Lira (Singer) Biography
Lira as she is professionally known, is a singer from South Africa. She is a multi-platinum selling and an 11-times South African Music Award-winning Afro-Soul vocalist, who refers to her music as “a fusion of soul, funk, elements of jazz and African.”
She began writing songs and performing at the age of 16 years. She was discovered and signed to 999 in the year 2000. Her debut album, ‘All My Love’ was released in 2003.
In 2006, she was signed to Sony Music and released three albums, Feel Good, Soul in Mind and Return. In 2010, she performed at the FIFA World Cup Kick Off concert along other international artists. The same year she released the first live DVD, Live in Concert. The DVD was certified 4* platinum and replaced Celine Dions’s ‘Live in Las Vegas’as number 1 on the DVD sales charts.
She then went on to make her cinematic debut that year as the support lead in the Italian/ South African co-produced feature film, The Italian Consul. In 2012 she was named one of the Five unique artists to Change Music by Essence Magazine.
She has produced a documentary series ‘Lira , Dream Chaser’ which details the release and touring of her Rise Again album in North America.
She was born on 14th March, 1979 in Daveyton, on Johannesburg’s East Rand, South Africa. She is 39 years old as of 2018.
Lira Family | Lira Parents
The musician was born Lerato Moipone Molapo to Buyi Radebe Lichaba and Khanyapa Molapo. Her name translates to “love” in Sesotho and she speaks four languages. She has seven siblings.
Lira Husband | Lira Singer Husband | Lira Wedding
She is married to Robin Kohl since 2009. Robin is her manager and the couple often travel together for her shows, and work commitments. They began dating in march 2004 and wed on September 9, 2009 in Mauritius. The wedding is said to have been attended by 15 immediate family members.
In a 2016 interview, the musician said that as a couple, they are not ready to have children. She attributed that to their busy lifestyle that is not ideal for children at the moment. Lira added that she is content with her current situation, and doesn’t feel there is anything missing in her relationship at the moment
“We’re enjoying each other, we’re enjoying our marriage, our relationship and just the freedom of our existence is fun.”
She was choosen as Johnnie Walkers campaign ambassador- The Joywalker for Southern Africa. She is the first South African influencer to collaborate with the Cosmetic house in a campaign titled ‘Bobbi*LIRA’.
Lira Born Free
This is the songtress’s sixth studio LP. It is a statement of purpose wrapped in a soulful, but sparse mix of vocal overdubs and finger snaps. Hear her roar as she spreads a message of empowerment and affirmation and explores whatever sonic landscape she chooses, blending buoyant Afropop and house music moves (“Be About It”), while embracing an aural Afrofuturism with glittering polyrhythms (“Sekunjalo”).
Release date: 8 April 2016
Label: Otarel Music
- Be About It
- Brave Heart
- Born Free
- Let There Be Light
- What You Love
- Rhythm of Your Heart
- Let Go Sometimes
- Joy Inside My Tears
- I Like You
- Return To Me
- Tell Me What It Means
- Feel Good (Sony/BMG Africa, 2006)
- Soul in Mind (Sony/BMG Africa, 2008)
- Lira Live in Concert: A Celebration (Sony/BMG Africa, 2009)
- Return to Love (Sony/BMG Africa, 2011)
- The LIRA EP (9 August 2011)
- Rise Again (Shanachie Records, 2014)
- Born Free (Otarel Music, 2016)
Lira Songs | Lira Music
- Wa Mpaleha
- Soul in mind
- With my eyes
- As Mascaras
- Eduze Kwami
- Be About It
- Rhythm of your heart
- Dance of life
- Valley of Darkness
- Rise Again
- All my love
- Feel Good
- U and I
- Tell me what it means
- Let go sometimes
- Stay in my company
- Call Me
- What you love
- Joy inside my tears
- Brave Heart
Lira Feel Good
Lira Rise Again
Lira Soul In Mind
Lira Net Worth
In 2015, she was listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the richest female singers in Africa with a net worth in excess of $35 Million. She is currently a member of the coaching panel of The Voice South Africa.
South African songbird talks about her push for African excellence!
Published: MARCH 25 2017
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South African singer Lerato Molapo known to the world as Lira is a platinum selling, multi-award winning musician who has had career defining moments like lending her voice to Disney, singing on the same stage with John Legend, Alicia Keys among others and performing for the late Nelson Mandela and former US President Barack Obama. Josephine Mosongo spoke to the star.
You recorded your own version for Disney’s mega hit Moana “How Far I’ll Go”, how did that happen?
Disney approached me because they wanted to do an African version. It was a huge honour because they could have chosen anyone in the continent but they settled on me, it was a big deal.
How did it feel to perform a song written by Lin Manuel Miranda, world renown composer and creator of the Broadway musical Hamilton?
He’s done amazing work, and to think he is a hip hop artiste. It was also exciting that he got nominated for an Oscar. But for me, just the idea of doing a song for Disney and that it would actually end up in the movie was amazing to me.
You got a lot of flowers for your birthday (14th March), you really love flowers?
I love lilies. I actually have an organic garden at home, and the whole garden is medicinal and edible.
