WORDS BY MUKONDELELI
PHOTOGRAPHY BY XAVIERREBELLION
First and foremost, Lucille Slade is not an onion (just continue reading for context, okay) – she is a South African musical artist with batty vocal skills who also dabbles into acting. I was first introduced to Lucille Slade through her first body of work titled Scratch The Surface that was released back in 2016. She is not your typical R&B/Soul artist – she exudes (in my opinion) a bit of Lebo Mathosa in her music more especially on the debut album that I mentioned above. So on the 12th of August, I made my way to 44 Stanley and upon my arrival, I met up with our photographer, Xavier. After wandering around trying to find the perfect space that we would use to take pictures and not being lucky, I remembered that I had forgotten to let Lucille know that we would be taking original imagery for the article and within a minute of this realisation Lucille walked up Salvation Cafe in her gym clothes…
Luckily for us, she offered for us to quickly go back to her place to shoot and after a few minutes of waiting for her (sitting in a beautiful garden, mind you), she walked down wearing an outfit I could describe as “fun and flirty.” She is not an onion (again continue reading for context, okay) but she is a ball of energy and exudes positive energy… Lucille is a musical artist with batty vocal skills and tone. We had a refreshing moment within our conversation and I hope you enjoy the read.
For those who may not know you, how would you describe yourself in just one sentence?
Haa! How would I describe myself in one sentence? What’s something that is layered? Cause I don’t want to say I am an onion, but I am a layered person.
Have you always known that you’d one day want to become a musical artist?
Yes, there was no question…
Which type of music did you grow up listening to? And did it influence you in any way?
Oouu absolutely, I grew up listening to Aaron Neville and Backstreet Boys, my mom used to play their music. Then there would be the opposite of the spectrum, Bhudaza, Sam Komota, Caiphus Semenya, and Letha Mbulu.
Which one would you say is a bit complex between acting and singing?
I feel like acting, cause singing is more like second nature. But with acting (even music, yes, when you going to perform you have to figure out the layers and the dynamics that you’ll be given for a performance) how do you embody someone else? I feel like you have to have quite a bit of life experience, that’s why I feel like some of the best actors are older. The young ones are incredible I feel like they have been here before, their ability to capture emotions is so deep compared to music.
I am open to new things, new people, new music and being comfortable with myself.– Lucille Slade
Everyone has a relationship with music, but when did you decide to explore that relationship and start making your music instead of just being a listener?
I feel like it happened in junior school when I and the friends I had at the time had a singing group and when I went to University and had to choose a major between music and television… I had gone to AFDA for television so there I made such a clear decision with no hesitation.
You have worked with numerous artists and DJs… From Stogie T to DJ Zinhle, Una Rams, and Stilo Magolide just to name a few, which collaborative song would you say was the most exciting to work on?
Exciting? Exciting? Exciting?
Everyone who is putting out projects is throwing in a drop in a pond that is going to become an ocean.– Lucille Slade
Or rather fun?
I feel like the one with Una mainly because I felt more settled in music… When I worked with Zinhle I was scared and when I worked with Stogie T I was wondering if he will like it or even care but with Una, I was more settled and comfortable in my writing style and also comfortable in just exploring.
You currently only have one body of work under your belt (and I know artists dislike this question) but when can we expect your sophomore album?
Oh so soon, but it’s not going to be an album but rather an EP. It’s done, we are just getting our ducks in a row.
Listening to “MAYBE” from your debut album Scratch The Surface (more especially the first 50 seconds) one can assume that you draw your inspirations from Lebo Mathosa, is that so?
That’s so interesting, no one has ever said that and when Lebo was alive I was too young to under the impact and I was too young to understand her voice and then I was in high school (I think that’s when she passed) and looked back that’s when I understood her impact.
Would you say you are genre-fluid or do you strictly want to be identified with a particular genre?
Genre-fluid for sure! I think in this upcoming project you’ll hear. I enjoy the fact that I can do different things. I do have a preference for a good ballad, I love a good ballad and I love R&B but it’s not to say there aren’t times that I listen to rap, but I love melody more than anything. Even with some UK house songs, if you strip away the EDM and all the fun stuff there’s a full ballad there actually… Some of the best songs are ballads but with EDM.
It’s not going to be an album but rather an EP. It’s done, we are just getting our ducks in a row.– Lucille Slade
So back in 2020 you were not stingy with the singles, how hard was it recording and releasing music in a midst of a global pandemic?
‘Perfect Match’ was honestly the first thing I put out that felt closer to who I want to be and ‘Velvet’ was also there. I enjoyed ‘Velvet’ because it was very sexy and I always say when it comes to South Africans, we are very conservative but miraculously there are all these little children walking around so how did we get here? People are having sex, but nobody explores that in their music and I want to change that.
Which chapter of your life is ‘Tis The Season’ ushering into?
‘Tis The Season’ is ushering me into letting go and painting new pictures for myself that doesn’t look like some of the visions I had before. I am open to new things, new people, new music, and being comfortable with myself.
You had also mentioned healing earlier…
Absolutely, it’s so tiring being a human on this earth. I’m frequently tired, like once a week. It gets overwhelming and you have all your feelings and you have work, so how do I balance and manage everything? So that’s why I wrote ‘Tis The Season’ and ‘Flow’, I felt so overwhelmed and I couldn’t find my way so I said to myself “let’s just write something that reminds me how to find my way.”
How do you feel about the R&B/Soul being overshadowed by other genres in South Africa?
Do you know what’s crazy? I don’t think it’s overshadowed, I just think we need to make new bodies of work. It’s getting exciting right now, but it’s not at the peak of excitement we are working our way there. Everyone who is putting out projects is throwing in a drop in a pond that is going to become an ocean. It’s growing and the more projects everyone puts out, the more events we put on, and the more events we go to for other people and not just our own the better it grows.
Last question, have you found your perfect match?
I don’t think I found my perfect match, maybe or maybe not only time will tell.
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