Theo Mungoma was the overall winner in the Zambian Celtel Star Search competition. From the early stages of the televised contest it was evident that he had the potential to take the prize, and the thousands of loyal votes that put him into first place are testimony to the bursting charisma and talent that Theo exhibited. When he recorded his album in New York as part of his prize, he drew in listeners from neighbouring studios, impressed by his vocal and song-writing abilities. The funny thing is, though, that he never even knew he could sing until five years ago.
Theo grew up in Lusaka. The musical inspirations of his youth were Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, but he never sang publicly until 2002, when he joined the choir at his church. From there it was a very steep learning curve – in 2003 he entered Zambian Pop Idols and, amazingly, came second. If ever there was reason to believe in himself as a musician, it was this. With his winnings he bought himself a guitar, downloaded music and notes from the internet, and taught himself to play. Then he started to write songs.
He describes his inspirations as “anything I get in contact with, be it a person, a beautiful flower, a movie… or just how I’m feeling”. As his music reflects, his musical influences range from R&B, Hip Hop and Soul to African rhythms. It’s his African roots that he feels are the driving source of his own talents - in fact, this is his pride. “There is so much talent that is only now being tapped. More than ever before, I see African music making its mark on the world charts. African music will no longer be a silent voice”.