Lira is the definition of success. Hailing from Daveyton in Ekurhuleni, Lira has achieved what to most can only be a dream. From selling multi platinum albums to scooping numerous awards, Lira is truly a phenomenon. How best would you reconcile sold out concerts and the enormous fan base she commands?
One on one with Lira: The Interview is a journey i embarked on to explore her world, her joys, her ambitions, her dreams for the youth of South Africa, for the youth of Africa, her road to stardom, her struggles, her triumphs.
What never ceased to amaze me is the strength and the humbleness that oozes through every response she gave to every single question.
Below echoes a voice of a woman who not only is an icon but a great inspiration to the youth and the masses at large.
YV: Who is Lira?
Lira: I am a multi-platinum selling, multi award winning singer, songwriter , fashion icon and entrepreneur from Daveyton in Ekurhuleni. I’ve never quite said it like this but it does feel good.
YV: What inspired you to pursue music as a career?
Lira: I wanted to pursue a meaningful life path and I saw music as a way of doing this. I saw it as a way of doing what I love and I could impact the world in a positive way.
YV: What where some of the challenges you faced as an upcoming musician?
Lira: Some of my earliest challenges were around the marketing of my music to a market that mostly supported Dance and Kwaito music. It was very difficult to get support from retailers. Soul music was also not a big seller. It took years to change this around.
YV: When did you get your first big break?
Lira: I got signed to 999 Music and released my first album in 2003 titled “All my love” which gave me a taste of the industry. My big break came when I signed with Sony Music and released my”Feel Good” album in 2006. My career shot up from there.
YV: What else would you have done if you weren’t a musician?
Lira: I would have pursued a degree in accounting and possibly worked and studied towards becoming a Charted Accountant.
YV: What were your parents initially reaction to your zest for music?, where they always supportive?
Lira: My parents thought it would be impossible to make a career out of music, they only gave me their blessing once I had an education to fall back on.
YV: Any life lessons you drew from your journey as a musician?
Lira: My journey as a musician has helped me discover who I am. It is the best life decision I ever took. It challenged me so much, forced me to work on my spirit, to heal my past and my hurts, to face and conquer my fears, to challenge my beliefs and to constantly grow as a person. I write about what I experience and what I observe. I sing about life as I experience it in this journey.
YV: Who are your favourite local and international musicians
Lira: I love Hugh Masekela- incredible musician and performer with an incredible zest for life even in his 70’s. I love the late Mirriam Makeba- the ultimate African Female icon, I love HHP- he’s timeless.
I’d love to do something with John Legend and John Meyer- I have respect for them as songwriters.
YV: How has stardom changed your life?
Lira: I can no longer easily go into a mall and run my errands or take a walk down town Jozi, or have dinner at a restaurant with friends and family. But that’s okay, I get to travel around the country and the world and I get to perform in beautiful places and stay in gorgeous hotels, I get to wear beautiful clothes and shoes and dress up. I get to do what I love for thousands of people… It is beautiful.
Lira: I enjoy go-karting, golf, driving my car on the open road out of the city, I like to enjoy good food with great company and best of all.. I like to stay at home and do absolutely nothing.
YV: We understand you married? , has that changed you in any way?
Lira: Not that I can see.. I’m very happy in my marriage though.. And this adds to the enjoyment of my life overall.
YV: You and Mr Lira, how did you guys meet?
Lira: I met him 11 years ago through a mutual friend who brought me to his Recording facility to record my demo. We began seeing each other 4 years later and only started working together 4 years ago
YV: What makes a good relationships?
Lira: Two people who seek to bring out the best in one another and encourage individuality and learn to work as a team. Love is about giving. You have to have a great sense of self in order to give of your love. There needs to be great communication, transparency and trust… But these are all offshoots of LOVE – which is the basis.
< YV: What music do you have on your playlist?
Lira: Amy Winehouse Adele, Jill Scott, Giles Peterson, Stevie Wonder, Thandiswa Mazwai, Siphokazi, Zamajobe Sithole, Liz Wright, Bruno Mars, Zakes Bantwini, Black Coffee… And and and..
YV: Are you reading anything at the moment?
Lira: Gosh, I have not found a book that I could sink into this year… Although I recevied a few books as gifts.
YV: Isn’t it hard to stay in shape? how do you manage that?
Lira: It’s very hard to have the discipline to work out regularly. I’m just fortunate that I have good genes and I don’t have a weight problem, however I do support my lifestyle with a good diet. I eat consciously and I take supplements.
YV: What are you driving at the moment?
Lira: I drive an Audi A5 cabriolet.
YV: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Lira: I have had so many that it’s hard to find one… From performing at the World Cup opening concert, to having a courtyard at Maponya Mall named after me.
YV: What new projects do you have on the horizon? Tell us about your current work.
Lira: I’m on my national Captured tour which started on September 30th; we’ve had two sold out shows in Carnival city and Port Elizabeth so far. I’ll be moving to Durban on the 22nd, Cape Town on the 26th, recording my DVD at the Super Bowl on the 29th and finally ending off in Bloemfontein on November 6th. Tickets are available at Computicket, fans can expect 2 hours of electrifying entertainment, fun and good music.
YV: The Youth today complain about their inability to progress with their lives or to access this or that what advice would you like to give them?
The biggest problem we have is that Youth is empathetic. We will need to find ways of making something of our lives… We will literally have to carve a new path where there has been none. A way will always exist for those who will keep pushing and fighting their way forward. It’s not going to be easy but we need to stop complaining and start creating some solutions for ourselves. The biggest change will come from our attitude!
YV: What qualities do you feel one needs to be successful?
Lira: You need to have a strong willingness to succeed that over powers your fear of failure. You need to have a reason to go for it that is bigger than you. You need to have a Vision and a dream so big that it will take everything in you to fulfil. You will have to believe it with all your heart, mind and through your actions that it will happen… And then of course keep going until you get there!
YV: Who and what inspires you?
Lira: I am inspired by being South African, as well as South African people!