Gospel star Tebby Setlhomo has finally confirmed she is smiling all the way to the bank, thanks to a recording deal with the Botswana Democratic Party(BDP), which will land her millions of Pula, when fully completed.
The project, which is set to make Tebby the first local musician millionaire involves producing victory albums for constituencies and wards that the BDP snatched last year as it returned to power for the 45th year since 1965.
Tebby has just completed the production of 20 albums for the ruling party's constituencies and is still hoping to do more for the remaining constituencies as well as interested council wards.
The singer, who quit the teaching profession last year to focus on promoting the BDP through music, says the albums remain the property of the respective clients and will be sold by constituencies and wards to raise funds.
Tebby says as part of the deal she will also perform wherever the albums are launched, making her the party's official musician.
The self-styled Queen of Gospel, finally opened up about her big money deal with her favourite party. Speaking with a soft tone, the gospel sensation opens her bag and takes out a book from which she reads out the names of MPs and councillors who have already paid for their album projects.
The album sleeves are also laid on the table. There is one Christian De Graaf's poster, Robert Masitara, Master Goya, Phandu Skelemani, Shaw Kgathi, Lieutanent Gen Mompati Merafhe, Peter Siele, Pono Moathodi, the list goes on.
Tebby tells Showbiz that her BDP colleagues were all impressed by her work in the party's official album released during the run-up to the October 16, 2009 general election.
" All the albums were composed, and performed by myself, including the backing vocals. They love my vocals; that is why I did not want to hire any other musicians to do this job; it has to be perfect, with Tebby's touch," she says as Showbiz seeks to know why the gospel star did not assign some albums to other local artists.
However, Tebby says she hired two local studios, as well as four producers to produce six or so of the albums, while the rest were produced at her studio at her house.
She says most of her clients will take their copies at the next BDP national council, where she also hopes to seal more deals with the councillors.
" I have already completed 20 albums, including two for councillors. This is the first category of album production; other MPs and councillors who have shown interest will have their works produced in the second category of production. All the MPs are keen to have celebratory albums, but some have asked to be given time to prepare themselves," Tebby tells Showbiz.
She emphasises that the rest of the MPs whose albums are not ready yet would no doubt come on board. " I was surprised when the two councillors, who feature in the first category of the album productions came on board.
"One would assume that councillors would not be interested in having their own ward albums, but many have been calling and reminding me that they are coming in as well," she confides.
For Tebby, all the 20 albums already produced count as money in the bank. At P15,000 each Tebby has already pocketed some P300, 000 from the BDP legislators so far without including more cash for the singer as the clients make orders for thousands of album copies to be sold in their respective constituencies. Showbiz was lucky to meet a business acquaintance of Tebby who helped Showbiz estimate the profits.
The albums will accompany a P35, 000 official party album, Re A leboga, which has also been commissioned as part of the BDP victory celebrations.
She has disclosed that Mahalapye West MP and Vice President Lieutanent Gen Mompati Merafhe, and Kgalagadi MP, Christain De Graaf have already ordered copies for sale in their areas.
Tebby also says that the politicians have been faithful, as all of them gave her cheques in advance. "They are usually busy people, so they just issued the cheques and provided their profiles, from which I could produce the songs for the albums."
But Tebby is not one to boast of her success from the BDP windfall. Her answers are well-guarded, in fact when she is asked to share with Showbiz her success story as a female musician reaping big returns from the ruling party. In the run-up to the general election, Tebby dropped an election album coined around President Ian Khama and the BDP, which became a hit with the party faithfuls.
The party gave her the rights to market the album and keep all the proceeds as royalties. Tebby is the first to admit the album sold big among both the BDP crazy citizens and Batswana in general.
How much did she make from the BDP album? Tebby simply said, " I would say thousands. I did not count, but this album (the 199 General Election) did wonders, it continues to sell a lot of copies."
"I have realised through this album that Batswana really appreciate their President, irrespective of their party affiliation. Whenever I perform this song in my shows, the copies (for the BDP album) start flying. Batswana tell me they like this song about the President, some phone me to deliver it at their homes and work places; it is amazing."
Tebby says the BDP song in the album has also established itself as the new anthem for the party faithful. "Somehow BDP members have fallen in love with this one so much that they have made it a defector party anthem," she says.
Tebby interestingly ranks the BDP album's popularity with her hit album, Maleo A Me, which established the singer as a force in the music industry as the title song in particular appealed to believers and non-believers alike. And how much did Maleo sell? " I don't know, it is a long time ago; you want to know? I do not count copies, maybe I should start counting," she said while the look in her eye betrays her.