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You don’t have to go to Mozambique to know who Lizha James is; if you are familiar with the African music scene you’ll have heard of the pop sensation. She’s been on the scene for a while and has worked with many artists, including Loyiso Bala and Thembi Seete.
In the past few years, the most we’ve seen of James was on Channel O and nothing when it came to her actual music. Noticing the huge demand for her work in South Africa, the singer and dancer packed her bags and moved to Joburg.
“I had been getting a lot of positive remarks from people outside Mozambique, about how they loved my music, but they never really knew where to buy it,” said the striking singer.
Her company, Bang Entertainment, came to an agreement with Universal Music South Africa and this arrangement required James to move here.
But when the language barrier threatened her success here, James found a way around it.
“Most of my music in the past has been in Portuguese because I am fluent in that language. But moving here has had me push a lot more Shangaan and English content as well,” she explained.
This deliberate move is obvious on her latest offering, Feel My Love, which is a 15-track album that was made in conjunction with Universal Music South Africa.
“I have used English before, but just not as much. Back home when I speak in English it will usually be to the young ones and the members of the high class. But to include the masses I also add some Shangaan, which everyone in Mozambique generally understands,” she said.
The same model is now working wonders for her here as Shangaan-speaking communities in South Africa understand what she is saying, and those who don’t can understand the English songs.
You may wonder what it is that James is desperate to get off her chest and share with her fans on Feel My Love.
“Most of the themes I concentrated on are centred on social problems. For example, there is a song that talks about domestic violence and how many women never get to report it,” she explained.
Although she did not win a Channel O award this year, James still holds the record for being the only artist to have won four consecutive awards.
“I am just glad that the problem that northern countries were predictably winners at these awards has ended. Southern African countries are now voting so everyone stands a chance,” she said.
The singer will release tour dates of her latest album early next year and with that will come a new music video.
• Feel My Love is available in music stores nationwide.