What else did you do for your birthday?
I had brunch with my girlfriend and when I got downstairs at the restaurant, I found a little forest of flowers that my husband had organised for me with yellow (my favourite colour) balloons. He also surprised me with dinner with my family. I didn’t think that they would make it because it was in the middle of the week. I love fine dining and we went to a wonderful restaurant where we could have five course meals with paired wines, I love that kind of thing.
Fancy. You also create art?
I do, when I was younger I thought I would be an architect because I’ve always been good at art. But when I went to high school I wasn’t allowed to take art which was very bizarre. They said that the class was full so I ended up taking accounting instead. But I still do it as a hobby.
You have had so many memorable firsts in your career like The Live in Concert: A Celebration, was such a huge moment in your career, what do you remember most about it?
I’m always pushing African excellence. I want to push whatever that was thought impossible for us. At the time, in 2009, there was a camera called the RED digital camera and we used 13 of those. There was no other production in the world that had used those specific many cameras in one production. We even had to import some into the country. The only other production that has used as many or more is the movie The Hobbit.
That must have been very expensive, did your management foot the cost or did you?
I had to put money into it too. The record label said, ‘no, we have never spent that much on one production,’ but I told them I didn’t want a mediocre production. I wanted a world class product reason being I needed to be able to send my product anywhere in the world and know that it could speak for itself. I put my money on the table and told the record label ‘this is how much I’m willing to invest in myself, what are you guys willing to do?’
It is a good thing it paid off then
Now it’s like the norm. Compared to what I paid the first time, artistes are now paying way more. I think we (South Africa) influence the live concert production for African artistes. We set the trend.
Which other memorable moments come to mind?
Performing for Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama was amazing.
According to Forbes Magazine, 2015, you are one of the richest female artistes in Africa worth over $35 million (Sh3.5 billion), how accurate is that?
I think that’s pretty much my worth but it’s not money sitting in the bank (laughs) but I have amassed something that I’m very comfortable with.
What makes you smile?
Life, love, music, flowers and food.
How regularly do you work out?
I don’t enjoy it but with the training system Bodytec, it’s very quick and I’m done within 20 minutes. I work out once or twice a week but it’s very intense. I don’t want to spend an hour in the gym because I feel like I’m wasting my life, but I can dance for five hours. My lifestyle is very active and I eat very well, I don’t abuse my body.
The song “Be About It”, has a deep message and at the same time has a beat that you can really dance to, was that intentional?
I would like to think that all my music is like that, nice to listen to but always has a message. I don’t want to sing nonsense. I love when people react to my music, you know why? Because I want to connect with people, that is my greatest gift. When someone says ‘your song touched me’ that is probably the greatest compliment anyone can give me.
You are a panellist on The Voice South Africa, what makes you want to turn around and make a contestant a part of your team?
What’s interesting about being a coach on the show is you obviously can’t see the person, sometimes when a person sings, you are perceiving their whole energy. When I turn it’s because something really touched me and you get to work with their unique combination of talent.
You’ve been doing music for 13 years, what didn’t the industry teach you?
There’s so much the industry does not teach you. Mindset is everything for me. They don’t make us aware of our state of mind, how people perceive us, how we are on stage or how we are in interviews. As an artiste you tend to open yourself up to being abused by people so you end up abusing alcohol, drugs or being in the wrong relationships because you are constantly looking for validation. I was able to recognise these things earlier on and that’s how I’ve lasted all these years.
Do you sometimes get overwhelmed by the fame?
Not really, because I don’t live in it all the time. It’s occasional, it’s not a permanent life and it’s not real.
Your song “Feel Good” was featured on the TV series Girlfriends, did you ever get to meet any of the cast?
(Laughs) No, I didn’t even leave the country for that.
How do you make sure you own your craft?
Right now I’m under my own record label and the reason for that is I want to develop my career around the world. My Born Free album was released at the same time around the world. I hadn’t done that before and Sony couldn’t give me that. Something like Moana couldn’t have come if I was stuck in another contract. I’ve gone on tour with different bands in Europe because I’m free to do so. My record label is responsible for my whole career.
You have a reality show called Dream Chaser, do you ever get used to the cameras following you?
You never get used to it, sometimes I’m grumpy, other times I’m annoyed or impatient but once you agree to do something you follow through.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I have a few but the biggest is disrespect. I’m respectful of people, their time and work. Disrespectful people irritate me, they annoy me. It’s like when I’m sitting down having dinner with my family and people come up, don’t even greet anyone and try to take a selfie with me. Also the worst thing anyone can do is to treat me in an inhumane way. Hallo, please and thank you are basic things that mean you see me as your equal not like a piece of furniture.
You have several endorsement deals, how do you know which ones to pick and which not to?
Very simple, my values. My business is to be Lira, if it’s something that will enhance my journey I will come on board. For instance I was the brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker, the campaign was ‘Walk with joy’ and that is completely how I live. The calibre of products is also a factor. I don’t want to change to fit with the brand. I’m a brand ambassador for Bobbi Brown cosmetics because I’m a woman, I love make up and we have the same values.