Liza Miro DHLA innerview

18.5.19


So we've been rather quiet lately, digging for those rare, underground relatively unknown gems and boy have we found one. Insert, Liza Miro, yes, from the "dont break my heart" fame with Bongo Beats. Whaaat a tune!!

Without any further delays, here's the insert, DHLA style 💃






DHLA: So, you were born a day before the late Statesman, ntate Nelson Mandela, can we draw any comparison between you and his life?

Liza: I'd feel a little pretentious trying to draw any sort of comparison between myself and such a great figure of history, but I am super proud to be a ‘94 baby.

1994 is a year we all associate with peace, prosperity, forgiveness and reconciliation. These are all things that Mandela preached that I definitely adhere to.

Forgiveness is something that has changed my life for the better and maybe this is one comparison I might have in common with Mandela - the day I had learned to forgive all those who had hurt me in the past, whether that forgiveness was deserved or undeserved - my heart and soul experienced an unparalleled sense lightness and freedom.



Mandela’s willingness to step forward and be prepared to forgive, after all that he has been through - that is very inspiring to me.

DHLA: You go on to title yourself as a “performing and music artist”, elaborate on this

Liza: Hah well that's a fancy way of saying I used to be a presenter at karaoke nights and that there's some stage acting in my background.



I'm very much still at the starving artist phase of my life but 2019 is bringing in the winds of change. I'm also a bit of a playwright - there's not enough new musicals on stage lately, at least not coming from South Africa that I know of.

At this point I'll need to do a reading with actors & work with a composer in order to edit the final stages of a concept I've been brewing on since 2016.

I don't mind spending a couple more years on it until all the right elements come together. I'm sentimental about this piece of work.

DHLA: Let’s quickly fast forward to you performing your own songs at school events, who does that lol

Liza: Haha, me, I guess. You have to start somewhere. My mom was so proud.

DHLA: There seems to be a connection between Drama and music. How would you say there are intertwined?

Liza: I grew up watching musicals and cabaret. Music really is just another form of storytelling.

My favorite musical performances have always been those involving elements of theatre - I'm a huge fan of our local Mr. Cat & The Jackal for example, who opts for the experimental and storytelling in their music.

When I'm performing, there's always an element of drama - I climb into the skin of a character who flirts with the audience and draws them into a story.

DHLA: Jeez, we seem to have a lot of Varsity drop outs in the industry that go on to blow up. What’s the psychology in this

Liza: You know, in my case, I think it was just that I went to university too soon, and for the wrong reasons. I wanted to impress my parents, and they urged me to leave for uni directly after school.

I wasn't mature enough at the time to handle the responsibility.

I was one of those lucky kids who kind of got A’s in school without ever really trying or doing any homework.

So university was the first time I really met with the life lesson ‘you gotta work HARD.’ And at the time partying was my top priority, as is the top priority of most 19yr olds. I should have taken a gap year first and traveled like I wanted to.




You know at that stage I was still learning the basics of adulting, like how to clean up after myself. In the end, though, I quote Edith Piaf: non je ne regrette rien.

No regrets. I learned important life lessons that helped me grow into who I am today, and I think that's much more valuable than a sheet of paper



DHLA: “there was something honest and natural that happened when I wrote music instead of poetry.” You can already here voices saying but… but.. but…



Liza: All right. Yes. That is kind of a silly thing to say since music and poetry are so closely entwined as to be twins. What I really mean there is, my poetry needed timbre, vibration, rhythm, tone, and all that jazz to come alive.

Writing comes to me naturally as soon as the words have musical characteristics...

Music makes sense of the world for me. I'm very scatterbrained and music just kind of ties all the crazy patterns together for me. Like seeing the fibonacci sequence in the complexity of the flower.



DHLA: How would you say being exposed to studying all genres of entertainment helped you zero in on music



Liza: I have a passion for all forms of art and I want to use this life to expand upon all of my gifts.



I’m actually pretty decent at drawing and painting, and not a bad writer if only I had the patience for writing anything longer than a short story. 
Studying literature and poetry was at times informative and inspiring, but also at times made something lifleless and postmodern out of something I was very passionate about.



In this phase of my life my focus is on the music mainly because there is an instant gratification to its creation for me - all I have to do is open my mouth and pour out my soul. 
Writing a song is more like slowly tuning into a radio station until the words become clear. The songs are already there, I'm just good at tuning into the frequency and catching them.

So the influences of studying and participating in a vast array of art forms has always been prevalent in everything I do.



All art forms inspire me and I often don't distinguish between them; I speak of songs as three-dimensional artworks within a space when working with producers and when talking on the phone with my mother, who paints for a living. 
A limitation for me is not being so familiar with my music theory, so I love working with people with whom I can discuss the layers of paint. Sound is not just vibration but atmosphere and imagery.



DHLA: Stage names set artists apart; you don’t seem to be too creative on that front lol. Does it matter at all



Liza: I like my name because it suits me. Liza after a Koos Kombuis song, ‘Lisa se Klavier’ (which played on the radio when I was born) & cabaret star Liza Minnelli. So at home I'm called ‘Lee-zah’ in Afrikaans pronunciation, but on stage I'm ‘Ly-zah’ with Minnelli in mind.


People usually assume that Miró is my surname. It is actually the second name my mother gave me, after the Spanish surrealist Joan Miró.
 I use only my given names as my stage name. My actual surname is just way too Afrikaans for the stage.😂



DHLA: You somehow redefined the term basking. Break it down for us.



Liza: The intimate musical performance is my favorite kind. Not the big gigs with the big crowds that pay a lot of money - I mean that’s an amazing feeling, singing to a large crowd - but simple settings where I'd sing for one or two people or where I'd sing in the streets and give music freely to those who would receive, that's priceless to me.


