Many people know Nonhlanhla Mdluli as one of the former lead singers of Joyous Celebration. In this heart to heart interview, she candidly speaks about the inspiration behind the Love|WorshipExperience CD, her marriage, children and her hopes and dreams. So kick back, relax and enjoy this candid interview. Also be sure to get the new album which is out now in stores.
Inside Woman: Tell us about Jesus.Who is He and why should we still care?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: Jesus is the son of God. He’s the way the truth and the life and we should care because He once suffered for our sins that He might bring us to God.
Inside Woman: Nhlanhla when did you allow Jesus to be your Lord and Saviour?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: I was 13 years old when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour.
Inside Woman: How has the journey been for you?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: Accepting Christ has been the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. He's been good to me and He does all things well. My desire is to follow Him as my Saviour and to follow His footsteps for as long as I live.
Inside Woman: As a person first commits his or her life to Jesus Christ, what do you think is a good first step for that person?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: When you commit your life to Christ it is the beginning of a brand new life in Him. As a new born again Christian there are many important things you need to understand: firstly, you need to understand that you are saved by Grace through faith in Christ, in other words, Salvation is not something that can be earned by how good you try to be or some religious act that you perform. It is a free gift and comes to you, as you simply put your faith in Christ.
Inside Woman: Describe yourself in five words?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: Loving, honest, positive, focused, dreamer.
Inside Woman: What delights you most about being a wife and a mom?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: Sometimes it’s the little things: My husband knows the little things that make me happy and by him offering, and as a mom, I know the little things that make my kids happy. I love being a wife and a mommy and I love my husband.
Inside Woman: You have two boys. Was that the plan and are you still hoping to have a girl(s)?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: Yes, I am blessed with two beautiful boys, I wouldn't say that was the plan, but I asked God to give me beautiful, healthy children and that's exactly what He gave me. They are such a blessing and I love them dearly. I must say I would love to have a little girl someday, but hey, that's all up to God.
Inside Woman: How long have you been married to Thabo?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: Thabo and I have been married for 11yrs now.
Inside Woman: How did you meet him and how did you know he was the “one”?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: We first saw each other at my brother's wedding and the second time around it was at his brother's wedding. He was my dream guy "tall, dark and handsome" but you know, it’s hard to consider sharing your life with someone if you don't admire his life choices, and the way he conducts himself, not to mention the way he treats you, other people and himself. So as I got to know him, I learned that he was worthy of my trust, he loved me and totally accepted me, that's how I knew.
Inside Woman: What keys have you found to making your marriage last all these years?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: My husband and I are friends, we enjoy being together. We don't have to have someone with us to make it complete like some couples. We can have fun just the two of us. We don't need anyone to help us bring our marriage to another level. Most importantly we have found that praying together, making decisions together, attending church together and having lots of date nights are the keys that have made our marriage last. Making a marriage last until death is something both partners have to make a priority.
Inside Woman: What is the greatest piece of advice you've received about marriage, and who gave it to you?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: The best advise that I’ve received was from my mother and she said, “the one person you should be best friends with, is your husband.
Inside Woman: With such constant activity around you, when do you catch those intimate and private times with the Lord?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: It is very important to set aside time for prayer and I've learned that first thing in the morning is the best time for me. So I always wake up 30 min earlier for my morning devotions.
Inside Woman: Despite your success, you’ve remained involved in your local church. Why is this important for you and your family?
Nonhlahla Mdluli: It is very important for us as a family to be fed from home and to participate in church activities. It’s a blessing to serve others. My husband and I are involved in the Worship Ministry at our church Agape Family Church Wynberg.
Inside Woman: What advice do you offer an aspiring artist who desperately tries to balance the personal and the professional life with their personal pursuit for the heart of God?
Nonhlahla Mdluli: It is important to establish priorities and make choices on how to best spend your time so that we can be excellent in the most important areas of our lives. You should never use your work as an excuse for neglecting your relationships with God, family and friends.
Inside Woman: When did you first learn you could sing and how did you develop your talent?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: I started singing at the age of five. I joined the church choir and sang with community groups.
