Saturday, August 11, 2012


Afro-Soul vocalist Lira is currently one the highest selling musical artists in South Africa who just debuts her American album Rise Again. Lira has a very afrocentric savvy flair and wears ensembles from all the top South African fashion designers like  Stone Cherrie, Sylvester Falata, Gert Johan Coetzee, David Tlale, and Bongiwe Walaza). She previously graced the pages of Oprah South Africa, Arise, Pride, New African Woman, etc. and also appeared in Dutch Vogue and the second African edition of L'Uomo Vogue. Lira is known for not only her beautiful voice but also her flawless skin. I have been seeing lira's beautiful face all over the net and wanted to ask her a few questions about her style , hair and her beauty regimen.South African Singer lira in african designer wear

How did you start in the Music industry ?
Growing up I saw the power of music at work among my family members and within my South African community. The elders would play music night and day and I observed what it could do to a people, but did not understand how. There were songs of struggle that seemed to give words to what people were feeling but could not articulate. It seemed to comfort those who could not express their pain. It seemed to give people an escape from their undesired reality. I was intrigued by this and wanted to be able to do the same - - make people feel that they could express their emotions when my music played. By the age of 18 I had my first demo.

Starting off I was signed to be the new face of R&B and Soul in a Kwaito label. I put out my first album All My Love in 2003. In 2006, I signed with Sony Africa to re-launch myself and further grow into the industry - I went on to release albums like Soul in Mind, Feel Good, Return to Love and Rise Again.

South African Singer Lira

Photo by Steve Tanchel/Styling by Sharon Becker & Marie Claire Team

You  have such a beautiful  voice and  certainly one of  South Africa’s biggest artists. I was happy to see you at the BET Awards along with my Malian brother Mokobe, what was your experience like? 
It was an amazing experience. I got to rub shoulders with so many stars - the media was very accepting of me and BET production crew were so pleasant. I've climbed a mountain in South Africa but I'm very new to the States so it's almost like starting all over, it humbled me.

Do you see yourself as a role model ?
Yes I'm very conscious of the way my image is portrayed to young South African girls. I do a lot of work with teen girls in South Africa, particularly during our Youth Month. I take time out to visit schools speaking to girls about life, choices and future plans. I have a lot of female fans and I believe making time to spend with them, sharing my story and journey empowers them. They get to engage with me on a personal level and also get to ask me questions. Often schools, community youth organizations and churches invite me as well. I don’t work with a specific organization in this regard. I am available to whom ever wishes to have me visit them, when time permits.

I'm happy to play my part if it means we have more empowered, confident young women who make a positive contribution in South Africa.

I love  the way you keep your hair. I love how more and more women are embracing their natural hair. How long have you been natural ? 
I've been wearing my hair in this short natural style since my college days, before which I used to keep my hair relaxed and braided. I keep my hair natural now because it's just 'happier' this way. It is completely hassle free and virtually costs nothing to maintain. The best part is that I can enjoy a head massage at any time, I can jump into the pool whenever I want and I can enjoy being outside in the summer rain if I choose :-)

My hair has since become my trade mark. It is really the easiest hair style to have. My hair is thick healthy, soft and beautiful. I can rock it with any kind of look. I don't feel restricted by it. It reveals my face and neck and allows me to play around with accessories. 

You are definitely rocking it   for the all of us  dark skinned  women . I am dying to know your beauty regimen.What are some of the beauty  items you can't live without. 

It would definitely be my lotion - a mixture of Vaseline, Glycerin, Cocoa Butter, and Bio-Oil. This is my mother's concoction that I use to replenish my skin on a daily basis.

For my face I use Innoxa Hydrating Moisturizer. My face is relatively dry but tends to be oily around the forehead and nose areas. It took me a while to find a product that would adequately hydrate the rest of my face without making it oily. I have been using Innoxa for over a year and find my skin just soaks up the moisture and leaves it with a healthy natural glow.

Other beauty items I can't do without are Iman's Second to None Cream to Powder Foundation. I absolutely love it. It is a light foundation that leaves you with an even,  powdered and radiant finish to your skin. I also love Luxury Blushing Powder in Blush Peach to make me feel even toned and pretty. MAC eye shadow in Antiqued (Fresh Water) as I like to play up my eyes. Lastly, Revlon Custom eyes mascara. It serves a purposes in one at just a switch of a dial. I can get long clean eye lashes or I can bring on the drama for a more glamorous look.

