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Meet Lira

2 Mar

Please meet Lira.  She is a multi-platinum, award winning South African Singer/Songwriter.  I have always been curious about her hair.  She has kept it natural for years now in an industry where the majority of women wear weaves.  She is always the example I give when someone says to me they want to go natural but they are afraid they will look like a boy!  Where do I even begin with Lira?  To say I am a huge fan is an understatement.  I have ‘met’ her a few times at concerts but I got to talk to her, albeit briefly, when we did the Destiny Magazine Power Cover photo shoot. I asked if she would answer a few questions for the blog and she graciously agreed.  Here are the answers to the questions I posed to her:

1.       Where are you from?

I grew up in in the Daveyton township, Johannesburg’s East Rand section in South Africa.

2.       Why did you choose to keep your hair natural, especially in an industry where the majority of women wear weaves?

You know, sometimes I get asked if I’m ‘finally’ going to wear a weave now that I’m launching my career in North America.  Clearly it’s not necessary.  Keeping my hair natural has been the best thing for me and my hair.

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.

I keep my hair natural 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.

3.     Have you ever had a relaxer / perm?

I did keep my hair relaxed and braided for about 10 years.  While I was in College, I made extra cash by running a hair salon from my room at the student village.  My own hair had to be on point so I always had it relaxed, styled and sometimes I put highlights in it.  I kept a Halle Berry type of boy cut for about 6 years.  It got to a point where my skull was lifeless and my hair became like plastic.  It became thin and weak.  I then kept it hidden by braiding it.  I kept this up for another 4 years.  In 2006 when I finally decided to reveal my real hair, I found that it was badly affected – it was dry and brittle but there was just enough ‘growth’ to start anew.  I was recording my second album Feel Good at the time so I was always in the studio.  During the first week, I started liking my natural hair, I loved the fact that I could just get up and go.  The first week passed and my hair seemed to be responding well to being left alone, so I kept it natural.

4.       How do you take care of your hair day to day?

I have a really get up and go hairstyle.  It’s very low maintenance.  I get my hair cut twice a year and give it a good wash about once a week as well as a deep conditioning treatment like once a month.  I just work to keep it clean, moisturized and soft.

On a day when I wash my hair it’s a 2 hour affair – because I leave the conditioner on so long.  But overall, my hair is so low maintenance it’s an absolute pleasure to care for.

5.       Do you foresee yourself ever relaxing your hair or wearing a weave in future?

I don’t see myself ever relaxing my hair again.  I may wear a weave if a movie role required it, but at the moment I don’t have the desire to.  I do enjoy braiding my hair from time to time and I also like corn rows but that’s as far as I’ll go.

6.       What are your favourite hair products?

I use Soft Sheen-Carson Sta-Sof-Fro natural hair products.  They keep my hair soft and shiny without making it greasy.  There is a lovely gel and braid oil moisturizing spray that I use.  I also really like Organics deep conditioner, it leaves my hair very soft.

7.       Any hair tips for other women who are thinking of going natural?

Keep it clean, keep it short and keep it neat.  Those three things stop hair from misbehaving, leaving hair very rich and thick.  I think one of the reasons women are put off by natural hair is the fact that it can get hard, but when you keep it short and moisturized it stays nice and soft.

8.       How do you do the style you have in most of your public photographs (the wash and go look!)?  It always looks so neat!

Believe it or not, I comb it out with an afro-pick and then create the messy afro look using circular hand motions.  This prevents it from locking and helps keep it manageable.  I then pat it neatly so that it becomes a more organized mess 🙂

9.       What is your favourite hairstyle?

If I don’t wear my natural hair then I really like my corn rows.  They are even less maintenance and assist in growing my hair.  I have discovered though that my hair is “happier” when it is left alone.

10.  Do you have a stylist?

I feel that there is not much one can do with my hair because it’s so short, so there’s no need for a stylist.  I do however have a lady who does the cornrows for me, and we do experiment a bit with that.

Ok, the next two questions are not hair related but I just had to ask!

11.  Where do you get the dresses you wear to your shows?  You are always on point!

I wear a lot of local South African designers to award shows including Stoned Cherrie, Sylvester Falata, Gert Johan Coetzee, David Tlale and Bongiwe Walaza.

11.   What do you do with the dresses after you have worn them?  I have not seen you wear a dress twice, especially the performances I have been to!

