Superstar Lira on road trips, speed limits and changing tyres

Multi-platinum award winning South African soul vocalist Lira is also an ambassador for Audi. Susan Hayden interviewed her about cars, her driving style and who she’d like to be in the back of a limo with.

Most of us have driven a piece of junk at some point in our lives. What was the first car you owned, and do you have any funny jalopy stories?

My first car was tiny but very reliable. It never broke down on me ever. I used to be the only one who had a car in the band so I’d have to pack four guys with their instruments into this tiny Ford Fiesta. We would weigh it down so much that whenever we drove fast or over even the slightest uneven part of the road, it would skid. It got me everywhere – my little “Nunus” as I used to call it.

Do you think women appreciate different things in a motorcar than men, and if yes, what?

I think so. I think some of the most basic things are comfort, safety and style. I have been driving Audis for the last five years and I especially love the aesthetics and the technology on board their cars.

What do you look for in a car?

A good solid drive, safety features and aesthetics. Also, the stuff I’ve grown accustomed to includes a Bluetooth telephone and a navigation system.

What is your driving style – fast and furious or slow and sedate?

I have calmed down over the years from being a furiously fast driver to being a more conservative driver. I keep to the speed limits and I’m calmer on the road.

What music are you listening to in your car right now?

I have my entire collection of songs loaded onto my car via SD card. So it’s everything from pop rock, to Lauryn Hill to the young Aretha Franklin to Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba.

You’re going on a road trip. Who or what do you take along, and why?

My own music is great company for long road trips. I take road trips often because I enjoy driving out of the city into big open spaces. I pack lots of snacks and drinks that I can easily reach while I drive and, of course, I take along good company.

Can you change a tyre and replace your oil?

Several years ago, I was driving with my girlfriends and we had a tyre burst. All but one of us were ready to pull someone over and ask for assistance. One of my girlfriends took charge and changed the tyre while we assisted. I was so impressed that I made it a point to learn. So now, yes I can change a tyre, but I’ve never changed oil.

Do you ever get road rage, and what annoys you most about other drivers?

I only have that when I’m having a bad day, in which case everybody gets on my nerves. I’ve expressed it more in how I drive but I’ve never had a screaming contest with anyone. However, I’ve had some really aggressive moments on the freeway where things could have gotten ugly. Like I said, I have calmed down tremendously since then.

What’s the craziest place you’ve ever driven?

Ghana… Totally freaked me out. I have no desire to drive there. There is no courtesy among drivers and everyone does whatever they want. It often creates chaos and road jams.

You’re in the back of a limo en route to a fabulous event. Which celeb is sitting beside you sharing your bottle of Cristal?

Honestly, I’d love for it to be Oprah and hopefully the event is private and she does not have to be the “Oprah” that we all see on TV. She has her guard down and she’s having fun!

Look out for Lira’s interview in O, The Oprah Magazine on page 124 of the December 2011 issue.

Lira’s new album Rise Again is due to be released in January 2012.