Monday, October 23, 2006

Musical Biography of Lebo Mathosa, 29-Year-Old Diva Leaves Void in South African Cultural Scene

S Africa singer dies in car crash

One of South Africa's most popular singers, Lebo Mathosa, has been killed in a car crash.

Mathosa, 29, died when the driver of her car seemed to lose control on a motorway near Johannesburg.

She was one of the stars of Kwaito, a South African fusion of hip-hop, funk and traditional rhythms, and also appeared on local television dramas.

She was known for her dyed blonde hair and energetic shows, and her album Drama Queen topped the charts in 2004.

A police spokesman said Mathosa's car overturned and hit a tree.


She was nominated for the UK's Music of Black Origin (Mobo) awards earlier this year.

Last year, she performed in front of huge crowds at Nelson Mandela's 85th birthday party.

Her death comes almost two years after the death of South African diva Brenda Fassie.

At the time, Mathosa told the Mail & Guardian newspaper: "You can't deny death, you can't fear it. I'm sure God has a better place for us, if you're a believer."

She first stared in the 1990s with the group Boom Shaka, before launching her solo career.

Leslie Sedibe from Mathosa's record label EMI said staff were "devastated".

"I don't think that there is any artist after Brenda Fassie, who could match her talent and energy on stage," she said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/10/23 09:08:36 GMT

Musical Biography of Lebo Mathosa

The Drama Queen Returns to her Throne

Popularly known as South Africa’s most electrifying live performer, Lebo is at the top of her game, reaping the rewards she has worked so hard for. Indeed, if the South African music community had a royal family, Lebo would be its’ undisputed Drama Queen.

After a too-long absence from the music scene, Lebo Mathosa burst back onto the landscape in 2004 with the aptly named album Drama Queen, an offering that shot its’ way up the radio charts and became a dancefloor favourite. The album, her cover-girl status and her legendary stage performance also assured her the position of representing MTV base as a performing artist during their Africa-wide launch events.

At events attended by industry heavyweights, dignitaries and the press, Lebo performed to enraptured audiences in Lagos - Nigeria, Nairobi - Kenya and Johannesburg. Her sizzling stage performance earned her a completely new roster of fans within the continent. Commonly known as one of South Africa’s most versatile, imaginative and electric artists, Lebo delivered more of her hotness during the Kora Awards 2004 event, an act that the Star Tonight labeled as ‘Most Outstanding Performance of the Year’.

Lebo has the distinction of being one of the few performers who’s constantly in demand on the performance circuit regardless of whether she has a current album on circuit or not. Fresh out of a three year hiatus, Drama Queen has already picked up major airplay on radio stations nationwide, with the breezy dance-floor favourite, Music. The track is definite party material, with Shake and Dangerous demonstrating a delicious fusion of ragga, R&B and kwaito.

That sound on Drama Queen is a mix of Old Skool elements, imported straight into the 21st century to create a signature sound that is uniquely Lebo’s. “I took a look around at the South African music scene and realized that what was missing was a feeling of that Old Skool vibe that I love so much, so I was really determined to include it in the recording”. She explains.

Longtime collaborator and producer Christos himself describes Drama Queen as “incredible – an amazing album”

A cursory glance at the songwriting credits on Drama Queen and you have some idea of Lebo’s involvement. No slouch in this area of making music, Lebo has written the lyrics for just about every single song on the 13-track album.

“I am always writing”, she says. “Some of the stuff I write is often too deep and intense to be in a song because I try and write about everyday things that people can relate to in my lyrics. It’s important to me to convey my feelings on issues and things that I am feeling without getting too harsh, but still conveying the point that I want to make.” Lebo cast her net wide on Drama Queen, and worked with several newcomers and heavyweights as producers.

One of the most exciting songwriting collaborations on the album is Shake which teams up Lebo with Jamella, a new face on the music scene. Lebo describes Shake as a favorite track, along with the 70’s inspired Happiness, an upbeat, melodic track that’s guaranteed to bring sunshine into the listeners life.

Other producers and songwriters in the mix include Mbuso and Jerrah, both know for their adventurous take on make music, as well as Siya. The late Mandla Msomi produced Oh Jehovah, a hip-hop influenced track that Lebo describes as being very special to her. “Sadly, Mandla passed away before the release, and so he is not here to see the album released, but I know that he’s here in spirit,” she says.

“Everything on the album is about is about uplifting summer vibes, great songs and a crossover appeal,” Lebo explains. “This is an album that is destined to make people feel good”.

Always mindful of her fans and audience, Lebo has crafted a set of songs that are irresistible – and the singer plans to take her music throughout Africa over the next few months, as well as around the country.

“ Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Nigeria – I want to be in each of these and other African countries, taking my music around the world”, Lebo says. “And then of course, I will be taking my music to my fans throughout South Africa over the next few months – and I can’t wait”.

Lebo - Background Information:

In 1994, Lebo shot to fame as the lead vocalist and dancer for Boon Shaka, a multi-platinum-selling group that remains an icon of post-apartheid South African music.
She launched her solo career in 2002 with the single “Intro” that featured on her debut album, Dream. Four weeks after the launch of Dream, the album went gold.
In 2001 Lebo won Best Dance Album for “Dream”, Best Dance Single for Intro and Best Female Vocalist at the South African Music Awards.
In 2005 she won Best Dance Album for “Drama Queen” at the MTN South African Music Awards.
Her live performances are legendary – and varied.

In 2001 Lebo performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Cape Town
She performed at the Celebrate South Africa concert in London’s Trafalgar Square
She went on tour in Malaysia and Singapore and for the Malaysian Queen.
In South Africa, Lebo sang for 16 000 people at Nelson Mandela’s 85 th birthday celebration, as well as several other concerts (including ones on Youth Day and Heritage Day).
In 2002, Lebo performed at an Aids benefit concert in Botswana and Swaziland, for the showing of The Vagina Monologues and on tour in the United States and over the past few years, she has continued to be one of the strongest calling cards on any live event.
Performing and representing Africa in the Launch of 100 th MTV Base Channel in Africa.
Among Lebo’s other achievements include:

recording with American star, Keith Sweat on his Africa only album release
acting in South African television shows Generations, Backstage and Muvhango
winning the 2001 Style Best Dressed Woman of the Year Award
being nominated by FHM Magazine of one of Africa’s sexiest women.

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