From being a backup singer to being the centre of attraction, Lungi Naidoo who has released her 10 track saucy album titled Black Diamond is finally shining like the rough diamond that she is.
Born Nokulunga Naidoo in Stanger (now officially known as KwaDukuza) in Kwa-zulu Natal, her mom Sibongile is a Zulu woman thus her being called Nokulunga and her father Billy is an Indian man thus her surname being Naidoo.
From an early age Lungi knew that she would be counted as one of South Africa’s successful entertainers to grace some of the biggest stages. It hasn’t always been rosy in Naidoo land, being born in the apartheid regime; her parents couldn’t marry due to the draconian apartheid laws of the time. After matriculating, Naidoo packed her bags and headed to the city of gold to chase her dreams.
“I’m glad I didn’t have pride. It all started in theatre before i became a background singer for Loyiso Bala and the late great Lebo Mathosa,”
an experience she says was her “music varsity”. “From theatre I entered coco-cola pop stars, it was then where I was told that I wasn’t meant to be in a group but I was meant to stand alone. In a way I was disappointed but I told myself that I’m destined for more. When I worked with Lebo I learned so much from the person who she was and I think I was more drown to her because she resembled Brenda Fassie. The Lebo on stage was totally different to the Lebo off stage; she was legendary on stage and gave her all. What I learnt from her was how to treat people and it taught me how to treat my band. I am because of them I can’t have that attitude that they need me, I in fact need them to sound pretty”.
Little did she know that it wouldn’t be a smooth sail; after releasing two unsuccessful albums independently and struggled to stand out in the competitive music industry, Lungi fast released that a pretty face and a golden voice isn’t just it that one needs to be a successful artist. “I know some people might think i am a failure and I have failed a lot” she says. Not willing to be defeated Lungi took it upon herself to dig deep; she firstly featured on a song alone with Ribatone titled Love on fire which is taken off Black Coffees album titled PIECES OF ME.
“I worked with Black Coffee once more on a track titled Falling taken off my third studio album titled Falling. I had written a completely different song I mean verses chorus everything.
I was excited about the song but Black wasn’t a bit impressed. He felt I the song wasn’t good enough and I could do better so I dug even deeper and wrote this song.”
The 10 track album titled Black Diamond is a success with hits like Kiss Madolo which is a crowd favourite and a sing-along as she teases the knock-knees and single Falling, a be a dance hit with a full sound led by a prominent bass peppered with tribal beats
I had a chat with Naidoo and this is what she had to say…..
Who is Lungi?
Lungi is an artist, mom and a feminist
Who inspires you in the local music industry?
Brenda Fassie inspires me and I think subconsciously drawn to the person behind the music. Towards the end it didn’t end so well for her but all in all she was magical her music spoke to masses I mean even our generation can listen and enjoy her music. She in influence a way influenced my decision to be an artist. I could see myself singing on big stages and even now I always try be at the performance level which she was at.
The first single which came out was Falling featuring the multi award winning producer and club DJ Black Coffee, it is a deep song not so easy to sing along and in one of our meetings with the label being Universal Music, they told me Kiss Madolo would be the next single, I was a bit concerned because I thought it was a song that doesn’t have substance to it and I felt people would judge me about it, from being this deep RNB singer to singing about amadolo but the response to the song was great, I was getting so many videos of kids singing along to the song so it was a sigh of relief that people loved the song.
I have a new single coming out which will be soon revealed.
Tell us about your NGO?
The Lungi Foundation is an organisation close to my heart. I deal with primary schools in KZN, Soweto, Thokoza, Joburg, Pretoria and Midrand. I was invited back home to give a talk and my heart broke when I saw such a huge gap from the urban areas to the homelands. These poor kids were severely disadvantaged. The education system, the books and the schools facilities were not up to standard. When I spoke to the kids I was teary-eyed because I thought to myself, is this what the youth of 76 fought for or have we become so selfish? The one thing the school asked me to assist with are books. The school was in desperate need of reading books. I googled companies which can assist and I got a hold of a company called Biblionef and they supplied us with books. In total I would with 20 primary schools and 10 high schools. I also have a project with Gift of the givers; we supply children with meals to eat to take home. My biggest project for 2017 is called Choma and I deal with primary school girls, we talk about social issues and the problems young girls face. In a way we are encouraging girls to be proud of who they are, proud of being virgins. We are encouraging them to Choma.
Your advice to an inspiring artist
It’s hard to get into the entertainment industry as a whole don’t expect to get everything on a silver platter. Don’t get into the game for the fame and if that’s what you are looking for you then you are in the wrong profession. You your God given talent whole heartedly and your day too shall come. I’ve failed more than once and I might fail again but I will never give up, never give up on your dreams and don’t ever loose that boy or girl that looks back at you in the mirror – never change who you are, always stay true to who you are.
Who is Lungi behind closed doors?
As soon as I get home the accessories come off, I grab my wet wipe and wipe my makeup off. I’m a tom boy; I’m a jeans and sweater girl. I’m a gamer, i love playing on the PlayStation. I’m at peace when I’m with my daughter and family; that’s the Lungi behind closed doors.