In 2012, I created a series about artists and thinkers from the African Diaspora about living in two worlds and the ways that experience influenced their art.
Interviewees included actress and playwright Danai Gurira, singer and songwriter Wunmi, singer Bibi Tanga and Lira. You can listen to her interview here.
“South African songstress Lira is one international superstar that you probably haven’t heard of — but should have.
She sang at the 2010 World Cup Kickoff Concert and has shared the stage with some of the world’s biggest acts, including Alicia Keys, John Legend, and Hugh Masekela. She’s performed for Nelson Mandela. On top of this, she has four albums that have gone platinum, is considered to be an international fashion muse, and it seems that she’s a bit of a South African Sweetheart too — in 2008, Glamour Magazine South Africa named her “Woman Of The Year.”
Now we have a chance to find out what we’ve been missing, Lira, who was nominated for a 2012 BET Award has just dropped her latest U.S. album called “Rise Again.” It features some of her biggest international hits.
I talked to Lira in Los Angeles — just a few days after the BET Awards. She opened up about her music and surprised me with a few insights on her deliberate choice to tell a different African story, growing up in apartheid South Africa and her relationship with the Diaspora community.
This conversation will air in two parts. The first (below) features snippets of three of her hits (“Feel Good,” “Rise Again,” and “Ixesha”), of which feature on her latest U.S. album.
Tune into next weeks show to hear Lira talk about why she left a flourishing and secure career as an accountant to avoid what she says looked like “a slow walk to death.”
You can check out the whole series HERE.