“I never thought about doing anything else with my life. There was never a plan B.” A fan of such diverse artists as Christina Aguilera, Etta James, Missy Higgins, Civil Twilight and Jason Mraz, Lizé’s soul-tinged songs of love and experience are set to resonate with all who hear them. Anchoring them is Lizé’s incredible voice. As versatile as it is distinct, its power is matched only by her vivacious personality. “I can be a little dramatic, yes,” she laughs. Lizé was born in Klerksdorp twenty-three years ago. At the age of five she started singing lessons and, at the age of twelve, classical piano lessons.
“I used to put on concerts with my sister and friends for my parents’ dinner guests. After some time we thought we could start charging to make a little extra pocket money. They’d all watch and, if the show wasn’t good, then we would have to give back the money. I think it created a little business woman in me.”
Years later, a well-known Durban musician was passing a piano practice room at Lizé’s high school and heard her playing an original composition. He invited her to make a demo of her originals and sent them to a contact at a record label. At 16, Lizé signed her first record contract and, when she got into the studio, she realised her calling. This gave Lizé the opportunity to focus on her songwriting, experimenting with different genres from a young age, but she held back from releasing the album and finished off her schooling. “All I wanted to do was make music, but I also knew that that was only one part of this industry. As soon as I finished school I began studying law so that, when the time came to launch, I would be completely informed.”
At 21 Lizé entered South African Idols and her resolve to be a singer was given an extra boost – landing her a finalist position. “Idols was an awesome experience and I met some amazing artists. I am so glad I had the guts to do it.” Scouted by Mnet Lizé began presenting one of SuperSport’s most watched shows Let’s Play, immediately after her Idols departure and co-presented Sports Illustrated’s ‘Ruff Stuff’. A solo show on Jacaranda FM followed, where she learnt the craft of Radio.
I found working in radio a lot more challenging than performing. I like seeing people’s expressions when I am on stage; I suppose it’s reassuring. When you are a DJ on radio it’s only you, a microphone and your imagination.Inspired by classic pop, old soul and strong melodies built from jazzy licks, Lizé’s debut album is bursting at the seams with life, love and energy – just like its creator.
‘LoveToy’ boldly summons to mind songs from the Motown era. The simple yet catchy melody expresses the joys of being the eternal romantic optimist. “The name LoveToy describes a one-sided relationship – one person is in love whereas the other person is merely a toy. It’s one of my favourite tracks”.
‘Play’ is a stripped-down ballad enveloped in melancholic woodwind. “It’s about letting down your walls so the other person can see exactly who you are,” she explains.
Lizé’s been developing her live act, surrounding herself with “the most unbelievable musicians” and will be touring South Africa in the near future. If her début album is anything to go by, Lizé’s certainly got the talent, intelligence, beauty and exceptional pop sensibility to go far.