At the start of 2019, we were introduced to a group of five talented youngsters who went by the trade name, Khoisan.
After thrilling with their maiden track ‘Marabele’, big things were expected of the band.
Indeed, Khoisan has gone on to do great things, although the five-member group has long since been reduced to two.
One of the original members to miss out on Khoisan’s fame and fortune was Lera, who, after years in the wilderness, finally returned to music this year.
Going solo and hungry to make up for lost time, Lera looks the real deal…
Give us a little bit of your background story.
Thank you so much for having me.
I go by the name Lera, derived from my birth name, Olerato Kennetseng.
Lera is a 24-year-old musician and performing artist who hails from Pilane in Kgatleng District.
How did you end up in music?
I started singing at the age of 12.
I am one of those kids who were always glued to the television screen, watching musical movies, singing along and just having a good time.
I also used to sing at my school’s assembly point and at church.
I think that’s how I honed my skills and built my confidence.
After my Form Five, I joined My Star singing competition, and made it to the top six.
And which genre do you fall into?
I sing Afro Pop, Jazz, Soul and Slow Jams.
To me, music is such a powerful tool, the right music can heal people and it can also be an instrument through which people can express their feelings.
As a musician, I count myself as the voice of the meek, and I help people to express themselves way better than they could have using words.
What challenges did you encounter in the quest to make your voice heard through music?
I think that the biggest challenge for me was finances, which is a major challenge for many upcoming artists.
Regardless of how talented you are, you need money to make music and then get it to the people.
It’s even more expensive to make quality music, and I have always been a sucker for well produced music, so I wanted that for myself as well.
You were part of the original Khoisan set-up but, after the mega debut hit ‘Marabele’ you left; what happened?
That’s right, I was part of Khoisan for some time, but I suddenly had to deal with personal issues which hindered me from continuing with music, and I put that on pause.
What’s your relationship like with the remaining two members, who have become superstars?
Our relationship is actually still pretty okay.
We communicate all the time.
Honestly, there isn’t any animosity or weirdness between us like people would presume.
How did the musical break shape you?
Although it was personal issues that put my career on pause, I think the break did me well because I came back more mature and even more determined to face every challenge head on.
There have been challenges of course, but I always tell myself that challenges are meant to elevate me.
What lessons have you learnt in your journey that you’d like to share with aspiring musicians?
Being humble, respectful and kind can take you a long way as an individual.
It can also save you from a lot of things.
Tell us about your latest offerings.
I released two songs named ‘Lepotlapotla’ and ‘Lepantsola’.
Those are two Setswana songs with deep, powerful messages that I believe can impact someone out there.
Do check them out.
You also feature in Chef Gustos’ latest album which is such a banger!
Tell us more about that collaboration.
The name of the song we did together is called ‘Timeless’ and was released on the 19th of October as part of the album Expensive Music.
What motivates you to wake up and grind every day?
Hope. Hope that one day, I will get everything I need and have been praying for.
Favorite childhood memory?
Melting away in the safety of my grandmother’s hugs is something I would leave everything to turn back time for.
Heels or sneakers?
Any local artists you’d like to collaborate with?
Han C, Jorda Moozy, KRM and Dato Seiko.
Five things people don’t know about you?
1. I am a goofy person who likes laughing at almost everything
2. I am a mother of two, a girl and a boy
3. I am into philosophy
4. I prefer salty things over sweet things
5. I value freedom