Lira. Picture: Supplied
Lira. Picture: Supplied

Lira talks about Grammys performance and the Bassline Live Series

By Kedibone Modise Time of article published Mar 6, 2020

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SA’s queen of soul Lira will take music lovers down memory lane with all the fan favourite hits from her six-album deep catalogue in the first instalment of The Bassline Live Series 2020, taking place at The Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef on Saturday, March 7.

Fresh from her international trip, we caught up with the multi-award-winning musician who chatted about the upcoming show, all things Grammys 2020 and building her career in the US.

Shedding some light on her first Grammy performance, which she refers to as a “killer performance”.

Lira says she was given an opportunity to perform in front of the Grammy Award committee and Grammy Award winners.

“I was the only non-Grammy member who performed… literally the only one, and it was so amazing. Oh my God. It was the stuff of dreams and I killed it! I’m not even going to play it down.

“I was surrounded by excellence and people who are out there dreaming and pushing and just doing things at the next level. I was so inspired. And I felt like I
completely belonged,” says Lira.

Lira, born Lerato Molapo, says the experience made her realise that she’s one step close to her ultimate goal of winning a Grammy when she received a standing ovation from the committee.

“The brief was: ‘which song best describes your essence?’ Growing up in apartheid South Africa shaped the way I see the world. So my mission has always been to inspire and bring a sense of hope to the world, and that’s really what I tried to do with my music because, in my environment, I suppose we were convinced that we were less in some ways.

“I went through how I wrote the song, "Feel Good". And so, if anyone really asks me, I make people feel good for a living, that’s my life mission. That’s the cornerstone of my entire career.

“By the time I started to sing, everybody was clapping and singing. They appreciated my thinking, my song writing skills and the way I presented myself.
“They were like ‘you were the highlight of the evening’.

“And that’s when I realised I’m ready for that scene. And to be quite honest, I’ve been working that environment for that long, so I suppose it refines your craft over Time.

“ It’s just an exciting time for me. It feels like my dreams are coming true. It’s gonna take work, but it’s very much within reach, and I feel very inspired, motivated and excited.”

From the moment she traded her corner office for the mic, Lira knew she was destined for greatness.

“It’s always been my dream since I quit my accounting job. The Grammy was always the mission. I knew it was a matter of time, so this experience was like a big step closer to the dream. I mean, being in the actual room (attending the Grammys), walking the red carpet, performing in front of the committee. It’s just unbelievable and I killed it, i'm not even going to play it down. I killed it.”

If you’ve been to a Lira concert, you’ll know she shares anecdotes that introduces each song. “I love that. It’s almost like the story brings perspective, and it lets the music be absorbed more deeply, and it becomes more meaningful for me and for the audience.”

On what she has in store for her Joburg fans, she said: “A yearly dose of beautiful music, great vibe, really inspiring, energising sound. People
can expect their favourites, with some additions to songs they don’t usually hear.

“Be prepared to be inspired and to have a wonderful and memorable time!”

Lira says she has no intentions of leaving South Africa permanently. 

“South Africa was my training ground. South Africa affirmed me. South Africa gave me my wings to go and explore my dreams.

“That’s why I will never leave South Africa permanently, but the reason I go out is that I need to show the African child that it is possible. I want to build a nice, viable career, and it’s not necessary to move there, but to have a global career.”

Her last album, "Born Free", released in 2016 is still doing very well.

When asked if she’s working on new music, she said: “I actually do have an album, and unfortunately, I went through a separation, so that kind of stalled things a little bit, but things will work out.

“I’m not even concerned, because I am allowing myself to go through whatever phase of life I’m in. As long as I’m happy, I think it’s the ultimate.”

Tickets available at Computicket for R250.

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