Skill, talent and humility to boot

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TO Lloyd Cele 0922 (26644291)

Lloyd Cele releases his latest offering, No Limits, this week. With first single Hero already climbing the adult contemporary pop charts, he tells Therese Owen that he also plans to conquer the Kaya FM and Metro FM airwaves.

When Lloyd Cele walks into Wish in Melville on a freezing cold winter’s day he comes armed with a guitar. “I thought it would be nice to play you some songs,” smiles the tall singer.

He is also excited about his new album which he has just picked up from the dealer. “I have called this album No Limits because I am doing a lot of things people are too scared to do. This is also a versatile album. There is R&B tracks, ballads as well as a lot of dance.”

There are also collaborations with some of the country’s top artists including AKA, Fresh, Euphonik and Slikour as well as the Nigerian Sasha P and the Jacaranda Youth Choir.

He plays the opening track, Hero. It is very MOR with a catchy pop chorus. The track was written and produced by Curtis Richards, an American multi-platinum producer who has worked with artists like Rihanna, Craig Davids and J-Lo.

“He is amazing, amazing. Curtis gets involved with your life.

“We also shot the music video in Pennsylvania in the snow. It was freezing cold and I had to dance in the snow. But I came back with a cool hit song and a music video. It was an incredible journey.”

He also co-wrote a track called Feel the Love with Curtis. The track has a very international feel and with uplifting, positive lyrics.

Things begin to get way interesting further into the album when he shows an Afro pop side to his music. His voice takes on a different, more passionate tone when he sings in his mother tongue of Zulu.

“I approached Afro pop in a different way. I didn’t want to sound like Malaika or Theo Kgosinkwe although I do respect them. Pop can’t be restricted by strict categorisation. I have established myself in the white market and there is a perception that ‘Lloyd only makes white music’, but they don’t really know me.”

Kaya and Metro FM have picked up on Ngiyakhumbula which truly is a great song and which could quite possibly turn into a classic.

But he brings it right back to commercial, trancey dance on the track Mzansi to Miami featuring FeU2 and Slikour.

He keeps the dance theme on the collaboration with AKA called Right Now. “From a talent point of view AKA is the best. I was also attracted to the international style he has. I want my music to have that international style.”

After coming through the various and varied tracks on the album, he takes out his guitar.

The waitress turns the music down and we are treated to an informal, intimate performance by this unassuming man.

I am blown away by the sheer talent that he shows, just him and his guitar. He is larger than life and oh so very powerful as a performer.

When he performs Thank You (Letter to Fans) there is not one person in the restaurant who does not have goosebumps.

“This song I wrote for my fans because I have achieved so much in the last year, including winning Best Pop at this year’s MTN Samas. This is mostly due to my fans.”

The video to accompany the song is just strings, piano and his voice, focusing on the music. No wonder Loyiso Bala chose to work with him. Their performance at the Samas was definitely a highlight of the event.

The man is intelligent and that sweet lisp just adds to the all-encompassing experience that is Lloyd Cele.

His hits from his first album included Thanks To You, Make It Easy and the dance-inspired track My Air which was one of the biggest songs. The next big hit was the Zulu ballad Thando featuring Loyiso.

He is one of the rare and talented finds coughed up by that vile reality television show, Idols. And with only two years in the industry, he has a long career ahead of him.

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