“The entertainment industry has also been affected by Covid-19, a pandemic which has brought this country’s economy to its knees. Like some of many jazz artists, she had to put some of her plans on hold. But she is adamant that this period of uncertainty should teach musicians new ways of branding themselves including publishing and distributing their material. She also wants to see many female jazz instrumentalists joining the industry”
Tebogo Patience Sedumedi is a bassist, vocalist, composer and producer born in Krugersdorp on the Gauteng’s West Rand and was raised in Mahikeng, the capital of North-West Province. This friendly artist popularly known as AusTebza is a daughter, sister and aunt. Some of the friendships she made at school still exist to this day. Her love for music made her very popular among fellow learners. “I was that girl who everyone came to for lyrics and music updates”, she said with a chuckle. At home, her parents and siblings were the first to hear the songs she composed and gave all the encouragement.
Her parents always remind her that she used to sing along to every song on radio and TV from the young age of 2 which surprised them since they did not have a musical background. “I was never shy to take centre stage when my favourite songs were played on the radio”, she recalls. AusTebza’s bubbly personality always kept her family tight. She confesses being the primary reason for her family’s love for music. Even her sisters started developing a good ear for music because of her influence. “My younger cousins are now showing an interest in the entertainment industry”, she told Jazz It Out.
Growing up in Mahikeng, she enjoyed the music of Teddy Pendergrass, Anita Baker, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Jagged Edge, All-4-One, Michael Jackson, Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Wu -Tang Clan, Mary J Blige, Aliyah, Monica and Brandy. She was also a huge fan of Boom Shake and graduated to the African Jazz sounds of Letta Mbulu, Miriam Makeba, Caiphus Semenya, Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa and many others. AusTebza also sang in choirs at primary and high school. That is when her love for composing her own songs began.
The quest to learn more about music saw her making regular visits to Mmabana Cultural Centre Music Department to find musicians that would mentor her with turning her compositions into melody and found herself joining the Mmabana Band at the age of 15 doing Grade 11. From there she decided to form an all-female band called Deeva. Realizing that the band did not have a bassist, she decided to learn how to play the instrument. The band wanted to be completely female, independent and reflect the girl power that led to its formation in the first place.
AusTebza is self-taught bassist who received tutelage from bassists Lucas Senyatso, Sibusiso “Spanish Fly” Motshoeneng and Fana Zulu. Their craft, perseverance and conversations gave her lots of confidence in continuing on her chosen path. She has since gone to perform with many artists including HHP, Gang of Instrumentals, Max-Hoba, Heels Over Head, Wanda Baloyi, Swazi Dlamini, K B Motsilanyane and Simphiwe Dana. AusTebza says it’s a blessing to have shared her bass journey with these musicians because she got to experience music not only from her perspective but from theirs as well. “This has built my confidence and also exposed me to different music genres”, she told Jazz It Out.
The Groove Queen released her debut album titled “Make a Difference” in 2016 where she displayed her versality as an artist and a reflection of her journey as a musician. In terms of style, she did not follow a specific formula or pattern. “I gave what was in my heart”, she said. The album addressed issues of love, confidence, identity, and not being afraid. “It is important to write music that will connect with people, their emotions and soul”, she added. AusTebza does not want to be boxed. “Music has endless possibilities so it can take you anywhere”, she affirmed.
In September last year she performed at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival where she showcased and unleashed her amazing talent to the international audience. This is a festival that forms a big part of the jazz calendar as it brings some of the big names in jazz to Sandton Convention Centre. In March this year, she was scheduled to release her second album “Motheo” at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Unfortunately, that festival which was scheduled to take place in March was postponed due concerns over Covid-19. AusTebza will release the album towards the end of this year. The single titled “Ke Lekile Ke Paletswe” has been released on all digital platforms.
The difference between “Make a Difference” and “Motheo” is that Motheo is more defined in terms of sound. “I am actually recording the sound that shaped me when I was learning how to play bass in Mahikeng” she said. Some of the new songs were written in that era, but there is also new music that complements those songs. The style of music will remind people of a sound and feel when they were younger and convince the younger generation that they understand and relate. “It will definitely create a new bridge”, she added. Her Artistry is a consulting and booking agency where AusTebza played a pivotal role in its formation. It creates more opportunities for women in this industry which is still largely male dominated.
Lerato – AusTebza
She has been a bass player at the South African Music Awards (SAMA’s) from 2011 to 2013 and featured on Channel O Awards. AusTebza’s versatility has seen her working as musical director for the Mbokodo Awards in 2018 and bass player at the South African Feather Awards in 2016. One of her fulfilments as an artist comes from performing live. “There’s nothing as exciting as engaging with an audience”, she told Jazz It Out. Performing live is something that helps her connect with people who appreciate the music she performs. Her opinion on the lockdown and the coronavirus is that artists must also learn new ways of publishing and distributing their music. She’s unapologetic that music is a career where artists must earn a living.
When young women ask her how she manages to play the bass with such proficiency, she tells them it’s because she loves it and most importantly she loves music. She further tells them they must have their own unique sound which will distinguish them from their peers in the industry. AusTebza’s favourite bassists are Khaya Mthethwa, Sabelo Masondo, Richard Bona, MeShell Ndegeocello, Esperanza and many others. Her fans must expect more music which include many collaborations with musicians from the African continent. She also wants to grow as a producer.
This bassist who has already visited countries including Australia, United States of America, India, Germany, Jamaica, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique and Lesotho likes spending time reading the word of God, going to church and cooking. Her Facebook Page is AusTebza. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @austebza. Subscribe to her YouTube channel Aus Tebza