She remembers vividly how even back then she knew she would have to hone and work on her singing ability.
“According to my mom and gran, they could hear I had a voice from age three. From age 11, I started writing poetry and songs and became better at it. I never had vocal training, it was all from listening to the radio and my favourite songs,” she said.
As time went by she would improve and mimic the artists, and she soon got better at controlling her voice.
Her professional career began when she was placed in the pop girl group Jamali during the popular reality talent show contest Coca-Cola Pop Stars in 2004.
The group were runner-up to Ghetto Lingo, who won the competition. However, after the competition, Jamali became very popular in South Africa, and they made a name for themselves.
Luiters’ opportunity on the show came as second time lucky. She had entered the previous year but didn’t make it.
“I was told to come back a year later, but felt discouraged and didn’t think I wanted to go back,” she says.
The 35-year-old hails from Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, where she wasn’t exposed to a lot of things growing up.
When she eventually decided to go back, it was the last day of the auditions and the security wouldn’t let her through the gates.
“Someone who overheard the conversation over the security radio asked for my name and told them to let me in. It was a year later and they still remembered me. I couldn’t believe it,” Luiters recalls.
The award-winning Jamali spent 10 years together and still get together for bookings.
A decline of the pop music scene, while hip hop and house genres were on the rise, allowed Luiters and her fellow group members Jacqui Carpede and Liesl Penniken to explore other avenues for themselves.
“Going solo was an organic experience. Jamali was pop and we didn’t catch on to the change quick enough.
“We all needed to flourish as individuals and find out who we are and what our sounds were,” she says.
For her first official solo project, Luiters used all the knowledge she had gained from the many collaborations she had worked on, including the popular Shekhinah track Different, in which she features.
“I didn’t want to release for the sake of it, I wanted to go on a self-discovery journey to find what my message was,” she says.
“I believe in the power of collaboration because you discover your sound and what you like or don’t like through them.”
She describes her sound as urban pop and R&B, and even though music has changed over the years, she is still firmly rooted in the music she grew up listening to.
The first song release from her upcoming five-track extended play (EP), Cherry Blossom, is the beginning of a journey. Titled Missed Calls, it’s a song about unrequited love, but also represents being a female artist in a male-dominated industry.
“You can perceive it anyway you like but it’s ultimately about a woman figuring out what is going on and trying to take her power back. Each song on my EP is a journey. It is an interwoven story to tell.”
She decided to call the EP Cherry Blossom because it represented all the trials she had gone through.
When she was targeted in school, her grandmother would remind her that she too would one day blossom like the beautiful cherry flowers on the tree outside their home.
“That stuck with me. At the end of the day, you won’t stay down.
“In this chapter of my life I needed to find my blossom.
“This is an opportunity to reintroduce myself. I want people to walk away with an understanding of my music and artistry from this EP.”@mane_mpi