Everyone knew it was a Loyiso Bala gospel CD and DVD launch, but it still sounded odd to hear him greet everyone “in the name of our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ”.
He probably saw the uncertainty in his audience and cracked a joke about it.
“Yes, you need to get used to me greeting you like this
from now on,” he said chuckling.
The whole room was filled with laughter, but the audience still looked a bit confused about seeing Loyiso on a Christian podium.
Of course, he has done several celestial songs with his brothers, but his latest all-gospel project marks a new turning point for the man who the media once
referred to as the “King of R&B”.
People wondered what motivated this move. They also must have wondered if this was a permanent move.
But Loyiso is no fool, and for every curious mind, he had a genuine answer.
“When I turned 30, I looked back on my career and I realised that I had four successful albums,” he enthused.
“I had proved myself time and time again. At that time I had five songs in the top 100, probably more than any secular artist has had,” he shared.
“I had received five Samas and had tons of awards from You magazine’s Sexiest to GQ’s Most Stylish, to Men’s Health’s Man of the Year. I had sung in eight
Miss SAs. I had been to every J&B Met, to every Durban July.
“I sang in front of Will Smith, Oprah and Sir Richard
Branson. I literally could have looked back and said that I have done it and basked in my glory, so to say,” he reflected.
But with all the success and the world being his oyster, Loyiso still felt a void in his life.
“Funny enough, when I had the most in my life, I felt
the emptiest. I felt emptier then than when I didn’t
have anything,” he said.
Looking back to find out what he was really missing,
Loyiso believed the big hole he felt was as a result of the spiritual aspect of his life.
“The only thing that disconnects me from my talent is the spiritual aspect. Right there and then I decided I
was going to go and find it. I enrolled at the Rhema Bible School and took a course called Heart of Worship,” he said.
To make it in that class, he had to quickly get over the fact that he was a 30-year-old in the midst of teenagers. He also had to let go of his celebrity status
and try to be as “equal” to the other students as possible.
“I learnt about worship and that we are all supposed to worship something. Every single person has a void
that needs to be filled with worship, and I realised I
had to serve God.
Over the years my friends and I took risks and I only made it through God’s grace,” he said.
He alludes that grace was a catalyst that inspired his interest in making gospel music.
“I didn’t want to make gospel music, but I felt compelled to as my relationship with God improved. I started gaining interest in it and boom, that is how
Love Complete was born,” he said.
The Love Complete CD and DVD compilation has 17 interesting cuts as Loyiso’s take on the benefits of being in a relationship with God.
Though he wrote the bulk of the material, he also handpicked a few unknown singers who have also
sung extensively on this project.
“The funny thing is at the time that I made this decision, I had to let go an opportunity to record with a US producer. For years I had been trying to get a US deal and when this particular guy came through it was
a big deal for me.
“He produced Jason Derulo, and all he needed was R400 000. But when I was in Scotland, with the Bala Brothers, I decided I wanted to make a gospel album.
“As I decided that, literally the following day, my manager called to say there was a guy in Kenya who was willing to pay for my trip to the US to record and I
turned it down. I knew that my heart was not in it anymore,” he said.
“I found greater purpose in doing Love Complete than go out there to be another stat,” he said.
He believes that this album is his way of giving back hope to the people around him. He feels it is much better than talking of bling and other material things.
This is perhaps a great career move for him because his fans are responding positively to the new path he has chosen.
“The music has remained the same but the message has changed. Those who are not into the message can
still enjoy the music,” he said.
But there is nothing really surprising about Loyiso’s drastic change of tune.
When he started his R&B career, not many people believed that he would get far as the genre was not
popular locally. But he insisted on it and did well for himself.
This new chapter of his life will see him test new territories and most likely prevail.
“This is my own brand of gospel and there is nothing
like it in the country. It is 100 percent me.”