An Interview With Lira

August 3, 2011 by  

Just Curious readers have no issues with expressing their true feelings. A search for Afro-soul singer Lira on the JC site will get you an abundance of colorful commentary. Someone wrote “Lira yena she is not gifted as a singer” Ouch! Lira’s response to the detractors It’s perfectly fine. I know that will exist. We all have different tastes. And to that I say: clearly I’m not talking to you then and its ok.”

To be honest, I‘d listened to a few of her songs here and there but never an entire album. Could she really be as bad as some of the negative comments made it seem?

With her album “Feel Good” set for a US release in early 2012, it seems Lira; born Lerato Molapo is on a mission to take over the world. Signed to the same talent management firm as the Black Eyed Peas, her 5 track EP (a short album) was released in the US on July 26th. Notwithstanding the faulty sound issues and talkative crowd, sista girl brought the house down with her rousing vocals during the New York City show. She can SANG!

During our interview the “Hamba” singer was unapologetically forthcoming and vulnerable- at one point even becoming emotional, her eyes filling up with tears during a particularly taboo subject.

Lira’s fans in South Africa hold a special place in heart. However, the title of her biggest fan belongs to her husband, producer and business partner Robin Kohl. On the difficulty of working together she says “I find it’s a healthy balance. Very often when we are in a work environment, we are very professional but we will steal moments to be lovers. I don’t see how I could have my career and have a relationship if I didn’t work with my husband. I’m never home. He’s my biggest fan and it’s special. I’m very blessed to have found someone like that”

In the January issue of True Love Magazine the multi-platinum selling singer stated her intention of an international takeover. She emphatically tells me It’s always something that I’ve always wanted to do; it just took this long to be ready, to be mentally in the right space”. As confident as the songstress maybe she readily admits that her nerves may have gotten best of her on the inaugural night during Philadelphia stop. “I just came from a European tour that had thousands of people. I was coming into a small venue and I’m mentally ready for all of this but I was nervous. I wouldn’t say I was in my element but I grew into it.”

Acknowledging the risk she was taking with starting a new chapter she confesses experiencing a brief stint with self-doubt. “In my head I was like I am starting something here. I have tasted success back home and here I almost feel vulnerable. I’m starting from scratch here. What if they don’t like what I do? There are a lot of things that go around here. People tell you you’ve got to look a certain way, sound a certain way. I’m just me, I’m not selling American culture, I don’t know American culture. I’m just selling music”.

As a Zimbabwean, I had to get Lira’s view on the often-contentious battle between Zimbabweans and South Africans. I have never understood xenophobia and I was hoping she would help shed light on the touchy subject. Her eyes brimming with tears she answered, “It was one of the most heartbreaking things to have to see black people turn on black people”

As she speaks her tears don’t appeared forced, this issue seems to have genuinely affected her. I pause the recorder for a second and allow her to continue with her thoughts. “Our biggest enemy before then was white people. And we’ve had to forget about all these things and create peace amongst the people. Now suddenly we could that to our own. It was unbelievable, people were burned. My issue with South Africans is we are very apathetic; we resent people for doing their best to survive. I was hoping that people would understand that the people that perpetuated this were on a very base level, these are people on a grassroots level that had their own struggle. No sane person would react that way”

It wasn’t all serious talk with Lira, I asked her to reveal little known facts about herself and she says she is a “quite ghetto” I love that! Fabulously ghetto she calls it. And did you know that when she is on the road she listens to Professor’s album on her IPOD? Displaying her take-charge nature she recounts the story of how she gave an impromptu performance at the David Tlale show at the JHB fashion week in February. Astounded by the tardiness of the designer she remembers thinking “We came here yesterday. It’s like the day after and we are still sitting here. People were getting edgy and complaining. We needed to do something to entertain not only ourselves but the crowd as well” She recalls how she took the mic and asked the DJ to play a song- any song and used the moment to have a little bit of fun.

Here is my take on Lira:

Radiant, talented and beautiful she is the real deal. Her spirit is what really captivates you. Did you know that she helped her gardener recently build a 3 bedroom house? As if that weren’t amazing enough, she is taking her 2 maids children to private schools. How can you not admire that? As testament to her success, after appearing in the flick Italian Consul, Lira has been inundated with scripts even turning down 3 movies because the roles were “too similar.” Sure, things are great for the singer, actor and writer but she has had her fair share of ups and downs.

