“My week has been good; I’ve just been hanging out with my mom. We have just been eating cheese and drinking wine.” Lordkez shares as our interview begins. While celebrating the release of her debut album in the humblest way. You wouldn’t say that she just bagged a feature with Bas from Dreamville.
Debut albums make or break artists’ careers, especially with the current listening habits of music consumers. Lordkez and her label Stay Low had to get this right.
The groundwork for Testament was done a year before its release, and LordKez wanted her first project to be a conceptual body of work that she would give to her fans. “To my fans, I am so grateful for everything, and I love you.” She passionately shares as we conclude our interview.
It was clear to see that Lordkez put her all into Testament. The album is filled with religious references as a way of paying homage to her grandfather, who was a priest. Growing up LordKez explored many other religions outside of Christianity, which includes Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism, all to find God.
“I encourage everyone, you know, in a world where things are crazy right now, to believe in something, and if you don’t have anything to believe in, then believe in everything; that’s what I believe.” She adds. Coming from a small town in Kimberly, becoming a global superstar isn’t something that people aspire to become; it seems far-fetched.
Being able to live her dream LordKez shares about her battles that people don’t see. “I remember my grandfather shared something with me. What he said was know who you are, know where you are going and how you are going to get there.” “That can be applied to anything in life; it got me through those difficult moments of self-doubt.” She says.
South African RnB sensation LordKez is poised to make her mark on the international music scene with the release of her highly anticipated debut album Testament. Lordkez is known for her unique sound, soulful vocals, and poignant storytelling.
The release of Testament is most certainly going to propel her into the international spotlight and solidify her position as the next rising star to come out of South Africa. She has an impressive track record of achievements, none more than her rapidly growing fanbase.
The album’s first single is titled “Holy Matrimony”, which was released on the 28th of April. The theme of the song is intimate love and shows the endurance of love accompanied by production from YZDL. When discussing the single LordKez expressed, “I try to paint pictures with my music and ‘Holy Matrimony’ might be one of my personal favourites paintings that I have ever made.”
After the success of ‘Holy Matrimony’, her next single was released on the 11th of May. The record is called ‘Flowers’, which features longtime collaborator Mars Baby. Through this song, she explores themes of acceptance and rejection and the journey of overcoming them. Reflecting on the inspiration behind the song, Lordkez shared, “I was inspired to write about validation and how we, as people, but especially creatives, always find ourselves in a constant internal battle caused by this idea of being validated and getting your flowers.”
Testament, which was released on the 2nd of June, features her next focus song with Bas, who is signed to Dreamville under Interscope. Describing ‘Enthralled’, LordKez explains;
“There is nothing more beautiful than vulnerability and honest conversations. That is what the song captures – the energy between two people that love each other and are brave enough to say it and own it.”
Daniel Young: Listen a lot has happened so far, since the release of your debut project. Do you ever
experience imposter syndrome?
LordKez: You know what’s crazy, the first time I experienced this I was in the studio just listening to
everybody playing their music. I thought to myself wow I’m really not shit; I don’t know why I was
feeling this way because I never felt that way before. I ran to the bathroom and told myself that I
should snap out of it.
Daniel Young: What’s your favourite song that you made on the album and why?
LordKez: I think it would be Testament. The reason why is because that song is full of positive
affirmations. It’s speaking peace over my journey and life. I am very proud of the song and its
produced by Mars Baby. The song itself is me announcing that I am here, in all honesty, I think that I
needed to make that song to make myself feel better.
Daniel Young: Was it difficult to write that song at first and how long did it take?
LordKez: It wasn’t difficult to write. The song took me one day to write I was just super inspired that
day. It normally takes me some time to finish my thoughts but I finished Testament in one recording
session which is great.
Daniel Young: Isn’t it frustrating when a song takes longer than it should?
LordKez: I hate it so much because I’ll have this really good idea and then halfway through I’m like I
want to finish it tomorrow. I’ve also learnt that procrastination is unhealthy. If you tell yourself that
you’re going to finish a song today, then finish it even if the song is shit. You can always come back
to it; at least the song is finished. That is something that I learnt during the process of making the album.
Daniel Young: Do you see yourself getting into production?
LordKez: I think that I would like to do it for someone else first. If I do it for myself then it would end
up being so different and mind-blowing something that my fans aren’t used to. I don’t think that I am
ready for that yet.
Daniel Young: You spoke about producing for other people in your mind, what does that look like
LordKez: I think that it would be between RnB and Pop. Right now I am leaning more towards Pop, I
love myself some Pop music. I also feel like I would be able to write some really good Pop songs. I
don’t know if I would do Hip-hop and rap I think I’ll leave that to the boys!
