Left: Image by Steve Tanchel Right: Image by Jurie Potgieter

Every issue we ask a tastemaker what they are wearing, coveting, reading and following. With six successful albums and a growing global presence, we welcomed songstress LIRA on set of our #AfricaIssue inspiration shoot. Now, we talk African design, fame and beauty secrets…

LIRA wears Gottex One-Piece by Cote D’Ivoire and cut-out shoulder cage by Avnahlong for La Maison de Fashion. Image by Djeneba Aduayom

As an artist, what do you stand for? I express my art based on three principles: self acceptance, self appreciation and self expression. I believe when you have a healthy sense of self, you’re a much better person for the world around you.

Africa is… where I am from. It is vibrant, colourful and full of life and inspiration. It has shaped my view of myself and my world. Africa has carved out its own identity on the global fashion and design scene and I love that – it is so distinct. There is so much more to Africa than what has been previously advertised or perceived. It is constantly growing and redefining itself, especially among the youth. With all the challenges we face, it is very exciting to be African right now.

Tell us about your latest Born Free album? I have often been asked what it’s like to be a South African artist in our free and democratic country, which made me question what it really means to be free. I have defined what freedom means to me and have endeavoured to express it – this process gave birth to this material. I think we are all born free, it’s just a matter of consciously thinking about and expressing it, especially for the next generation. Freedom is no longer a political situation, but a state of being for us. This album champions the freedom to pursue our dreams, to be whatever we choose to be, and to live our lives on our own terms instead of conforming to trends and traditions that don’t resonate with who we are.

“We have the freedom to pursue our dreams, to be whatever we choose and to live our lives on our own terms instead of conforming to trends and traditions that don’t resonate with who we are.” Image by: Djeneba Aduayom

You’ve become a style icon, how do you keep the balance? Good skin and good lipstick are a girl’s best friend. I rely on Bobbi Brown makeup, especially the stick foundation, so that takes care of the beauty part. Books help me feed my mind, but I often battle to find time to read with my schedule, so I have loads of storage on my phone and a library of audio books that I can listen to on the plane and in the car. I’m currently reading/listening to The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. If I don’t feed my brain with what I want, then it tends to get occupied by worrisome thoughts. I also keep a notebook and a good pen handy for my reflections.

Favourite quote: Do what you can, with what you have, where you are – Theodore Roosevelt

What makes the perfect red carpet attire? I have always worn gowns by South African designers and I have loved every one of them. I love simple, timeless elegance. The two that I felt were a perfect reflection of who I am were a black and white dress from Black Coffee and a green, red and salmon dress from Sylvester Falata.

LIRA wears Stoned Cherrie/Nkhensani Nkosi and bracelets by Piece. Image by Jurie Potgieter.

After six albums, what is your favourite song? It’s impossible to consider one favourite, but I never leave the stage without performing Feel Good.

Who should we follow on Instagram? Definitely @stylepantry. I adore her – she has became my online style icon.

Follow LIRA on Instagram @miss_lira and get to iTunes today to download her latest album Born Free. Also, the latest decor news is a click away. Read about the playful portraitist Georgina Gatrix or discover your pink side in Barbie Knows Best

The Africa Issue is a celebration of the future of design in Africa and its potential to drive change. We explore the concept of ‘Africaness’, what this means for our aesthetic. We also  dream big with bedroom inspiration and take you on a tour of homes that truly embrace the spirit of the continent. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco using #AfricaIssue.