Regardless of whether or not you dig her music, you can’t deny her voice. If international stars like Shakira, Susan Boyle and Dave Matthews can have global success then why not Lira? In my opinion Lira will pick up where Miriam Makeba left off, rejuvenating interest in African music in the US and around the world.

By Makho Ndlovu ©

New York Correspondent

Twitter @MakhoNdlovu

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38 Comments on "An Interview With Lira"

  1. RexonaABC on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 1:09 am 

    #team Lira# you go girl and stay blessed.

  2. Sgoloza on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 1:35 am 

    I thought this was supposed to be an INTERVIEW with Lira and not Makho’s opinion on Lira. Re-phrase. English iyasi faila bangani. Extracting 3 quotes from things she said elsewhere is now deemed an interview? *scratches head*

  3. Lebsicles on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 1:50 am 

    Oh Morena I love Lira sooo much guys. I listen to her music when I’m sad,happy, missing someone, in need of a pick me up all the time nje. Ke rata all my love, feel good,hamba,makhubenjalo,with my eyes,sthandwa sam,phakade and mali. I’ve never been disappointed by her. As much as we are all entitled to our opinions the person who said Lira isn’t gifted must be crazy. I love that she’s stayed humbled through out her journey. I wonder when she’s coming back and performing I’d love to watch her perform more so becuase I missed her performance at Carnival city awhile back which is 10min away from my house :( okay maybe I should go sleep I’m blabbing now. God bless her soul and voice. Can’t wait for Anything Goes love the comments I see you guys are the best and make my day.

  4. Lebsicles on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 1:52 am 

    Love to watch her perform? Really though *hides* that doesn’t sound right

  5. coolcaz on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 3:11 am 

    Noma ba zo thini na. Ngiyamthanda uLira bethuna and for nna ke shapo ka ene tuu. O opela monate. Her DVD always makes my day. When I know am gonna have a bad day at work I will always listen to Believer and My soul is alright with me and wallla am prepared. I escape from whatever fear I have at that moment and feeling good.
    I love you Lira and God bless you

  6. J-Girl on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 3:17 am 

    1 word-SUCCESS!

  7. Jahara on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 3:36 am 


    Im lost for words.
    What i feel for her & her music is beyond love,i dont even know how to explain the feeling.

    I wish u all the best @Lira for your international pursuits. May God continue to strengthen u & bless u in abundance.


  8. MissT@T on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 4:49 am 

    I love Lira thata… I hv al hr albums bt feel good nd soul in mind r just my fav-cnt pick btwn d 2! Return 2 love is stil growng on me!
    Ive bin 2 al hr shows in pta ,sham she brings the house down 4sure! I love love Lira

  9. CarrieBradshaw on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 6:29 am 

    Oh,I’m such a Lira Stan(fan)! <3 <3 <3

    Its that "radiant" spirit that draws all those blessings to her!

    Lurv her!!

  10. lorrelai on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 6:37 am 

    Ok, this is not a typical Q & A, wath’u Lira wath’u Makho typa interview but I love it anyway.

    I’m following Lira on twitter and it seems like she’s living her dreams, and I love that she’s not arrogant about it.
    I’d love to be gaga over her though, I don’t why but I’m just not. To me, she’s my own version of Jill Scott. I love her music, I love seeing her on tv, but I have just not had that “go-get-her-album” typa feeling, like I had with Zonke, Siphkazi, Lebo, TK etc.

  11. TheSushiQueen on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 7:40 am 

    Go Lira! Do your thing girl.. :-)

    Somehow I feel that Zamajobe should have been the one who’s doing this cause Lira started making very similar music to Zama’s first album. However, its clear that Lira has what it takes, that’s why she is where she is..

    I read a story about Lira in an American blog, and I def think she’s going to make it.. They thought she was absolutely beautiful..

    Now if only Chomee would leave 999 – we could see great things from her too maybe. #not that she’s on the same level as Lira lol!

  12. Mapakisha on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 8:25 am 

    I love Lira ka pelo yame yotlhe. Back when she was @ 999 I honestly couldn’t stand her & now I look back & wonder how I could’ve missed the TALENT. Sometimes I’m even jealous of her, I mean I think she has it all – a beautiful voice, hot body, a white husband*chuckles*, fans & stans.
    Now because I’m older than my peers, i’m one of very few in my social circle that listens to her music:(. They don’t get her, ga ke itse why.

