Born Xolisa Mvula, Lady X spoke to us about her new single, Igugu Lami, her passion for music and the challenges she faced after leaving her record label to become an independent artist.
She shot to fame in 2011 through her collaboration on MoFlava’s remix of Mr Mister Cee’s Xivumba. She has since worked with some of the industry heavyweights, the likes of Uhuru, Black Motion, DJ Maphorisa, Soul Candi, Gino Brown and African Roots. Despite her success as a house musician, Lady X is preparing to re-establish herself, this time as an afro-soul artist.
“Sexy, edgy, daring, feisty, creative, lots of funk and sass, a little bit of soul, a little bit of jazz and a little bit of blues.”
That’s how singer Lady X describes herself.
“The decision to leave my stable didn’t come easy,” she says, but after she was informed that there was no budget to market her new music, she didn’t feel as if she had any options and it left her with “no choice but to pack up, leave”.
“I said to them: ‘You know my plan for 2017 was to go into afro-soul and that hasn’t changed. It’s something I’m really passionate about’.
“They said: ‘Well, we feel that’s too risky. People respect your voice in the house community and for us it doesn’t make sense to go into Afro soul’.
“I told them I don’t want to be boxed into the house community, I studied jazz for Pete’s sake, I grew up in a home where music was part of me. I was a girl who played piano, I even played violin for a bit, I entered some jazz festivals.”
Once she had made the decision to strike out on her own, things were initially disheartening, she had new music, but no label willing to distribute it.
Her dream seemed in tatters, and it took the intervention of family and close friends to help her see the light.
With their support, Lady X started her own record label and released her new single Igugu Lami.
“I have always been hands on with my music. Now I’m in charge of my label. Challenging as it is at times, it’s liberating and an exciting experience.
“Every little thing that I have done, I honestly believe that was a build-up to this. I believe it because everyone around me is telling me so.
“I also try to not listen to people too much and just do the work, even though the sad thing in this industry is the work isn’t enough, it’s sometimes about who you know, but if your work ethic is so strong, then you are undeniably noticed.”
Her music inspiration comes from everyday life.
“My music is my life,” she says.
“It is my everyday experiences, everything that I go through inspires my music. When you listen to the lyrics of Igugu Lami... when I speak about Igugu, I speak about my heart. It’s something I pride myself in.
“I’m saying I have this precious prized possession. It’s my heart. If I give it to you, treat it with care.”
“The single will be the continuation of Igugu Lami. What I want to do do with the album is tell the story about love, self-love and growth. It’s not going to be deep, it’s going to be real. There will be some dance with elements of Afro Soul, there’ll be a French song because I speak French... want to go to Africa too.
“I don’t just want to be a Xhosa girl from South Africa, I want to be a Xhosa girl from Africa and beyond.”
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