Inside Woman: Over the course of your career, you’ve shared the stage with some of the world’s greatest musician like Josh Groban. Who has helped shape your career or has inspired you?
Nonhlanhla: Sharing the stage with Quincy Jones, Josh Groban and Alicia Keys was one of the highlights of my career. I've also worked with the legendary Hugh Masekela, Caiphus Semenya and Letta Mbulu, Sibongile Mngoma and the late Mama Mirriam Makeba. These are the people that have inspired me and I have a lot of respect for them.
Inside Woman: Let’s talk about your new album, Love|WorshipExperience, with your husband, Thabo. Take us back to when the inspiration came to produce this album. What goes into the process to recording an album like this?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: Our Love for God, our passion for worship and the love we have for each other, is what inspired us to produce this album that is why we chose the name Love|WorshipExperience.
Inside Woman: Is there a scripture that you would say embodies the message of this album?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: Psalm 8 which is track 2 in the album.
Inside Woman : Is there a track on the album that is your favorite or the one that resonate the most with where you are right now in your spiritual journey?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: It’s hard to pick only one, because they all speak to me in different ways.
Inside Woman: I listened to the single, Best Thing, and I fell in love with it so easily. I understood the message. For you, were there any special meanings behind your message of the song?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: Best thing is a song about true worship. When God gave me this song it spoke to my heart that we really need to get back to true worship. John 4:24 says, “God is a Spirit and those who worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Spirit and in truth has nothing to do with whether we worship Him in the city or in the country side it doesn't matter whether we are in a house or a tent. A place of worship has nothing to do with whether our worship is acceptable to God, but God is looking for a heart that will truly say" Jesus is the Best thing."
Inside Woman: What was it like working with your husband on this particular project?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: My husband and I love working together. I enjoyed working with him on this one and we had great fun putting it together.
Inside Woman: Who have you worked with in this album, besides your husband, and what motivated you to work with them?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: We worked with Doctor Mdluli my brother in law. He's amazingly talented. We've worked with him all our lives, and he's the one person who understands our sound better than anyone.
Inside Woman: What advice do you have for aspiring artists who may be ministering in the church now, but feel called to be professional artists?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: That's a difficult one but I would say, as an aspiring artist in the church the very first thing you need to do is to check your aspirations. You need to do the difficult work of prayerfully examining your motives because you might feel you want to do it but it may not be what God wants you to do. My point is, not everyone is called to be a national artist some are called to be local artists and that's ok. Ask yourself this hard question: If no one ever hears my music and I'm never able to affect more than my congregation, my neighbourhood, friends and family can I still rejoice in God as well as support others whom God has blessed with a national platform. If the answer is no, then that's an indicator that you would have difficulty handling it if the Lord actually gave you what you desire because you're more focused on yourself than the Kingdom.
INSIDE WOMAN: There have been a lot of changes in the gospel music industry recently. Are you encouraged or cautious about what's happening in the industry?
NONHLANHLA MDLULI: A bit of both, it’s exciting to see new groups that are coming up with a fresh sound, and to see that Christians have become less afraid about what kind of music style they hear. Back in the days if it didn't have an organ and didn't sound like church it wasn't Gospel. What's also exciting is to see young people turning to Gospel music and enjoying it. We need more gospel music out there.
Inside Woman: What are your words of encouragement for people who may have gifts, talents, desires and dreams but they feel 'stuck'?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: If you feel stuck somewhere in your life know that you won't be stuck there forever. The bible says in Jeremiah29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord .plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. God has a future for you. Don't give up hope. As you keep pressing forward know that each new day is much closer to God's plan.
Inside Woman: Last question, what dreams does Nonhlanhla Mdluli have for his ministry and for his music?
Nonhlanhla Mdluli: My dream is to leave a legacy that I was a true servant. This is not about me but about bringing Glory to God. And I want people to know that I stood for what God required. I just want to keep going with my ministry and to stay connected to God.
Follow Nonhlanhla on Twitter @MsNonhlanhlaM