I'm always singing in public places, and love watching the smiles and bewilderment on people's faces. Music is connection.


I'd love to see the street music scene become a bigger thing in my home country. I would love to see more safe spaces in public where artists can busk without fear of being targeted by crime.

DHLA: We’ll give you a few sentences to floss about your travels around the world. How did they shape the breakthrough artist that you are

Liza: Europe was everything I had ever dreamed of and more. My travels definitely inspired me a lot as well as my various performances in Europe, from singing in hotels with the Clonakilty Jazz Collective to performing in the streets of Amsterdam. 
Often we traveled on the rough, sleeping at volunteer farms or couch surfers and living day to day.

 I remember the pirate ship in Amsterdam making the biggest impression on me - a couple of gypsies and nomad travelers all staying together illegally on a little houseboat parked behind some bushes.

 At night we’d sit on the roof of the ship to drink wine and make merry. 

A Canadian girl with multiple piercings, a shabby pair of dungarees and a hunting knife tucked into one boot played the ukelele under the moonlight and sang a song that made me cry.

DHLA: A part of you doesn’t seem to be happy you are back in the motherland. Why is that, seeing that many US artists die to be associated with it.

Liza: You know, Europe was great, but after a while I really missed biltong, braaivleis, Mrs Balls chutney, rooibos tea, cheap dagga and expressions like “hau!” or “k*k!” Going abroad actually made me appreciate my own country more, made me see just how unique we really are. 

You won't find such a beautiful rainbow cacophony of culture anywhere else in the world.

DHLA: Just how big is the blues and swing genre outside Africa

Liza: Oh, it's huge. There is jazz around every street corner in Europe. You only need to take a walk. In Pretoria, it took a lot of time and effort to merely find one good jazz musician to jam with, let alone a whole band. 
Cape Town is a great hotspot for Swing though, so I'd love to be back there sometime to make music with the locals. There's this amazing group called Cape Town Swing that is working on bringing back the music of Sophiatown. 
You can learn more about that here

DHLA: For someone who has not heard you sing, how would you describe it

Liza: Well, without blowing my own horn here - I'd say soulful. My inspiration comes from African American artists like Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles & James Brown. My vocal interpretation also depends on what the song needs and what story I'm trying to tell. I can hit the high notes, or I can explore deep, low, sultry tones. I can sing softly and sweetly and I can growl like a tiger.

DHLA: Do you do gymnastic summersaults before you start recording? How differently would you fine-tune your voice in preparation for a studio recording compared to plain basking

Liza: For formal performances and recording sessions I like to have a hot toddy or some ginger tea with honey & lemon to smooth out the vocal chords. Lots and LOTS of water. I try to do daily vocal exercises to keep my voice flexible and to improve my range.

DHLA: Who would you say discovered your voice

Liza: Molao from Open Mic Productions has been guiding and assisting my journey this past year and I am absolutely grateful for knowing him. He is a good man and he's in it for the love of the music so of course I am enthralled to be taken under his wing.

DHLA: You just went ahead and dropped a bombshell with don’t break my heart. How did the masterpiece come about

Liza: I met Bongani (BongoBeats) at a braai and we expressed a mutual interest in collaborating. I had never written music in the house genre before and it was all a very exciting opportunity for me to learn and grow as an artist.

 I have always been used to working with live band members and have never worked with a dj. 

He composed a beat that he had sent to me and I played around with words until I found a story I could tell. The rest is history. It opened doors for me to grow my repertoire and move away from my strictly jazz roots into a more contemporary sound - yet bringing that old school vibe that I love into the new.

DHLA: Who does your music paperwork? Also enlighten the readers as to what is this “paperwork”

Liza: I like to leave the paperwork for those who are better equipped to deal with such matters. It is not one of my strong suits.

DHLA: You have been a part of bands. How has this influenced the artist in you

Liza: It was a wonderful period for me to grow as an artist through learning from others. Going on my solo journey now, I enjoy the freedom that comes with making all of my own decisions, but working with other talented people definitely widens the musical horizon - so I'm always open to collaboration.

DHLA: Any message to your fans

Liza: Sincere thanks to all the friends, family and fans who believed I would make it one day back when I didn't even really believe it. 

A shoutout to all the taxify drivers who jams to my song, you know who you are. And something else I'll leave you with: practice peace, patience and forgiveness in everything that you do. 

I cannot emphasise this enough. And to my biggest fan - Jesus Christ - I thank the Lord for blessing me with a voice, with inspiration and opportunity. He has always believed in me, even though I didn't always believe in Him. I hope to use my gift to inspire people and spread the love.

DHLA: Social media handles

Liza: Peeps can follow me on instagram @ _lizamiro_ tbh I don't tweet much

DHLA: What can we look forward from you in 2019?

Liza: I'm really excited to announce that the music video for Don't Break My Heart is due to be released soon! (You wanna know what’s funny - I think I gave the poor director some grey hairs when he intended for me to drive a classic car and found out during shooting that technically…

 I couldn't exactly drive it.. there was a whole ‘help Liza drive’ team 😂Haha so we're all waiting in suspense!)

I'm also planning to drop my first album before the year ends and I'm incredibly excited. I am looking forward to working like a machine in upcoming years so watch this space.

DHLA: Are you getting strange calls since the hit with Bongo Beats

Liza: Getting lots of Facebook friend requests from people I don't know. Hoping they'll follow me on insta instead. I can only commit to one social media app at a time . Gotta be out in the sunshine and keep it real.

DHLA: Any chance of seeing you behind the decks?

Liza: I'm more of a wordsmith, I'll let the djs do their thing and I'll do mine. Unless you're talking about a pool deck. With a drink with a little umbrella.

 #thatsAwrap

the Liza Miró DHLA innerview

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