Exclusive Interview with LIRA

Over the past few years – buoyed by multi-platinum sales of her two studio albums and live DVD, a mantlepiece full of awards and support of fans – Lira has made no secret of her desire to find a global audience for her music. The following is an exclusive interview with this fast rising African diva about her life and profession.


AM: You grew up in Africa? How was your childhood?
LIRA: Yes I grew up in in the Daveyton township in Johannesburg’s East Rand section. I’m an only child between my parents. My dad left for the U.S 23 years ago. I was raised by my grandmother until I was 11 years old. I then moved in with my mom and spent my teenage years with her. I grew up in the time of Apartheid. Fear was the order of the day. It was so entrenched in us that it influenced our demeanor. When our country went through the transition into a democratic government, it was peaceful but the legacy still remained as it does today. I did not have much confidence and I only really learned the English language when I was 11. Growing up informed a lot of my perceptions and influences my music today.

AM: In your opinion, what’s the number one issue to deal with in Africa? What’s your take (solution) on it?
LIRA: I’m frustrated by Entitlement, Corruption, lack of vision and good leadership.

AM: Tell us a little about your 2nd live in concert DVD Lira: The Captured Tour.
LIRA: I established a new production company, ARIL Films which shot for over three months leading up to my final concert at the Sun City Superbowl. It was produced By Jazzworx and Directed by Warrick Allen of Mushroom Media, the film was shot with a total of 21 cameras, including the state-of-the-art Red MX and Red Epic cameras, making it the first concert film to be shot with such high quality digital standards. I performed a total of 38 songs including “Feel Good,” “Ixesha,” “Phakade,” “Hamba,” “Believer,” and “Valley of Darkness” as well as paying homage to her musical influences with Labi Siffre’s “Something Inside (So Strong),” Sade’s “Sweetest Taboo” and Miriam Makeba’s “Pata Pata.”

AM: What’s your favorite African winter destination?
LIRA: Probably Lake Malawi. The lake is massive and has some incredible resorts that offer just enough of the natural pleasures of the environment carefully balanced with modern comforts. I especially love the accommodations at Kaya Mawa luxury resort, it feels like you were at a campsite, yet it has enough luxury to make you feel comfortable. I love that I could really feel close to nature there. I enjoy the kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling.

AM: In your own opinion, other than yourself, who are the current influencers in the African Music world?
LIRA: There is an incredible surge of female afro soul artists who are doing incredibly well. For the last 6 years the female afro soul artists have dominated the markets in terms of popularity and album sales. I think Nigeria is where the next African music revolution will take place - D’banj is just doing phenomenal things, it’s so great to see what he’s accomplished and to me he’s the most exciting one right now