Feel Good With Lira

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How did you manage to rebrand yourself after leaving the 999 music stable?

It was relatively easy. When I was at 999 I felt I wasn’t allowed to be me and do what I wanted to do in the music industry. I was constantly being dictated to and told there wasn’t a market for what I was trying to do. When I left I met up with people who shared my vision, and I was now able to pursue my dream and package it the way I wanted.

What was the worst thing about being at 999?

We were always on the verge of poverty. I wasn’t in an environment where I could grow as an individual. When a client booked me, the whole stable would go along and the money would be split. I wasn’t being respected as an artist.

Is there beef between you and Arthur Mafokate (999 music boss)?

I don’t make enemies, so when I bump into him we chat and talk about things in general.

Your album, Feel Good, is successful; how do you feel about that?

I call it a “loaded experience” because I never expected it to be this good. I’ve got fans from the ages of five to 65. Reaching so many people is satisfying.

You’re very careful about how you’re perceived.

I have an understanding of myself as a brand; I manage both the onstage and offstage Lira. My image is clean because I want to show girls, like my 12-year-old sister, that it’s possible to remain respectable within this industry.

Who do you look up to in the music industry?

I want to be where Yvonne Chaka Chaka is. I was overjoyed when I got to sing with her recently. She told me that she approves of me and that she was proud of what I do and how I’ve positioned myself. I wouldn’t have gotten that had I not left the 999 stable.

Your most bizarre performance yet?

I was once invited to perform at a school for the deaf. They couldn’t hear anything, and I don’t dance, so there was nothing in it for them. With millions of deaf people in SA, I now want to create an audio-visual experience that’ll include them as well.

When are you planning on releasing a follow-up album?

I had my heart set on September this year, but I think I need to have a break! Feel Good is still getting amazing coverage, so it feels like it’s too soon to put another one in the mix.

Any regrets?

I wish late kwaito singer Zombo had reached out to me in his time of need. I feel I could have done something to help. We had a good relationship, but we lost contact when he got sick.

Reader Question

Why did you decide to go for a white guy?

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