Lady X. Picture: Instagram
‘I’m sorry, I think I’m crying.” The way Lady X says this sounds more like a response to her own thoughts and not a statement directed towards the audience that has gathered to help her launch her debut album. She’s standing in front of us, on stage and has just performed one of her singles, "Igugu Lami."

“The album is finally out and I think it’s finally sinking in,” she says from behind the mic stand.

“I’m so sorry to be crying on stage, I didn’t know that was going to happen. Igugu Lami means a lot to me. It just brings back a lot.”

Lady X wears a beaded, gilded bodysuit and a golden cape but even that couldn’t save her from her tears. She takes a moment to compose herself.

Lady X, whose real name is Xolisa Mvula, made a name for herself as a house music vocalist whose singing can be found on songs by the likes of Mo Flava, Maphorisa, Black Motion and more. With her debut album, "Love Life Complicated,"Lady X has given afro-soul pride of place on the project, but she hasn’t forgotten about dance music.

After she has performed a few tracks from the album, I sit down with the singer-songwriter who has managed to pull joy out of an emotional moment earlier.

“This album took me a year to create,” she tells me. “It was one of the most emotionally draining things I’ve ever done. You know, when you’re independent and you’re trying to create something out of nothing, it’s tough because there’s money and so much involved.”

Love Life Complicated is produced by afro-soul/afro-pop producer Mojalefa “Mjakes” Thebe.

Lady X says: “I had told my friends that I wanted to make an afro-soul album and they said: ‘You should meet Mjakes.’ I sent him some of my previous house songs and he was like: ‘Do you know your voice is much bigger than what you are doing right now?’ He believed in my sound and is now my co-writer and my producer.”

Songs like Nguwe and Ndifuna Wena have a pulsating dance rhythm that will appease fans who love her house music stylings. But, Lady X says those songs exist because they came organically, not because of a formula.

“I’m a fusion artist. Just because I am now afro-soul, it doesn’t mean that house music is not a part of me. I started in house, turned it into tribal house, turned it into soulful house and I think what keeps happening with me is that I keep evolving. I fuse my past, present and future into one thing. I just want to make good music, music that is authentically South African.”

While you can dance to Nguwe, it’s also a reflection of Lady X’s faith. She says: “The song happened because I just felt like this is my debut album and when I wrote it, I was praying and saying: ‘God, this is me. This is me in my entirety and I am giving myself to the world. Please open people’s ears. Please open doors for me.’ And then Nguwe just came from that.”

She sings about her faith, about her child (on Sana Lwami) and her mother (on A Song for Mama). The last song is one she could not perform without bringing her mother on stage. An ode to a fierce woman, the song lets listeners in on how Lady X was raised.

“I’d like to call a very special woman on stage,” Lady X had said at the launch. “This is my pillar of strength. She’s the reason why I’m here today,” she said before she dabbed more tears from her eyes.

When I ask her about this display of emotion earlier and even on her album, Lady X says: “I am such an open person. I am unapologetically me. This is my dream come true.”

Lady X’s album, "Love Life Complicated," is in stores now