Daniel Young: When I saw the name of your album, I was expecting a lot of self-introspection and
self-reflection which is something you did a lot of. Can you talk to me about the overall idea that
LordKez: I wanted to create something that hit home, that was closer to me as a person. I came to
realise that with the music that I put out before I never really spoke on deep topics surrounding my
life. Especially making music, everybody just thinks that your life should be perfect all the time, but I
am still human. I wanted to tell my story in a way that wouldn’t come across as boring or self-centred.
The main purpose was to reflect on the good and the bad.
Daniel Young: Were there any songs that didn’t make the album?
LordKez: There are actually so many! That’s the worst part of creating an album, the track listening for
me specifically. I feel so grateful to have a team like mine that say okay this is the direction we are
going into and this is what we’re not going to do. I know that a lot of artists who have full creative
control drop 20-track albums and by the 3rd song, the listener is tired. For this project I needed all the
songs to be cohesive with the theme. As much as each song is different they are the same.
Daniel Young: What songs have your fans gravitated towards the most? Were there any surprises?
LordKez: From what I saw it’s the song with Bas, Enthralled, also Water with Shekinah those two are
really popular right now. The one which surprised me was confessions which I’m so glad that I
added. At some point, I was thinking that confessions is too deep. I didn’t want people to think that I
am a rapper. I have this thing where I don’t want to be classified as a rapper, not that I have
something against them. It’s just don’t expect that from me.
Daniel Young: How was it working with Shekinah?
LordKez: It’s always just such an amazing experience. She is one of the people that I admire because
of how true to herself she always is and how true to her sound she always is as well. For me, I always
enjoy being in the studio with her because she understands me and above all she understands music.
Daniel Young: Why did you choose 12 songs?
LordKez: I chose 12 songs because there were 12 disciples. I also didn’t want to make it too short
because I want to say what I have to say. I originally wanted to drop the project on the 12th of May
but the release date changed. I was really scared about making this project especially since it was my
first time creating a full body of work.
Daniel Young: Did you have any fears while creating Testament?
LordKez: I think not being able to finish it, not being able to create this world and fully immerse
myself within it. There were creative blocks and other people’s perceptions, you know all of the
nonsense. I think the biggest fear was not being able to finish it because I was working on this
project for a year.
Daniel Young: What is the biggest thing that you learnt about yourself in the past year?
LordKez: I think the biggest thing that I learnt about myself is that I have self-sabotaging tendencies.
I have a fear of success which I am over now but also a fear of failure. I am so used to talking myself
out of my own greatness. I think a lot of us experience that where we are so afraid of our own
potential that we don’t even try. I think with this album I really broke through that. This album was
me accepting my mortality. I was extremely scared of dying and even the people around me passing
away. What I also learnt is that the best inspiration is pain. As soon as I am in pain or I experience
sorrow then I make the best music.
Daniel Young: What would you determine as success?
LordKez: Wow, I think over the years, success has come in many shapes and forms. Success for me is
being happy. Being in the state of accepting the things that I cannot change and changing the things
that I can. I think success for me is not knowing what to want next whether that is in terms of life or
Daniel Young: Based on the album and the conversation that we have been having, I wanted to
know are you very religious?
Lordkez: I think that I am spiritual. I remember doing this other interview and they mentioned that
my aesthetic is very Christian. I was raised Christian and spent most of my childhood in the church
because my grandfather was a priest. With this album, I also wanted to honour his memory and the
things that he taught me. I think with regards to my spirituality I have had so many different
journeys. I explored Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism all these different avenues to find God. I needed
to give myself time to do that so that I could know God in every shape and form. My roots are
always going to be in Christianity. Right now, I am very Omni-religious.
Daniel Young: How did the way you were raised help to deal with setbacks and negative
situations while trying to build a music career?
LordKez: Something that my grandfather always taught me, is one thing that he said but it means
three things. He said that I should know who I am, know where I’m going and know how I am going
to get there. You can apply that to anything in life, I found it very grounding because, in moments
that I did feel weak, I thought about myself at 16 years old. At 16 years old all I wanted was
everything that I do have now. I am constantly trying to impress that version of myself. I want to
become someone that my younger cousins and their friends can look up to and aspire to be like.
Something that is very important to me is being a positive influence on the little girls who come from
where I come from and have less than I had. It’s very difficult to get lost in the entertainment
industry and stay true to yourself.
Daniel Young: What one thing you would tell your younger self?
LordKez: What people say, or think is not everything. You can do whatever you want. Something else
that I would also want to hear is that it doesn’t matter what you do if you are happy doing it. Striving
for fickle success meaning for this boyfriend, this girlfriend or even a certain amount of money those
things aren’t real motivators but only things that make you happy will bring about true success. I
think if I had that type of advice I would just live differently. The last thing would it be to not be a
victim of your circumstance. I think that in everything that happened to me in my life, there is always
someone else that is going through worse. You become stronger once you no longer see yourself as
a victim, but you are able to overcome your circumstance.