Lady X. Picture: Supplied
Lady X. Picture: Supplied

Lady X on dropping new music with a twist and why artists must own their masters

By Kedibone Modise Time of article published Jul 18, 2021

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Afro-soul singer Lady X recently did the unthinkable.

The platinum-selling artist took down her music from all the streaming platforms.

Bold move.

When she was asked why she did so, particularly during a time when the entertainment industry has taken a knock due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, Lady X (real name is Xolisa Mvula) explained that she wanted to take charge of her own music.

“I wanted to have more control and management of my catalogue, under my own fully-owned label, and one publisher that I have full access to and trust,” the star shared.

The music powerhouse also assured fans, who were concerned by her undertaking, that all her music will soon be made available again.

“All the music will be up next week as I have always owned my masters,” she confirmed.

The “Igugu Lami” hitmaker says it’s critical for every musician to own their masters, something she learned very early in her career.

“Controlling your masters and publishing rights gives you full control over what is done with the song or album.

“Meaning that as an artist you full the legal rights to freely utilise and independently create income or business opportunities,” she explained.

“With a master recording, you can license the recording to third parties, like TV shows, films, commercials, or even for sampling use by other artists.

“When your master belongs to someone else, like a record label, the music producer or sound engineer, then they have the right to license out the recording and collect the royalties without notifying you.

“Another pro is that if my record label is valued and sold one day (which would never happen) the ownership of my masters comes into play and adds value.”

She added: “This would refer to rights they have in their music composition, words, and music.

“The master is the sound recording.

“The difference is, the musical composition can feature in hundreds of different sound recordings, covers, remixes, etc, and keeping track of that gives you control of what happens to your brand name and recordings because, at the end of the day, it is rightfully your name, money, and business.”

Lady X shot to fame in 2011 as a house music vocalist featured by Mo Flava, Maphorisa, Black Motion, and more.

After parting ways with her label in 2018, the star released her debut album “Love Life Complicated” as an independent artist.

“I’ve has always been an independent black woman and part of that meant telling my own story through my music.

“This allows me to build my own brand without anyone staking claim to it or having the rights over my works and name.”

Lady X’s music has recently featured in the popular Netflix series, “Blood & Water”, which is a testament to her irrepressible desire to keep raising the bar.

She went on to take part in the Essence Cultural Festival 2020 virtual medley, which included the likes of PJ Morton, Estelle, Marvin Sapp and Amanda Black.

Lady X says she used the lockdown to produce more music.

She will be releasing an EP, titled “Rebirth” which features Alie Keys, Tyler ICU, Kooldrink, Mr Kamera, and Cornelius SA, later this year.

Lady X. Picture: Instagram

“I used the pandemic to be in the studio, create and refine my new sound without pressure.

“In a lot of ways, it was a blessing for me and I got to be inspired even more by hearing my music on Netflix’s ’Blood & Water’, which encouraged me to go further into making music for series, movies, and adverts so I also focused my craft on briefs I was getting from my publisher for those opportunities.”

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