The two faces of Rhythm City's KB

great acting: KB Motsilenyane (Lucille) and Macks Papo (Irvin Tshinawa)
great acting: KB Motsilenyane (Lucille) and Macks Papo (Irvin Tshinawa)

RHYTHM City actress and singer KB has achieved some sort of unprecedented feat in the local entertainment industry as a singer and actress. she has been successful in both roles.

This came to mind during a recent wide-ranging interview with her. She spoke about her new album Run Free: Evolution.

But before going any further, I touched on the recent controversy that saw her name splashed in our sister newspaper, Sunday World, after she ensnared a married man, a Vodacom executive, leading to the disintegration of his marriage.

"Have you found new love," I ask the divorced mother of one.

"I would rather not comment on that issue," she says.

Now that that issue is out of the way, let us get on with the job at hand - talking about her new album and her role in Rhythm City as Lucille.

And believe me, it is not easy on the local entertainment scene to be both a successful singer and actress, if past attempts by our local artists are anything to go by.

In the US it is normal. In this case, think about Jennifer Lopez, LL Coo J, Will Smith, Tupac, Beyoncé, 50 Cent, Barbra Streisand and Justin Timberlake among others. These artists have excelled as singers and actors.

But in South Africa it has proved elusive to many artists to double as singers and actors with respectable success.

Imagine the trauma that might have befallen Khanyi Mbau when one day, sometime in 2007, she decided to go into the studio to cut a few songs. Not only that, she tried to present herself as a singer on the stages of the Soweto Beach Party, with disastrous consequences.

Instead of the glory she expected, she was booed off the stage by the crowd who took her for a chancer. She was really never given a chance to prove her vocal abilities so that we can now only speculate whether she can sing or not.

Poor thing.

That was the last time we heard about her as a singer. Instead, Mbau has concentrated on what she knows best, which is attending parties - for a reported fee.

Kelly Khumalo, who is gifted with a good voice, has not been that lucky as an actress either. Her roles on TV have been on-and-off for some time now.

Dance Your Butt Off judge Khabonina Qubeka, good as she is as a choreographer and actress, still has to find that groove in the music industry despite her forays into the industry.

Compare this with the opportunities in the entertainment industry in the US, where singers and actors have assumed either roles with success.

And then, quite interestingly locally, now comes KB, who seems to be breaking this barrier on the local showbiz scene.

I mean, as Lucille she is such a convincing actress. She plays her character so exceptionally well that you would think this was her first choice.

Well, we know that she trained in musical theatre at the then Pretoria Technikon where she graduated with a national diploma in musical theatre.

But soon after graduating KB went straight into the music industry, and ever since the release of her first successful album, Roba Letheka, she has not looked back as her latest one is in fact her sixth.

"The funny part is that when I went into acting, people thought I had left the music industry, something that I will never do," she says.

"It almost broke my heart when people made me aware of this. I like performing in front of a crowd and enjoy it so much that alongside acting, I always perform in between recording albums. It sort of brings me closer to the people."

But her acting has also somehow connected her to several TV fans who watch her in Rhythm City on e.tv, in which she plays the complicated character of Lucille.

"In real life I always separate my character from KB because people tend to think you are the character in real life," she says.

"I always make sure that the two are separate people."

KB says she will embark on an extensive tour of the country next month to promote Run Free: Evolution.

"In this album Oskido has been kind enough to allow me to use his home studio, a space that unleashed my creativity," she says.

"My recording company said to me: Just go and do what you want to do. So I was free tapping into my earlier artistic creativity that characterised the first album. The Kalawa crew (a record label) also had their input in this album."

KB's promotional tour will start in Pretoria, and then go to Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Durban and Nelspruit.

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