sturdy confidence

South Africa’s Lloyiso: ‘I think I’m good enough to be one of the biggest in the world’

By Shingai Darangwa

Posted on April 14, 2023 08:08

 © Lloyiso (photo supplied)
Lloyiso (photo supplied)

South Africa’s Lloyiso has soared to fame since he came in 5th in 2015 on the popular Idols (South Africa) show. In just eight years, the 24-year old singer has become one of the most prominent R&B singer-songwriters on the continent ahead of the release of his debut EP, ‘Seasons’.

“It’s unbelievable that all these beautiful people here came for me,” says Lloyiso during a private listening session at Universal Music South Africa’s Johannesburg offices. He looks around the room, then grins. “… or maybe they came for food,” he says. Plates in hand, the room filled with media and label personnel burst out laughing. The 24-year-old South African singer’s boyish charm is in full view as he shares insightful, and sometimes amusing, anecdotes about his journey from placing 5th on the popular singing competition Idols as a 16-year-old back in 2015, to becoming one of the most prominent R&B singer-songwriters on the continent ahead of the release of his debut EP, Seasons.

First South African

The eagerly-anticipated project was notably released through a historic global deal with Republic Records, the Universal Music-affiliated American record label which is home to the likes of Drake, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, Post Malone and Taylor Swift. He’s the first and only South African signed to the label.

Lloyiso tells The Africa Report how back in 2021, following a rough patch in which his career seemed to stagnate, forcing him to move from Johannesburg, the epicentre of South Africa’s entertainment industry, back home to Port Elizabeth, he started to receive many emails and calls from various international record labels around the world interested in signing him.

His viral social media covers had piqued their interest and, given how social media platforms like TikTok have been consistently breaking artists for years now, it only made sense that someone with Lloyiso’s consistent global virality drew such interest.

Unfortunately, at the time, he had already been signed with Ambitiouz Entertainment, one of the most prominent independent labels in South Africa, which effectively meant he was off the market.

Then, a short while later, Ambitiouz head Kgosi Mahumapelo called and told him about Republic’s interest.

They quickly worked out a deal and, in the two years since, his career has taken off and his singles have accumulated tens of millions of streams in a short space of time. He’s also been co-signed by global celebs like Zane Lowe and Justin Bieber, and performed at some high profile private events, most notably Brooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz’s wedding.

The dream is real

Earlier in the year, Lloyiso boldly said on Twitter: “SA I NEED YOU GUYS TO BACK ME BECAUSE I’M ABOUT TO BE THE BIGGEST ARTIST IN THE WORLD. Also I need everyone to be [o]n this journey because it’s gonna change lives. I’m releasing an EP in March.”