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: Your look is stunning. You rock fashion. Tell us how do you pick your style?
LIRA: My style is very embracing of my African self. Nothing reflects who we are as well as our own designs. They are colorful, and vibrant. They also celebrate hand crafted work. Some of my favorite local South African designers include Stone Cherrie for the Urban African feel. Sylvester Falata – their clothes make me feel like an African Goddess. Gert Johan Coetzee is incredibly talented and imaginative. He makes the most elegantly abstract garments and fuses African hints with Euro centric flair. David Tlale is my favorite couture designer. He is world class. Bongiwe Walaza has made African fabrics and designs globally appealing - she marries the Eurocentric approach with classic African fabrics and creates a uniquely South African label.

AM: Hairstyle: some people would think short/natural hair is old style. Tell us about your hair style.
LIRA: I kept my hair relaxed and braided for about 10 years. While I was in College, I made extra cash by running a hair salon from my room at the student village. My own hair had to be on point so I always had it relaxed, styled and sometimes I put highlights on it. I kept a Halle Berry type of boy cut for about 6 years. It got to a point where my skull was lifeless and my hair became like plastic. It became thin and weak. So I kept it hidden by braiding it. I kept this up for another 4 years. In 2006 when I finally decided to reveal my real hair. I started liking my natural hair, I loved the fact that I could just get up and go. I call it the “organized mess.”

AM: Looking at who you’ve become now, how much do you have before you become who you want to be? Or, are you there already?
LIRA: No I’m not there yet. I definitely want to explore the international market, particularly entering the American music scene. That is my ultimate goal.

AM: What will you say to your younger self if you could go back in time?
LIRA: I have made many mistakes and regret none. Everything leads to another and all I seek is to honor the process. Looking back, I see the purpose in all the things that have happened. Although I’m far from where I want to be, I think I’m exactly where I should be and I would not change a thing.

AM: What’s the side of you that the public never sees?
LIRA: I like to keep those type of things to myself. Mystique is good 🙂

AM: What has been the most important day of your life so far?
LIRA: Probably when I had a chance to perform for Nelson Mandela’s 92nd Birthday. It was such an honor. I performed the Labi Siffre’s song “Something Inside” with the Soweto Spiritual Singers.

AM: Relationship: Are you married or involved with anyone?
LIRA: Yes I’m married