Following in the footsteps of Sade, Lira blends R&B, Jazz and African styles all in one.
Platinum-selling South African singer/model/actress Lira has already conquered South Africa and much of Europe with her irresistible blend of R&B, Jazz and African styles. Like Sade before her, she is now set to conquer America with the release of her debut U.S. single "Feel Good" and her debut U.S. album release Rise Again, due out April 29 2014 on Shanachie Entertainment. The album’s first single, "Feel Good," is a slinky, jazzy re-mix of one of her major South African hits, a perfect showcase for Lira's soulful, melodious singing style. That unique style led Essence Magazine to name her as one of "Five Unique Artists To Change Music in 2012." With her debut U.S. release and a US tour in the works, Lira is clearly poised for a major stateside breakthrough. Born in the midst of Apartheid, the stunning artist shares, “Music changed my world forever it was the companion and silent warrior that spoke for us when we were not able to.”
"Lira has all the ingredients to be a star in the U.S.," says Shanachie General Manager Randall Grass. "She has a unique sound, a wonderful voice, model-quality looks and is already a popular artist, not only in Africa but in much of Europe as well, with a wide-ranging appeal to Jazz, R & B, World music and Pop audiences."
Rise Again is the perfect introduction to the full-spectrum of Lira’s artistry. Songs such as “With My Eyes” and “Typical” highlight her sultry vocal tone on songs that deal with the subtleties of romantic relationships. “Rise Again,” “Feel Good” and “Believer” are all upbeat, inspirational, feel good anthems that exemplify Lira’s ability to touch people of all different backgrounds. She incorporates reggae into “Valley Of Darkness” and “Call Me,” a natural move since reggae continues to be a vibrant presence on the contemporary African music scene. “Ixesha,” “Hamba” and “Phakade” are all African-language songs that bring South African musical textures to the fore.
“You know there's something very special about knowing who you are and knowing how you came to be,” Lira said in an interview with NPR’s “Tell Me More.” “There's, for me, just something really precious about that and I understand the problem. The thing that we suffered with as our generation is that we are trying to integrate into the world, you know, so we feel like there's no space for our heritage and that's just an incorrect perception. So by artists like myself, who still preserve the language, we bring a sense of coolness to it. So it's just important, but I mean that's the struggle that the elders are finding is that children just want to be part of the global community and they can't see where it all fits in. So that's why I feel like with our generation it's our responsibility to preserve it.” All of the songs on Rise Again are written or co-written by Lira, except the deeply moving “Something Inside So Strong,” written by Labi Siffre. Lira performed the song for Nelson Mandela at his 90th birthday celebration.
Lira was born in Ekurhuleni, East of Johannesburg, South Africa. Having grown up listening to Stevie Wonder, Miriam Makeba, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone, she began writing songs and performing at age 16. In 2000 she was discovered by, the musician producer Arthur Mafokate, who signed her to his label, releasing her debut album All My Love in 2003. The title track surpassed Beyonce's "Dangerously In Love" on a chart-topping run. She was then signed to Sony Music in South Africa and saw her debut Sony album win awards at the South African Music Awards (SAMA), the South African equivalent of the Grammy awards. In summer of 2010 she joined such artists as Alicia Keys, Shakira, K'Naan and John Legend as featured performer in the FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Concert. That year she also made her cinematic debut as the support lead in the Italian feature film Consul. The Star newspaper in South Africa declared her the foremost Adult Contemporary solo artist in South Africa. The release of her high-end concert DVD, Live In Concert: A Celebration, was certified Triple-Platinum and knocked Celine Dion's Live In Las Vegas out of the #1 spot on the video sales chart. Her first two Sony albums were likewise certified Platinum. Lira has appeared on the cover of more than twenty magazines around the world and has the largest online social media network of any female African musician, with over 900,000 followers. She has also received a BET Awards nomination as "Best International Artist" in 2012. With the release of Rise Again, American audiences will at last experience the magic Lira has brought to audiences in Africa and Europe.
Vicky “Mavikaro” Mngomezulu (Keyboards) is the longest standing member of the band, having performed with Lira for 13 years and has co-composed the majority of Lira's songs. He grew up in Daveyton just like Lira east of Johannesburg and has had the least exposure to new things which gives him a very unique worldview. He does not like to go out and prefers to stay in his hotel room skyping his mother or girlfriend unless the rest of the band drags him out.
Earl "Breezy" Baartman (Bass Player) the youngest member of the band and hails from Port Elizabeth. He joined the band in 2011 after his father passed away and was swept straight into a world tour. He shares Joshua’s shoe fetish and loves to show his style through unique hair cuts. He is a budding producer and has a great talent for live show production. He is a prankster who loves to pose for pics, takes selfies and post behind the scenes footage to social media. He is also into soccer & cricket.
Kenton Lee Windvogel (Guitarist) He is responsible and ambitious which feeds into his love of self-improvement programmes. He is a producer and has been nominated for a South African Music Award with his band Soul Stone. Hailing from Durban, he spends a lot of time making music as well as spending time in music shops or online researching new ways of making music. He also has a fun side which is evident in the regular pranks he likes to play on waiters and service staff. He enjoys a good laugh and LOVES water - taking every opportunity for a swim.
Joshua "JStar" Zacheus (Drummer, Vocalist) has been performing with Lira for 12 years and was born and raised in Eldorado Park, south of Johannesburg. He is an incredible performer and he is passionate about drumming. He considers himself a superstar and would like to collaborate with and produce for artists from all over the world. He is obsessed with sneakers and the first thing he does on arriving at a new place is check out the sneaker shops.
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