  13. Tinky-winky on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 8:27 am 

    Lira is a good singer shem who ever thinks other wise must just sit their ass down or better yet go play in traffic. #team Lira

  14. xaluvats on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 9:23 am 

    @RexonaABC. The article was not in a Q&A format, yes! But this is an intervieW if you understand the concept of an interview you will get that…

  15. KevCare on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 9:32 am 

    “New York Correspondent” CHESAAAA JustCurious’e maaan :-P

  16. twiggs on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 9:34 am 

    I don’t understand who’s Zimbabwean, Lira or the writer?

  17. Cinnabon on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 9:41 am 

    I Love Love Lira…such an Inspiration…Blessings to her.

  18. RexonaABC on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 9:42 am 

    @xaluvats !!!!!!!!@RexonaABC. The article was not in a Q&A format, yes! But this is an intervieW if you understand the concept of an interview you will get that

    Tjo! I just said I like Lira, I did not say anything about the article.

  19. Botshelo on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 9:46 am 

    Dear Lira

    If you happen to read this blog, this is what I want you to know
    I appreciate you and your talent is amazing. The way your songs are written and presented is WOW!
    you are such a lady, never raising voice to unnecessary “barking dogs”
    I love how you never diss your time in 999 when most of the people make mention of your time spent there forgetting that there is a thing called learning curve.

    Ive read a number of interviews on different media and you come across as an intelligent woman who has a plan for her life.

    I wish you well and may God bless you.

    Please work hard on marketing your latest album. It is good but I somehow feel that it is not getting as much publicity as the previous ones that you did.


  20. Sarafina on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 9:47 am 


  21. Ndalenhle on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 10:08 am 

    Love Lira and her music, she’s also a very good performer her DVD says its all about this lady. She exudes elegance, and probably one of the most established artist out there.

  22. MakhoN on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 11:47 am 

    Thanks for the comments All! Just to clarify a quesstion above, I am Zimbabwean not Lira.

  23. BeeDaStinger on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 12:09 pm 

    Killer curves on Makho… iWink!!!

  24. twiggs on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 12:58 pm 

    I find it so interesting for you as a Zimbabwean to ask Lira such a question. I thought the interview was about Lira not Zimbabwe anyway…

  25. Bongani on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 1:54 pm 


    *i’m FINISHED*

  26. Makgotso on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 4:12 pm 

    I love Lira and her music I don’t but circular music but I bought Lira’s DVD and I don’t regret buying it now that somebody scratched it I have to get another one.

  27. tshisa on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 6:17 pm 

    Wow! Im such a big fan…lengoma yakhe ithi “Soul in my mind” is my favourite :)

  28. Nalizo on Wed, 3rd Aug 2011 6:34 pm 

    Wow such humility and grace,I respect this lady.
    All the Best to her.

  29. Naomi on Thu, 4th Aug 2011 8:38 am 

    Lira’s success- a great story about second chances!

    Congrats lady!!!

  30. Dark8lord on Thu, 4th Aug 2011 12:00 pm 

    Hopefully there’s a part 2. I’m kinda underwhelmed

  31. Biggie on Thu, 4th Aug 2011 3:27 pm 

    Some people always search for negative things yazi mxiiiiiiiim. l love Lira, she is so humble and a good singer. Thank you Makho.

  32. Biskiti on Thu, 4th Aug 2011 4:31 pm 

    Kwaaa Dark8…lol.

    Guys i won’t lie, Lira’s songs are lovable (like your normal sing alongs) mara her vocal abilities borders on being dorge. Yes Lira is a beautiful person and that radiates through her smile, mara there’s nothing out of the ordinary about her voice and singing, she’s a safe musician. Obviously that doesn’t mean she’s not successful…

  33. chetbkr247 on Thu, 4th Aug 2011 10:19 pm 

    the intro made me think you were a hater. just weird to lead off with such negativity – especially when discussing an artist who’s message is so positive. just trying to offer up some constructive crit – if I hadn’t somehow read further, I would never have wanted to hear her music. doubt that was the intent. think it’s very cool that she’s branching out to America.

  34. MakhoN on Fri, 5th Aug 2011 1:42 am 

    @chetbkr I am actually far from being a hater. I have the outmost respect and love for Lira as an artist and a human being. The intro was written to pull you in and it certainly did just that. Truth is I appreciate constructive criticism so no love lost if you aren’t feeling the article. I am just glad you read it!
    @Biggie thanks for support :)

  35. Zest on Fri, 5th Aug 2011 2:25 pm 

    I LUV her big time…

  36. beyonce on Mon, 8th Aug 2011 11:27 am 

    Love her, Inspirational

  37. manny on Tue, 4th Oct 2011 3:15 pm 

    this ousi is good

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