Let's talk a bit about fashion , because you are always on point (laugh). Do you style yourself for your appearances ?
Yes I like to pick out my own clothes. Stylists are great for helping you step out of your comfort zone and discover new things, so I use them from time to time as well, often for photo shoots. When I do use a stylist I love Louw Kotze! I worked with him for my spread in L'Uomo Vogue and my recent cover story for Mash Magazine. Absolutely love him, he really "gets" me. I also get many outfits from some of my favorite South African designers like Stoned Cherrie, Bongiwe Walaza, Sylvester Falata, 466/64 clothing, Gert Johan Coetzee & David Tlale and Errol Arendz.

South Africa lira in african wear
Here at Ciaafrique we are all about supporting African designers, and we've seen  you rocking some pieces from south African designers. Have you considered also wearing  pieces from other African designers? if yes who in particular. 
Nigeria's Ms Omambala has some awesome designs. I also love the Ethiopian label African Mosaique by Anna Getaneh which houses unique couture designs using African fabrics, they also have lovely African inspired accessories.

Have you  had a chance to travel through Africa yet ? What countries would you like to visit?
I have visited many countries in Africa including, Sierra Leone. Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and all the African islands. I'd love to visit Malawi and DRC.

The African fashion industry has been a getting a lot of praise lately what are your thoughts ?
African fashion can only thrive if more Africans wear it. African fashion is something that is reflective of us and celebrates who we are. My style is very embracing of my African self. Nothing reflects who we are as well as our own designs. They are colorful, and vibrant. They also celebrate hand crafted work.

South African Singer Lira
Photo by Steve Tanchel/Styling by Sharon Becker & Marie Claire Team

I am curious to know  the type of music you listen to. Who are some of your favorite  Artists  and if you have to collaborate with someone right now who will it be ?
I listen to everything from alternative rock, to country to hip hop, jazz and world music. I enjoy good music period. Different things appeal to me so I have a very wide collection of songs from all over the world!

I love John Legend - he has such an old school soulful voice. When I met him he came across as extremely humble and down to earth, qualities that I can really admire for someone who has achieved so much. A huge influence in my formative years was Lauryn Hill - I've always loved her songwriting. As a songwriter myself I really appreciate John Mayer, I absolutely love the beauty and simplicity of his compositions. Would love to work with him.

In Africa ofcourse Miriam Makeba is one of my favorite artists. She remains our greatest African global icon. I really like D'banj out of Nigeria at the moment. He's just doing phenomenal things, it’s so great to see what he’s accomplished and to me he’s the most exciting one right now. Mr. Incredible (M.I.) is also great stuff. I believe Nigeria is basically taking over - I think the next music revolution is going to be with Nigerian artists

Mr. Coconut Man from Zanzibar rocks my world right now. I love Angelique Kidjo because she’s funky and likes African dancing like me, she's maintaining her legacy.

Would you like to continue singing or would like to pursue  other careers like  acting ?
Singing is my first love however I actually have been doing some acting and auditioning for future roles. I made my cinematic debut as the support lead in the Antonio Falduto directed drama, The Italian Consul, a film centered around the trafficking of girls in Europe. The film premiered at the Isola del Cinema Festival in Rome and has since premiered at several other European film festivals.

What's your motto in life?
LOVE is a verb

South African Singer Lira
Photo by Steve Tanchel/Styling by Sharon Becker & Marie Claire Team

What is a day in the life of Lira?
I often have lots of photo shoots and interviews lined up throughout the day. The band and I meet several days each week for rehearsals and workshopping new ideas. This is often a 4 hour affair excluding lunch. On some days this goes on the whole day depending on the level of inspiration. Every other day is filled with forward planning meetings with my team. We often have a few things on "the go" that require us to meet. I get to rest on Sundays, and I'm very content doing absolutely nothing on this day.

 Any projects  that we should know about ?
I just released my debut American album Rise Again in June. I also released my live concert DVD documentary that's out entitled LIRA: The Captured Tour - Concert Film

I have started recording my next album which will hit U.S. next year and I'll be touring out there as well.  I’ve done amazingly well at home so now it’s time to spread my wings and see how far I can go.

You can get up to date information on what I'm working on through my website Also the promo for Lira: The Captured Tour can be watched here

I absolutely thank you for according me a few minutes of your time. I am looking forward to the new album.

Thank you for all your support !


  1. I love her style. These are really great pictures. Will have to check-out her music now!

  2. She's so beautiful. Totally love her style!


  3. Nice! What a strikingly lovely woman. Will have to check out her music!


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