Record label Gallo has refuted several damaging claims made by Thami Shobede’s friends following his death

The singer died in hospital earlier last week after collapsing during a performance.

The 31-year-old’s cause of death has not been confirmed but several publications claim that he passed away after his organs failed.

Thami rose to fame on singing competition, Idols SA. The season 12 runner up stole the hearts of many South Africans who continued to support him long after the competition ended.

Thami had been open about his ups and downs in the industry, but many were shocked when his close friend Themba Humana told mourners at a Johannesburg memorial that he was treated unfairly by his record label, Gallo.

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Themba said that Thami tried to get out of his contract with the label in 2017 but was allegedly told to pay money

“These are the words [from the label] when Thami wanted to get out of the contract, ‘We have five years with you and you can’t go anywhere. If you want to go anywhere we need between R350k – R500k on everything we have done for you’,” he said at the memorial.

Themba added that Gallo bosses allegedly did not support his music career as much as they should have.

“I have been to many of Thami’s shows and we never saw Gallo there. Gallo would say, ‘Thami you had a gig, we need 20% from the money you got’. Thami, from whatever he’s getting, he would share the money with his band and management. On top of that, he still needed to take care of his sisters and mother,” he said.

Themba further claimed that Gallo bosses did not pay Thami all his royalties and was not there for him when he was admitted in hospital.

“Thami was a breadwinner; taking care of his two sisters and mother. It happened that when we saw that the situation was getting worse we called Gallo. Gallo never responded and was never there for Thami. Thami had a contract with Gallo and wanted to get out of the contract.”

He also claimed that Gallo only contributed R5 000 towards Thami’s memorial.


Gallo has released a statement following the accusations

The label has denied all claims made against it, including that it failed to give Thami all the money that was due to him from his royalties.

“Recordings cost money. Marketing costs money. Videos cost money. As part of recording contracts there are certain expectations of the record label, and the upfront costs they bear, and also the artist contributes to the risks involved and investment into their career.
“There are recovery elements involved where income contributes to costs before profits are paid out… Gallo paid for all recordings and marketing costs upfront. Thami received statements and reports of his incomes and account status and always knew where he stood,” the label’s General Manage Rob Cowling said in a statement.

Rob confirmed that Thami did at one point want to “get out” of his contract but denied requesting payment

The label says “after talking to him in fact we agreed to release a new single, which was to be a collaboration with top house artists”.

The label also denied that it was not there for Thami when he was admitted to hospital.

“One of our employees was informed late on Wednesday that Thami was in hospital. There was also a request of assisting to move him to a private facility. We were unclear at the time of the state of his condition but visited the following day. A Gallo representative, also a friend of Thami’s, spent the entire day there lending support and assistance to the family.”