prayer asking for direction from God.
"I pray to God to help me choose the right message that will talk to people's hearts. My songs are mostly based on the scriptures."
The 10th album comes two years after Ukhona Uthixo.
The album has achieved gold status and the song Safa Naye won him best song at the 2015 Crown Gospel Music Awards.
"Whenever I compose music I make sure the songs are packed with strong messages. Releasing an album after two years gives me a chance to work on the songs until I am satisfied. I want people to be touched by music and change their lives," he says.
His biggest wish is to help young artists to achieve their dreams. He has already started with Jumbo, a gospel singer from Umzimkhulu in KZN.
"I still want to grow in the way I write music, and musically in general. I want to be remembered as a great singer."
Mkokstad got into the industry in 1999 when he was just nine. His debut, Uthando Lungaka, was released a year later. In 2003 he released Dumi Mkokstad, under Bula Music.
His music began to make headway when he joined Big Music in 2010.