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Lex LaFoy – Mami is Hustling Hard

Jifa Azumah

Lex’s performance days started as early as 2004 whilst in matric at events such as the Hip Hop Indaba and at The Bat Center. In 2007 while studying at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal she become a mother to a beautiful baby girl  ‘Satiah’. Moving forward to  2012 she then obtained her degree in Social Science majoring in Psychology & Philosophy.

She then decided to move to Johannesburg to pursue her music career further, leaving behind her daughter with her grandparents.

It’s not easy being away but for me as a mother it gives me peace knowing she’s in a loving environment and I’m grateful she understands that mommy is hustling hard. 

Lex LaFoy has a very catchy yet different ring to it, where did this name originate?

“I started performing as “Leigh.L” short for my full name Ash-Leigh LaFoy, not long after I discovered a name that embodied my love for language and words in “Lexikon”. I performed under this moniker from 2005 until 2013. After 8 years building a brand and a name that was synonymous with conscious rap and spiritual poetry I hungered for something new creatively. I wanted to return to the fun lightness in music I felt as a child and felt the need to move away from heavy serious topics and bombastic words that couldn’t be understood by children, yet all that I’d become and attained through academic artistic spaces clung to my name and so I needed to do some shedding. After relocating to Johannesburg in 2012 once completing my degree I began working with Luthando Sithole (the son of Dr Sipho Sithole founder of Native Rhythms).After bouncing ideas with Luthando I felt whole in changing my stage name to Lex LaFoy – Lex, short for Lexikon and LaFoy being my surname”.

Photo: Afrobeats Moz

You started performing whilst in matric.  When you look back today, do you believe that it was destiny calling?

“Definitely! I’m a firm believer in following one’s passion and aligning with one’s gifts. Thankfully I never had to look far. I started writing songs and poetry as a child and freestyled before I was literate. My challenge was more with those around me. My family, being conditioned by their own upbringing and beliefs saw music as a hobby and not a career. They’d almost had me convinced for a moment too, yet once I finished my degree in Social Science at UKZN and they asked me what I wanted to do, I’d felt I served my time and knew I deserved to do me. To be me. So I left to pursue my career as an artist”, she said.

How did becoming a mom at a young age change your views and perspective on life?

“The moment I became pregnant I started becoming more aware of the words we use. I understood the life within me was constantly listening and absorbing and so I wanted to give her the best introduction to life on earth. I kept away from all negativity, spent my time studying, performing and being around people I felt supported the best energy possible. Learning to look after someone taught me to look after myself and others better. I formed a new level of respect for parents and life as a whole. My daughter’s existence grounds me in the most beautiful ways, knowing I have someone to answer to and provide for. Once she was born I also understood that the realization of my dreams and goals aren’t only for me, but for her too. Knowing she sees the example I lead encourages me more. I want her to know all things are possible and that she never has to give up. That I will support her dreams and mine”.

Photo: Sabelo Mkhabela

As a mother how important is it to use your music as a voice of positivity for your daughter?

“Because my music career started before her, its important for me to continue my organic journey and not change who I am. I realised that in my first year of motherhood when all the mothers in my family were guiding and teaching me. I soon had to distinguish between objective information and subtle forms of programming. I had to see that these pre-existing roles of what a mother or father is, is essentially a collection of opinions of others, and that if I wanted to own my experience as a mother, offering my daughter the best possible, I was going to have to continue being myself and not conform to the wishes of others. I understand she chose me, and I chose her, and I choose to honour that, she explains.

How do you balance your hustle and motherhood?

“I’m very blessed to have the support of my family, who watch my daughter while I hustle between Jozi, Durban and other countries. Although I sometimes take on contracts or projects based work involving some of my other skills (events, writing, production etc) I’m in the process of building enough consistency to afford to have her with me full time. As a family, with my daughter’s suggestion, we’ve decided to let her stay in Durban until it’s time for high school as to not disturb her stability. Thankfully I visit her as often as possible, making it easier for both her and I to cope”.

My daughter and music are….

My Life!

Take us through the journey of being a female independent artist whilst trying to establish yourself not only as an artist but a business woman?

“In the last 2 years my understanding of how to go about this has changed drastically. Luthando told me everything would be different once I turn 30 and it’s true. So much of my 20’s was spent trying to please other people. Trying to fit in. Trying to gain momentum through surface or image level success. Yet now that I’m in my 30’s I realise working on myself is my primary work. I no longer chase but attract. As an avid student of Law of Attraction I now understand that I need to align with everything I want. That I cant receive while predominantly feeling like I lack, and that happiness, no matter how small, attracts happiness. I now work with my close sister friends more and we have our own community that shares the same values. We are spiritual  loving, honest and focused. We are parents and we acknowledge ourselves as being amazing just as we are. It feels so good working with people I love and who share the same values.

Photo: Llewellyn “Juice” Makhanya

Being independent means I lead my vision. I’m open to being signed and having a manager on the terms that they align with my vision or broader. Never less. So for the time being it means I do most of the work. It also means I compete in a industry where female’s I’m compared to have entire teams. I’m quite chuffed by this”, she says.

What has been your biggest achievement and memorable highlight of your career thus far?

When I worked at Living Room (Maboneng) as a hostess, this December past I got to welcome, meet and party with Jay-Z, Beyonce and their friends. Taking shots as we sang happy birthday to Jigga, almost bumping into Queen Bey on a full floor of A-listers, speaking to her road manager for 2 hours prior to their arrival and sipping the finest Cognac as a reward to myself afterwards. Then doing my Okay Africa shoot with Sabelo Mkhabela a couple of hours later and then performing at the first Lyricist Lounge SA the Wednesday. The entire first week of December 2018 showed me flames. Then the first week of Jan I got an offer to perform in China. I said no because they wouldn’t allow me vacay often enough to see my daughter. But I know God got me. So I look forward to more weeks like this”.

Are there any new projects you are currently working on or have released thus far?  

“22 just dropped. I’m really excited about that. I also have an EP with Otarel, Reverb and Inspekta Gadget coming out soon. Our first hit single is called “Do Dat Dance”. It’s a banger! I’ve also got another EP I started with a homey by the name of QD, and a couple of other dope singles and features. People can still find my debut album Honey Bass online too”, she shares.

Lastly, what can we expect from you in the rest of “20 nice things” and in the near future?

Many reasons to celebrate. Oh and my children’s book titled “Queen Shalabeama and the Star Children”. Hopefully I have time to release that this year with all else happening”.

 

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Cover Image Courtesy: Llewellyn “Juice” Makhanya

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