Medical doctor 'healing' people using music

Senzeni 'Dr Senzo' Tshuma/SUPPLIED
Senzeni 'Dr Senzo' Tshuma/SUPPLIED

Being a musician during lockdown has been a testing time for many artists who cannot tour or promote their music.

For rising star Senzeni "Dr Senzo" Tshuma, it's quite a different tale.

While he might not be able to touch lives through his music as he has often done in the past, he has done so through his career as a medical doctor.

Born and raised in Schoemansdal, near Komatipoort in Mpumalanga, the 25-year-old Tshuma, affectionately known as Dr Bae, pursued a career in medicine with the hope to touch people's lives.

However, his passion and drive for music led him to working with major South African artists, including DJ Sox with whom he has released a single with titled Dreaming.

Matriculating as one of the top students in his high school, Tshuma sought to follow a career that would allow him to change people's lives.

"I wanted a stable career because music is unpredictable and you never know what is going to happen," said Tshuma.

He works at Edendale Hospital, a public facility in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

"I like understanding people's situations and I like to write music that touches the soul," says Tshuma, whose pursuit of both careers was deeply inspired by "healing the wounds you can't see" through medicine.

As a self-taught musician, Tshuma pruned his skills in the art which he carried on to university.

While studying medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, he hosted a one-man show and sold tickets door-to-door. "People would shut their doors and some thought I was crazy, but I kept on going even though I was tired," says Tshuma.

Raking in sales of up to R2,000, Tshuma caught the attention of the faculty dean who pushed for a musical programme that would allow more medical students to take part in a music programme.

"There was a time when a lot of the medical students were committing suicide and a lot of them were very depressed. There's a group that did art and poetry, but I started my own called Music Medics because I felt that there was a gap for people like me who were medical students and loved music.

"I created the platform to do our own shows and she (the dean) noticed that and invested in it to allow medical students to unwind," he said.

It was this same drive that eventually afforded him the opportunity to work with producer C Sharp, who was a producer to DJ Sox.

"For the longest time he was not aware of my presence, which I understood because he was busy. But because of my passion and my work, I finally got a chance."

With a distinctly contemporary sound, the gqom beat Dreaming was a collaborative effort of melodies between C Sharp and Tshuma.

Having directed the melody and the lyrics of the track, Tshuma shares that it was simply made out of a passion for music.

DJ Sox, who was looking to release music with a distinct sound, found the song the perfect conduit for a collaboration.

While Dreaming has enjoyed airplay on popular music channels like Trace, Tshuma has had to rely on old and new forms of media to push the song to more audiences. This has also pushed him to host fans during live sessions on social media as a means of reaching audiences without breaking the lockdown regulations.

While he is still navigating the groundwork of being a young doctor, Tshuma has plans to tour more post-lockdown with new music that he will be launching.

Dreaming is currently available on all major music streaming platforms.

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