Namhla Lebona, a fashion designer and new rap kid on the block.
If she isn’t preoccupied with stitching the latest fashion swag, young fashion designer and new rap kid on the block, Namhla Lebona aka LOLO is in studio ‘cooking’ music.
Gauteng Lifestyle Magazine recently hosted LOLO to a Question and Answer interview of which she dissected her life story, dreams and ultimately breaking into the impenetrable entertainment industry.
1.Please share a bit of background on who Namhla Lebona is?
Namhla “Lolo” Lebona is a 26-year-old woman, born 4th September (Virgo) in Eastern Cape (Matatiele), but officially relocated to Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal with her mother in 2009. I generally grew up in boarding schools between Durban and Pietermaritzburg from 2001 until 2009. Currently, I reside in Pretoria where I’m completing my final year fashion design practicals at Tshwane University of Technology.
Although I haven’t graduated with my diploma yet, I have already started practising as a designer, as I have showcased at a fashion show in 2016 and have designed for the general public. However, I’m more focused on building my own brand and attracting my own market, with tons of experience I have gained working for prestigious SA Fashion companies like SA Fashion Week, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, & also private designers like Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue, EKTA & Jane Sews.
2. As many realize their passion for music at different age groups, when did you find yours?
I honestly have always loved music, I remember in boarding school in between 2004 and 2005, we’d (with friends) tune into channel O and literally sing or rap to all the songs. I even had a music book filled with lyrics (I think every teen did this). I loved Usher, his storytelling in his music was great and his dance moves were epic, but the interest to hip hop or rap came from the likes of Eve, Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes, Twista, Kanye West and Eminem. The day I learnt to rendition to Eminem’s When I’m gone I felt legendary. I obviously I grew up and started listening to different artists and genres and the love for music grew even more.
3. It seems you have a lot on your plate already (speaking of pressure) how do you juggle music and still satisfy your business interests (fashion designing)?
Juggling has always been my strong point; I’m good at multitasking without being distracted. My fashion business is something I continuously work on in between all my other responsibilities, most times I work via my phone. Those who follow me on social media probably know my best working hours are after midnight, that’s when I design clothes and work on my brand, you could say I’m a night person, but school is always first priority, I’ve even left my part-time jobs just so I can concentrate on my practicals without distractions, but I’m only left with three modules to graduate so that’s also a big advantage because it gives me the rest of the time free to now work on music.
4. Since every musician comes out with their own unique sound, we asked LOLO how does she define her own?
Mmh… now this is the most interesting one, I’m looking at being versatile, I have different personalities and I want that to show in my music. I’m In love with soulful hip hop, I believe people relate to stories told through music, but at the same time I’m a happy person, I love dancing and it’d really be cool if I could make people dance with my music. Let’s just say it’ll be the versatility of old school meets new school.
5. How do you plan on breaking the barriers in this male-dominated industry?
Barriers are a big hurdle in music, and as we all know hip hop is a male dominated genre, the ladies that are now getting recognition have had to work really hard to get there and I’m not going to be any different, but my plan is really to just be myself, make music that anyone can listen to, I believe no one is the same as the other, I’m not trying to be anyone and people love originality so of course I’ll challenge myself to reach higher levels but I’ll break barriers by remaining original and making music that even the OG’s of hip hop feel accommodated by.
It’s no secret that any breakout artist had someone who inspired them in the industry. LOLO dive deep with us?
Local and international artists that really inspire me, in the ladies category I have to go with Rouge Rapper (SA), Cardi B, Maliibu Miitch and Queen Herby. In the male category- Nasty C (he’s arguably the best lyricist locally in history) Kwesta, AKA, K.O, Shane Eagle, Cassper Nyovest, A- Reece, Wizkid, Rihanna, Drake, Future and Hov.
- Tell us more about the release of your single and reception so far?
The name of my first and latest offering is called Who Would Have Known. It’s the first and main track out of my upcoming EP. Who Would Have Known is about my life, the struggles, hustling, and my take on people who think they have it all just because things are handed over to them, I titled this track “Who Would Have Known” because I knew people would be shocked at the fact that I’m now making music and ironically the title also defines the story in the track.
The single was released on the 20th of March 2018, it can be downloaded on SlikourOnLife and Fakaza.com. It’s also going to be available on SoundCloud and my social media pages.
8. Are you signed to a record label? If not, will you ever consider?
I am not signed to any record label yet, I did, however, work with a talented producer called BreezorSA under Junk Yard Entertainment in Pretoria to create Who Would Have Known and we’re still continuing to produce the EP, but no official paperwork has been signed. Well, I would be open to the idea of signing with a label but of course, I’ve already been warned about the pros & cons of it all so if & when I have to make that decision; it’ll have to be with a label that is recommended and worth it.
9. The future seems to be very bright, so where do you see yourself in the nearing future?
In the near future I definitely see myself as a fashion design graduate, but obviously, that’s a short-term goal. The long-term goal is to be a great ARTist, I’ve always considered myself an artist due to my creative career and now with music I guess I’m an all-rounder, so the goal is to perfect my craft, stay relevant and create music that has longevity while remaining a well trusted, prestigious fashion designer because design is my first love. I aim at giving music my best and I hope people will receive me with the same love I’ve been getting the past few days.
Driven by her personal motto: Hustle harder! She says she grabs opportunities with everything she got and puts in the hours to deliver an impeccable outcome.
For Namhla Lebona on the following social media pages:
Instagram: – @Lolo4Fashion
Twitter: – @Lolo4Fashion
Facebook: – Namhla (Lolo) Lebona