“By her own admission, she was a shy little girl from Daveyton, who lacked confidence until she discovered her life’s purpose was to use her voice to spread love and connect people.”
Elegant, soulful, radiant, creative, and passionate are a few words that describe the South African Songstress named LIRA, who happens to also be a Naturalista. Widely regarded as one of South Africa’s top adult contemporary artists, LIRA has racked up numerous nominations and awards – from South African Music Awards, MTV Africa Awards, BET Awards, Channel O Awards, MOBO Awards – and was named Glamour Magazine South Africa’s “Woman of the Year”. Recently, LIRA released Rise Again, an album that gives her American fans their first opportunity to find out what LIRA is all about. Rise Again reflects LIRA’s sophisticated genre described as “a fusion of soul music, elements of jazz, funk, and African languages.” “Feel Good,” “Believer,” “Ixesha” and “Phakade” are songs on Rise Again that fulfills LIRA’s goal of making music that’s “beautiful, uplifting, empowering and celebratory.”
LIRA grew up in the Daveyton township in Johannesburg’s East Rand. Her formative years were shaped by the harsh and brutal realities of South Africa’s oppressive cultural, economic, and racial apartheid. The South African government’s former totalitarian system may have placed physical limitations on LIRA but they didn’t limit her creative abilities, her dreams, and her aspirations. Lira said, “In South Africa, we became very integrated with not only other black cultures, but people of all backgrounds.This made us thirsty to integrate into the world. My generation was the first to break free of our mental limitations and physical boundaries and set ourselves free in a true sense. It celebrates the human spirit, which can never be caged completely. A person can put you in a cage and hurt you, but they can’t touch your spirit and your mind. It’s celebrating those freedoms.”
“We’re proud of being African, but there’s also a desire to be a part of the world. Part of the way we can raise the consciousness back home is when people see us rise on the world stage. We don’t do it for the individual, we do it for the entire group.”
Music was LIRA’s companion and silent warrior, speaking to and for her when she had no voice. LIRA’s goal is to uplift, empower, energize, and inspire her fans in the same way some of her favorite artists such as Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Miriam Makeba, Sade, Maxwell, and Lizz Wright did for her. This summer, LIRA completed her first major American tour to promote Rise Again. After performing on stage, LIRA made time to greet her American fans and autograph their Rise Again CD covers. If you didn’t get a chance to see LIRA in person, you will just have to settle for buying her album and patiently waiting until she returns to the United States.