Lira is radiant, from all the lighting up she has been doing on the charts since her 2006 debut.

Now she shines on the world stage – fresh from a tour to Italy, and a Best International Act (or BET) awards nomination. The spark came while signed to Arthur Makofate’s (the King of Kwaito) label 999 Music, a relationship that ended after her 2003 release “All My Love” and her first SAMA. Moving to Sony helped her discover who she was as an artist, provided enough separation from the kwaito scene to be taken more seriously, and introduced her to her husband, and manager, producer Robin Kohl. The elegant former East Rand accountant radiates everything that is good about soul music.

Lira tells us about

How she challenges traditional beliefs

“In African culture it’s quite a taboo for a woman to approach a man, so in the song ‘Wa Mpaleha’ it’s a girl who says: ‘don’t be afraid that just because I’m a woman coming towards you saying “I do love you,” – don’t run away from it.’ It’s a fun take on it. It was the first song I sang in my father tongue, a Sotho song – I thought it would be fun to reverse the roles and people have liked it for that.”

The trappings of fame

I do recycle some clothes. Unfortunately you’ll be in the tabloids if you wear something more than once. I can no longer easily go into a mall or have dinner at a restaurant with friends and family. But that’s okay, I get to travel around the world and I get to perform in beautiful places and stay in gorgeous hotels, I get to wear beautiful outfits and shoes and dress up. I get to do what I love for thousands of people… It is beautiful.

Love

“Love is about giving. You have to have a great sense of self in order to give of your love. There needs to be good communication, transparency and trust. It’s about two people who seek to bring out the best in one another, encourage individuality and who can learn to work as a team.”

Finding time for the gym

“It’s very hard to have the discipline to work out regularly. I’m just fortunate that I have good genes and I don’t have a weight problem, however I do support my lifestyle with a good diet. I eat consciously and I take supplements.”

Being slender

“I’m a small girl and growing up, I was always reminded of my frame. So when I stood on stage, especially when if it was a huge stage, I felt like a twig – like I’d disappear. Then I saw a video of Michael Jackson. He was tall and skinny and he walked up to the crowd (the place was filled to the brink) with confidence and swagger. As he walked on he struck a pose and the crowd went beserk. All he did was turn around, and kinda look the other way. It was just incredible. What it taught me, from that moment on, is that it’s your energy, your vibe, your whole demeanour. It totally changed my life. He made me feel as if anything was possible.”