Through Facebook and some of the national newspapers, I find a few students who have great school results but cannot afford dresses for the Matric Dance(Prom).  I have them write a motivation for why they deserve a dress, give us an indication of what their future plans are and submit their term results.  We make a selection and then they get to choose one of my dresses.  Sometimes the sizes are not right and we have to get them altered or get brand new dresses.  This is fun and gives the girls a sense of value.  We have recently included boys as well in the last year.

Lira has graced the covers of numerous fashion & lifestyle magazines and has won a multitude of accolades from The South African Music Awards, MTV Africa Awards, Channel O Awards, Metro FM & MOJO Awards as well as Glamour Magazine South Africa’s 2008 “Woman of the Year.”

LIRA is the first African artist to release a full HD DVD in Blu Ray (3x Platinum) and she is the highest selling vocalist in South Africa. She has released five platinum selling albums on Sony Africa: All My Love (2003), Feel Good (2006), Soul in Mind (2008), Live in Concert; A Celebration (2009) and Return to Love (2011).  She is preparing for the release of new LP Rise Again (2012).

For more information on Lira visit her website, facebook page and twitter profile.

Ladies in Kenya – Lira will be in Nairobi on 4 March 2012.  See her website for details.  Go to her show and see why I love her so much  🙂

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30 Responses to “Meet Lira”

  1. republicofsunshyne 02 March, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    i hart Miss Lira 🙂

  2. liz 02 March, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Lira is really great….her music, looks, body and hair, i adore her. Thank you girl for featuring her.

    • Tendayi 02 March, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

      You’re welcome Liz. I also think she is stunning.

  3. Phro Phro 02 March, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I’m so happy for you! What a great interview and opportunity …. *claps hands*

  4. Sanelisiwe Yvonne Jili 03 March, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    I realy love ur music and sometimes i go to ur show if u a at Durban

  5. rhodrica 03 March, 2012 at 6:16 am #

    Wow what a Beautiful women
    I really love this women and her music including her Natural hair look and hy she’s got stylish and her Voice……an angel voice

    • Tendayi 03 March, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      She is beautiful in every sense of the word! I agree!

  6. ZaZa 03 March, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    Lovely lovely. Lira u rock!! thnx 4 this

  7. Mahlako 03 March, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    Hi Sis Lira. Iv always been ur fun since I grew up . The most things dat makes me inspire u is ur Teeth, Face, Hair and lastly ur dresses. So my question is, how do I go about buying ur beautiful dresses. Iv always liked all the dresses u wear when u on stage. Pls help a girl find ur dresses. Tnx in advance

    • Tendayi 03 March, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

      hi Mahlako. Check out her answer to question 11. She gives away for dresses to charity (deserving matric pupils for their matric dance).

  8. senzi 03 March, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    Wow! I’m even thinking of cutting ma hair rigjt now n keeping it natural , no more relaxing ! Shez beautiful, l hav a weave on rite now n ma scalp is complaning its itchy.

    • Tendayi 03 March, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

      She is definately inspiration for going natural!!

  9. kgomotso 03 March, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    I uv short hair,I also keep my hair short u go grl keep it natural

  10. Deb 03 March, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    This woman is absolutely beautiful. Wow.

  11. ronelle 07 March, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Wow u are a beauty…..lov tha way u play around with ur jewels…..

  12. Grace Mdhluli 08 May, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Lira is beautiful, I like her hair, but I am still keeping my weave!

    • Tendayi 08 May, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

      lol Grace!!!

      • Grace Mdhluli 08 May, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

        I have separated my hair into decades, so when I turn 30 I will go natural either dreadlocks or natural and when I turn 50 I will go short with dye I think older people generally look good with short hair….what do you think?

      • Tendayi 08 May, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

        Loving the idea! What about your 40’s? When you are younger you have more options regarding hair because so many styles suit younger women. I think this is the best time to experiment. When you are older you have less options I think.

  13. Thuli 08 May, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Love Lira with all my heart…also her natural look

  14. Peggy 12 September, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    I love Lira’S Natural hair it inspires me

    • Tendayi 12 September, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

      She is beautiful.

    • Lynette 20 October, 2012 at 4:32 am #

      i am more than inspired.i have gone natural.did the big cut.off with the sleek locks in with lots of body and bounce

      • Tendayi 22 October, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

        🙂 You sound happy with your choice!

  15. Sharon maboko 05 February, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Wooooooaw::::: i lik lira 4rm da 1st tym i c her:::i lyk her smile nd mostly i lov her hair

  16. Sharon maboko 05 February, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    I lov sis lira::ilov yr smille nd mostly i lov yr natural hair mmmmxaaaw sis lira um yr fan

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