Welcome to the soul sounds of Yolisa Dumezweni. After working as a professional forensic analyst for a full year, she decided to follow her inspirational lifelong calling and seed a career in music. Her passionate voice churns out rhythmic melodies of inspiration, hope and unconditional love that reaches out with tunes depicting a world of possibilities where anything is possible!
Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, rooted in a Xhosa ancestry, her music-loving soul was captured at an early age. She was only four years old when she attentively listened to the tunes of Tracy Chapman and hummed along.
Early beginnings sparked off when she was discovered by a primary school teacher who invited her to sing at the school assembly.
Balancing career and family, the single mother moved to Melbourne in 2013 and pursued her studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia majoring in Bachelor of Accounting. In 2018, after a year of working as a forensic analyst, she decided to pursue a musical career. And the year is rhythmically sparking off in soul sounds and she has upcoming performances with David Marama!
‘‘The challenges that I faced over the years have led my passion to share my stories and inspire all around me to be the best versions of themselves through the power of music’ Yolisa Dumez
Meet #CreatePreneurAfrica – Yolisa Dumez’ Soul sounds from South Africa
Tell us what drives you? What is your true passion in life?
The process of becoming. I’ve had to learn, sometimes in painful ways, that “it is not about the destination, it is about the journey”.
When you are aligned to who you truly are, you are able to appreciate even the contrast you come across on your way to your dreams. My journey as a singer was always a difficult one, which is why it took me so many years to confidently step into my dreams without fear of being criticised.
And the thing that surprised me the most, is that the person who criticised me more than anyone, is me. I felt that my voice wasn’t sweet enough like the girls a sang with at church because mine was always characterized as husky.
But I’ve since learned to embrace the uniqueness of my voice, as I’ve learned over the years that the best songs have always been the songs that touched people to their core and made them feel unconditional love and passion. And that is my hope whenever I sing; that I touch someone enough to make them feel like anything is possible.
How did you find your passion and how old were you?
I started singing since I was a little girl. My mother loves telling the story of how at four years old, I would sit on the couch next to the record player, and listen attentively to Tracey Chapman’s songs.
But I didn’t know I could sing until I was 12 years old when I was “discovered” by one of my teachers in primary school, who fell in love with a poem I’d written for her class. She was also a pianist and asked me if I’d like to join her in singing a song in front of the whole school during an assembly. I agreed. And when the moment came, as I began to sing, I felt fear leave and something unexplainable but exhilarating come over me.
I guess you could say it’s a knowing I’ve always had, that whenever I stood in front of people, either to speak or sing I was connecting to my true self.
What about your passion appeals to you the most?
The opportunity to work with people from all walks of life, and sharing experiences. I like to use music as a platform to tell my story in order to inspire and uplift others.
What drove you to make money from your passion?
Shortly after I graduated in 2016, I was offered an opportunity to work at one of the Big 4 firms in Melbourne. It was an opportunity to work with the best of the best in the field, plus it looked good on my resume. I felt that I had a lot to prove at the time, but I also felt that the environment stifled my creativity and I was just going through the motions.
I knew very quickly that I had no desire to climb the corporate ladder. I believe that time is our most valuable asset, and should be spent doing the things that we love. Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Looking back now, I believe that if I had not worked in that corporate environment, I probably wouldn’t have found the courage to go after my dreams. Making that decision, gave me freedom, clarity and most importantly, I found true happiness.
What kept you going when you thought about giving up?
The knowledge of a God who loves me so much, and has given me the tools to create my destiny. Because of this confidence I have, external expectations, fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of the power I know is working in me and for me. It’s unconditional love!
What motivates you every day to be even more successful?
The desire to leave a legacy that will inspire many generations to come.
What do you have to say to all of the people who doubted you?
Nothing at all.
What advice do you give to aspiring creative is who look up to you?
One of my favourite quotes from Joseph Campbell , “Follow your bliss….”. Meaning, do only things that make you happy. And contrary to popular belief, the path to your desires is meant to be easy, because it’s who you are to your core. When you get on the path, things will fall into place and opportunities will come.