Ringo Madlingozi is a Cape Town-born South African singer, producer and songwriter who rose to fame when he and his band Peto won the Shell Road to Fame contest in 1986.
He later formed a group called Gecko Moon with Alan Cameron, a fellow Peto member. Their popular hit was Green-Green, which was a crossover track and was well received by music lovers.
Since his debut solo album, Vukani, which sold tens of thousands of copies, he has been unstoppable and moving up the music ladder.
He has subsequently scooped multiple awards for his albums, the South African Music Awards (SAMA) and the Kora All African Music Awards, where, among others, he won the Best Male Artist in Southern Africa and the African continent Awards.
He collaborated with international acclaimed group UB40 as part of the United Nations global AIDS awareness program, recording the Xhosa lyrics of Cover Up. Brian Travers, UB40's saxophonist, describes Ringo's music as "fantastic".
In May 2003, Ringo Live was recorded at the State Theatre in Pretoria and released in both DVD and CD format in August of the same year. The Ringo Live CD has sold an excess of 150,000 units, reaching multi-platinum status with the DVD selling over 60,000 units.
The DVD was in the top five national charts and top 10 international charts due to its excellent production quality.
In 2004 Ringo released an album titled Baleka which has thus far sold over 75,000 units and continues to sell. On that album he worked with Dillon O'Bryan, the composer of the song Soul to Soul by The Temptations and Bob Thiele Jnr.
Love Songs, a compilation, was released on 14 February 2006 sold over 25,000 copies within the first month of its release.
On the local front he has produced the world renowned artist Miriam "Mama Africa" Makeba and Durban Gospel greats Avante. Mama Africa's CD was nominated and received a number of local and international awards.
Due to popular demand of the Ringo Live DVD and CD, Ringo recorded a sequel, which is the Ringo Live2 recording in the same format of DVD and CD in September 2006.
In it he features Mama Busi Mhlongo; popstar Thembisile Ntaka; rap's gentle giant, Hip-Hop Pantsula and locally unknown, but internationally acclaimed Xhosa Spiritual Traditional artist, Ncumisa Bhonga.
Ringo was born in Gugulethu, Cape Town, in 1964.
A chance encounter with renowned producer and head of Island Records, Chris Blackwell, changed the course of Ringo's creative life.
"Blackwell chided me for not sticking to what I know best – my people, my language and my culture," Ringo says. "It was as if a bright light had been turned on in my mind and this led directly to the recording of my debut album, Vukani."
The album marked a new direction for Ringo. Literally meaning "Wake Up" the album firmly rooted Ringo in the African pop genre, giving expression to the "ukuxhentsa" rhythms that had inspired the singer in his youth when he used to listen to "amagqirha" or traditional healers in his neighborhood and appreciate their rhythms.
The addition of a contemporary sound whilst still being grounded in the tradition of the Xhosa guitar, cemented what has now become known as the "Ringo" sound.
The sound has found its expression in several other releases, each one building on the success of the last. Among these are Sondelani (1997), Mamelani (1998) and Into Yam' (1999), Buyisa (2000), Ntumba (2002)and Baleka (2004).
They've earned Ringo several awards including Best Male Vocalist in 1998 and 1999 at the South African Music Awards as well as Best Male Artist (Southern Africa) and Best Male Artist (South Africa) and Best Male Vocalist (African Continent) at the 1998 and 1999 Kora awards respectively.
His energetic live shows have also earned Ringo acclaim.
In 2003 he wowed the European audiences who either attended or watched on their national television channels the North Sea Jazz Festival (Den Hague, Netherlands) and Festival de Jazz De Vitoria Gastteiz Airtel (Spain).
In 2004 he performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. He has performed in European countries such as United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Spain and Germany.
For the past few years Ringo has been working with, or assisting in the following centres: Takalani Home for the Disabled in Soweto, Sinethemba Home in Benoni, Van Rijn Place of Safety in Benoni, Siyazigabisa Home of Hope in Thembisa and in Port Elizabeth, Enkuselweni Place of Safety.
In Enkuselweni, Ringo works with the youth to motivate them and give financial assistance in the form of donations and benefit concerts.
At Van Rijn he has been doing the same and assisting them with music training and together with Sindi Dlathu of Muvhango fame, they also coached the kids in Dance. He has assisted a few times with collecting clothes for and giving Christmas gifts to the children there.
In Takalani home he has given entertainment for the residents in the form of free unplugged sessions and also gives food and financial donations whenever necessary.
At Sinethemba, he plays more of a parental role to the kids, as it is a fairly small home, with fewer children. He guides and motivates the kids and accompanies them to their school functions, such as Matric Dances. He assists with buying clothes and gifts for the children and assists wherever and whenever it is necessary.
In Durban, together with Nkosi Ngubane, he started the Adopt a Child Project, where a person supports an orphaned child.
In the recent past he has been given ambassadorship for HIV/AIDS and Anti-Women and Child Abuse Campaign by the Gauteng Department of Social Welfare.
He has also worked with Khuluma Ndoda, an anti-women abuse movement started by actor Patrick Shai.
Ringo appeared on the third one-off TV special of quiz show Test The Nation, entitled National Parenting Test, as a celebrity guest.