Thobela Velapi was born into a musical family on 17 May 1984, in Kwanobuhle, Uitehnage, Eastern Cape. She’s a versatile musician who started singing at a tender age of 2, as a young child and by the age of 13 was singing in the church choir at her church, Seventh Day Adventist church in Kwanobuhle and sang for various church choirs and at school, after she matriculated in 2004, she went to further her studies, Graphic design in Port Elizabeth, Russell College. During that time in the Eastern Cape, she formed a group consisting of 2 males and 2 females, they called themselves Soul Fusion. They provided shows for students every year called Soul Elevator.
The stage name Bella, was given to her by one of her art lectures, and also suggested by her group members as her stage name. In 2007 joined a 6 piece jazz band called Mamela. Performed mostly in corporate functions. In 2009 took a break in music but her friend couldn’t let her, knowing that she has a big passion for music, approached her to perform on their behalf in Boardwalk, Port Elizabeth. She began working as a feature lead and backup vocalist, in and out of studio.
There is a well known band in P.E, Blaze Jazz Band, she performed with this band in Ebubeleni Festival, Splash Festival, Buyel’ekhaya Festival and Coming Home Festival. Her E.P which include songs like Walkaway and Ukulunga, was released on 2013 hit the entertainment industry by storm, produced by Bongani Tulwana, Andile Poswa and Thobela Velapi at Satt’africa sound studio. She is currently working on releasing a full album. The quality of her vocals attracted the attention of record labels such as Dub grooves studios Entertainment in Carlifonia who approached her in 2014 to work on a reggae album, soon to be released this year.
The Jazz and Afro-pop singer attracted again the attention of those who love reggae music, with the songs she selected on the album and performed SuperStar and Prayer, during One Blood Festival, March 2015 at Grand Hotel P.E . Bella performed alongside big names like, Thandiswa Mazwai, Sibongile Khumalo, Zonke, Theo Gosengue, The Palathons and Stimela. The singer had another opportunity of sharing a stage with Iqulah from Jamaica and not only that but, as his back up vocalist.
This modest, vibrant up coming star has began to hit the music scene with her equally Inspirational genre of Afro-pop/Jazz and Raggae. She has worked with Heavy-k, Yhakeem, Mzo, Jah-khongo Shango, Lord harmony and Getto Sound studios on an album coming out this year. Thobela’s music and stage performance is justification for her reputation as one the most promising in her genre, her music appeals to a wider cross over audience both in South Africa and beyond borders. This home grown talent must be seen and heard.
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