It’s unusual for a 26-year old singer with several hit songs under her belt to be on a mission to attain an MBA degree.Yet Lolo Vilakazi is doing exactly that. She's studying through MANCOSA for an MBA while working as a marketing manager for a tertiary institution. We met Vilakazi at Col’Cacchio pizzeria in Bryanston. When asked what her favourite activities were, Vilakazi mentioned baking and Col’Cacchio’s allowed the muso an opportunity to bake one of their celebrity chef pizzas.
Watching Vilakazi bake and interact with the chef, it's clear she has a passion for food and presenting. Unfazed by the camera, she enthusiastically sets out to make the Bujumbura pizza, carefully following instructions to make the pastry. Vilakazi comes across as a natural presenter, knowing just when and how to engage the camera. Watch here as Vilakazi shows off her pizza skills and chats to us.
Getting to know Lolo Vilakazi
Vilakazi happened upon the house music industry in 2005. “A friend of mine was a basketball player and wanted to be a rapper. He asked me to join him and some friends in the studio. I sang hooks at the time and that’s where it all started,” said Vilakazi.
Vilakazi would then join her aspiring muso friends on tours and was spotted by the owner of the former Monaco club, then based in Melville.
At that gig, 5fm DJ Euphonik happened to be performing and was in awe of Vilakazi’s vocals. “We exchanged numbers and he contacted me eight months later."
“We went into studio and hooked up with DJ Fresh. In about ten minutes we were done recording Masingita,” said Vilakazi. This was Vilakazi’s star moment as the song went viral and was picked up by major radio stations countrywide. The song was added to DJ Fresh and Euphonik’s joint album and Vilakazi revelled in her newfound fame.
Although studying for her BA in Communications at the time, the young songstress managed to balance touring and studying. Vilakazi then recorded Happiness with DJ Fresh and started working for Ghetto Ruff headed by Lance Stehr.
“I spent a lot of time in the studio and met a lot of people. I recorded many tracks at the time as well as three tracks for other artists. We then did We were meant to be and that became huge,” said Vilakazi.
Nearly seven years later, Vilakazi has been signed to Soul Candi records and recently released her debut album Breathe. It’s a mixture of soul, house music and has a little bit of everything for music lovers, she says.
On what she intends to do with her MBA once complete, Vilakazi says she wants to use it to impact the music industry. “The music industry has a business side and I want to see what we are doing wrong. How is it that artists like Adele and Beyonce can sell big but an artist like Lira can’t? What formula do they have? Local radio stations play 80 percent international music, is it because our music quality is low? I’d like to get at least five million people to buy an album, that’s the number of people in Soweto,” says Vilakazi.
Video shot and edited by Teresa Alho