Lira ready to rock the Bassline Live Series

Award-winning singer Lira is back in the country to serenade local fans at the Lyric Theatre on March 7.
Award-winning singer Lira is back in the country to serenade local fans at the Lyric Theatre on March 7.
Image: Supplied

Award-winning singer Lira is making a return to South Africa and looks set to turn heads as she kicks off the first Bassline Live Series of the year next month at the Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg.

As a constant fixture in the United States, Lira has been working with a number of producers and musicians in creating a sound mixing the West and southern African countries. Lira, who spoke to Sowetan from the US, last performed in SA in July.

Since its conception in 1994 and year-long hiatus in 2003, The Bassline Live Series has hosted local and international acts, ranging from hip-hop to jazz.

"It's a lovely venue, lovely location and it's a nice to-do," says Lira, who shares that she is excited in seeing the local audience at the event.

"I've recorded tons of things there and it's one of those venues that are like a staple venue. It attracts a lovely crowd," says the singer.

The Wa Mpaleha hitmaker has become a staple with the American audience performing at a number of television programmes and stages. The journey has not been an easy one, which the songstress embraces as part of establishing herself as an icon in and out of South Africa.

"There's an appeal about starting from the bottom and being the underdog again. So, it's interesting being in that market. The more visible I am the more opportunities come up," she said.

While singing may be her bailiwick, Lira has taken it upon herself to build her connections, especially with her ambitions to win a Grammy.

While she notes that a number of local artists tend to pursue the same success purely through talent, Lira is also liaising with voting members of the award show that she has also performed for.

"It was a way of introducing myself and saying, 'hi, I exist.' When the time comes, I am going to be gunning for a Grammy and also understand how the process works," she says.

"I wish we could have more South African artists exploring it, so we can build our own little community," she says, noting the Soweto Gospel Choir and Ladysmith Black Mambazo among the number of local acts who have walked away with the prized musical award.

"I wouldn't want to move there permanently as I still want to show love to my fans here. It's about balancing all these worlds, including Europe and America.

With performances jetting her across Los Angeles, Lira has also harkened to native producers for a new distinct sound she will debut at The Bassline Jazz Fest.

Creating music with producers who have worked with legends like Peabo Bryson and Michael Jackson to young stars Keke Palmer as well as Eminem, Lira has also spread her wings to the Caribbean with soca group Kes in an unreleased feature.

Lira will be performing with her six-piece band on March 7 at the Lyric Theatre.

Former performers of the Bassline Live Series include The Soil and Thandiswa Mazwai.

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