Singer/songwriter EJ von Lyrik and Roeshdien Jaz released a new single entitled "Want What You Can't Have".
EJ von Lyrik, currently based in the Netherlands, originally hails from Mitchells Plain. She has been writing and performing her own material since 1997 when she turned professional.
Having a distinct interest in music production, EJ started producing her own instrumentals in 2001. Her music is an eclectic mix of funk, rock, dancehall, hip-hop and roots reggae. She is a strong advocate for human upliftment and inspiration through the medium of music and, therefore, her music carries positive messages in her lyrics.
EJ was also a former member of the legendary, all-female hip-hop group Godessa. Rated by Chuck D of the legendary American hip-hop group Public Enemy, as one of his personal top five female MCs of all time, her musicality and versatility reach far beyond what is ‘conventionally’ defined as hip-hop. As a singer, she has a beautiful vocal range and her ability to switch between styles of delivery is simply unmatched.
I caught up with the powerhouse vocalist EJ last week.
The new decade means: Loads of change! Exciting new prospects in online business, new music being created on a daily, plus continuing the ‘personal growth’ streak.
Fame is about: Being a tool to create awareness about your art and further your agenda, whatever that might be. It's not the ‘be all and end all’ of what makes you great at what you do.
Retirement will happen when: When I'm ready, and I am far from being ready.
I don't do: Mindless music.
What does music mean to you? Upliftment. It can empower, inspire change and educate when used positively.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work? The creative side! Being in the studio writing or recording lyrics and producing beats. Sound in itself fascinates me. So being able to create something from intangible frequencies is exhilarating.
Any funny moments on stage: My keyboard player once answered a cellphone call while in the middle of a show, only to tell the person on the other side that he will “call him back because he is playing at the moment”. And he didn't stop playing, throughout the entire call.
It’s your round, what are you drinking? A good ol' cab sav or merlot from South African soil.
Dream gig to do: I would love to share a stage with Damian Marley aka ‘Junior Gong’, youngest son of the late, great Bob Marley.
Top of your bucket list: To become a household name as a beat-maker and producer.
What makes you stand out? I think it's my ability to flip effortlessly from one vocal style to another in one song.
Nicknames: My baby brother couldn't say my name properly when he was little, so he just called me 'Aya'. And now every child in our family calls me Aya. But I think it's cute.
If you were not a musician, what would you do? I would probably be either a teacher, a psychologist or a biologist since I love nature, human psychology and education.
Pick five words to describe yourself: Introverted, funny, spiritual, determined, creative.
Five favourite SA albums of all time?
Prophets of da City – Age of Truth
Brenda Fassie – Thola Amadlozi
Moodphase5ive – Steady On
Jitsvinger – Skeletsleutel
Tumi Molekane – Music From My Good Eye
What song changed your life? “Kickin' Nonstop” by Prophets of da City! When I heard it I think that became the defining moment in me, also wanting to be an emcee.
What is your favourite word? Coolio. Yeah, I know, it's also the name of a hip-hop artist. Don't ask.
Favourite fashion garment: A pair of fading skinny blue jeans. You can wear it with anything.
Give us some real proper slang and what it means? “Dala what you must.” It just means that you gotta “Do, what you gotta do.”
Your greatest achievement: I was a member of a highly successful all-female hip-hop group called Godessa from 2000 till 2008. We were considered to be one of the most impactful bands of our time. Raw and outspoken about critical issues, lending a feminine edge, to the ‘male-dominated’ hip-hop scene, and breaking international barriers.
What do you complain about most often? My bust-up knee. Eish!
What is your fear? Not having achieved all I wanted to before I leave here.
Happiness is: Maintaining your peace, in absolute chaos.
On stage, I tend to: Go wild!
Where would you like to be right now? On a beach in Cape Town, in February.
Do you do charity work and, if you do, what do you do? l do charity work with the amazing song with Roeshdien Jaz, “Want What You Can't Have”, where the digital sales proceeds will go towards the ‘Ihata Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Heideveld, Cape Town (Music with a Purpose).
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