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Since Lady Z left Rush six years ago, this determined young singer has been trying to make it in the US.
About a year ago she hooked up with members of Kool and the Gang, a successful group who have been together since 1969.
They have subsequently added discovering talent and developing artists to their resumé. And they have big plans for Lady Z. The first thing they told her was to lose the stage name and return to her real name, Nizreen.
Her team consists of a company called CMCA, which is the promoter and former manager of people like Larry Holmes, Conimac and Kool member Clifford Adams jr.
Speaking from his office in New Jersey, Adams began the story: “We connected with Nizreen through Conimac, who is my business partner. When I saw her I thought, ‘wow, this lady has talent’. We sent her a song we wrote for our new album, Kool for the Holidays. She wrote the lyrics and sang them. The album is being released worldwide on November 6.”
The track is called Rejoice – Christmas Is Here and Nizreen is the only artist from South Africa to sing on the album. There is also a South African violinist, Ilse Van Wyk, who features on two tracks. The third South African connection is that the album is released through Dave Matthews’s label.
Another part of her team is also a Kool member, George Brown. His company, Astana Entertainment, supplies songwriters, producers and beats for artists like Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and Christina Aguilera.
“Nizreen has a wonderful voice and personality,” said Brown.
“I think the song fits with the album beautifully. She did a fabulous job. Billboard feel this album is a classic, which means Nizreen is on a classic album.”
Adams agreed: “She is a complete artist. She sings well. She is very attractive. She can write songs very quickly. She has a great stage presence. Those are all good talents to have. Her music is eclectic because she listens to African and American music. There are a blend of influences which becomes her style. She spent years honing that talent. We are looking at recording her album and trying to get her out there as a solo artist. The collaboration with us came at a good time.”
That these legends of the music scene believe in her is quite clear. Conimac was just as enthusiastic: “She has talent that is rare. You see it in people like Michael Jackson and Beyonce. She has the gift of writing music. Hers is a young star waiting to happen. When it comes to the direction of her career, it depends on Nizreen and what Nizreen wants to do,” he continued.
“To be recognised by Kool and the Gang is a major coup. We want to do a solo album and put Nizreen on the world stage. She lets her career unfold naturally. She is not operating on fuel put there by other people. She is doing it the right way.”
Brown also confirmed that they were putting together producers for her album: “She is definitely an artist ready for the world.”
Nizreen has decided to divide her time between South Africa and the US and is naturally positive about the latest developments.
Chatting to her in Melville, it is clear she has the potential to be a star and is hungry enough to go after it.
“After Rush ended I put together a package and sent it to Water Music who are aligned to Stargate, the biggest pop producing company in the world. They flew me to America and paid for everything.
“Unfortunately, I had a falling out with them and was then introduced to EMI USA. I worked with Ron Lawrence who produces for Mary J Blige and P Diddy.
“But it was the time when EMI were being taken over by Universal, so nothing much was happening.
“There have been a lot of downers, but I have never given up. People have asked me: ‘Why not make it big in South Africa?’ but I have never given up on my dream that I have had for 20 years. It’s not arrogance. I just believe in myself.
“I finally have a strong team behind me. I am at the stage where I am ready. I think I am good enough even for myself. I am prepared for anything. I am doing this for myself because I come from Eldorado Park where I used to wonder if I could go to the US and sing. I want to get to that point where I am famous and inspirational.”
Nizreen has a music video on rotation on Channel O. It’s called Can’t Sing My Song and is about the betrayals in her life.
“It’s not a No 1 track. I just wanted something to put out there. I did the song and the video.”
Her previous work included two tracks on DJ Vetkuk vs Mahoota’s platinum-selling album, Dinaledi. She also features on Lulo Café’s Africa Sessions on a house track called Poison.
The young singer leaves for the US in a few weeks to carry on her work with Kool and the Gang and her management and production team.
“I will be doing pop and R&B. They say my voice can carry R&B. I can feel it’s about to happen every day. It is written in the Qu’ran that no one, not even angels, can see the future. But I think I have enough faith to make it. Faith carries you. I am okay. I am better than okay.”