Music Interview: Dr Tom – Making Music On Magic Strings, Or Surgical Songwriting

August 17, 2023




Matodzi Tommy Mariba, known as Dr Tom, is a medical practitioner who works as an orthopedic and spine surgeon in Pretoria while also venturing out as a musician and recording artist. His passion for music stems from his appreciation of instruments and after establishing a YouTube channel on which he reviews guitars, it was only inevitable that record his original songs.

Mariba formed the group Magic Strings in late 2022, featuring Blessing Mudzanini on guitar and Hangwi Netshifhefhe on vocals, with Mulalo Mukwevho producing the music. The band recorded at Burning Shak Studios in Venda, titling the album One Night In Vegas and releasing debut single Khanyisile Come Home.

What are the aspects of music that most appeal to or thrill you as a listener, from lyrics to arrangements to instruments used to production techniques?

I’d have to say good lyrics thrill me the most. But good production is also a great reward when listening to good music.


Are those the same things you try to recreate in your writing or performance?

Most definitely. Magic Strings is bringing something great in music: good production, quality sound and beautiful live music – which is different from much of the music we hear today.

Which aspect of creating music comes most easily to you, and which requires the most discipline and practice?

What comes easily is playing, as my passion is the guitar. What requires more discipline is the coordination of the performances, but with the great band I have, most of the things are easy.


Outside of the actual music, what is, for you, the most important part of a great new release (single, album, etc)?

The most important thing would be a great reception from the people. For a great release to be accepted by the people – that is what is important to me.


Live performance: which artist has most impressed you in terms of what they deliver on stage?

I have listened to many different artists, but I’d have to say Prince is one of those who has most impressed me in terms of stage performance.


What role does music play in your life on a day-to-day basis – listening to it, writing it, practising it, buying and selling it, performing it, and so on?

Music means a great deal to me. I have a YouTube channel called Beautiful Guitars, where I review guitars and do giveaways, I also invite another guitarist to play and review world-class guitars for me.


What is your new/most recent release? What is the story behind it – the genesis of the song, the people involved, the muse behind its creation?

The new song we have out is called Khanyisile Come Home. It speaks of a man longing for his long-lost lover Khanyisile to come back home. There will be singles released for every season. We even have a Christmas song! They are all taken from the debut album, One Night In Vegas.