When we see her name on flyers and posters or hear her voice, the events we imagine are far from the ones that tell her story. Going by the name Empress DJ Lyaness, she strives to uplift other people’s spirits through music. Yet in her own journey, she faces challenges. And like everyone else, sometimes “life” drains all her vibe. On our last talk with her, she encouraged others to pursue their dreams savagely. Now Lyaness reveals how she lost it all but still found new strength to roar again.
A daring leap out of the comfort zone
Stepping into a new territory“From the last time we communicated, I have since relocated to South Africa. I started off in Margate and used to have some events at a local club there named Senzi’s. I then moved to Pretoria where I have performed at clubs in Pretoria and Roodepoort. I have also performed alongside Zimbabwean artists who have been here on tour, Tocky Vibez, Hwinza, Maggikal and Platinum Prince. I have a radio set on After 5 Radio every Friday between 2100 and 2200 named DJ mix Fridays with DJ Lyaness.
I’ve also released a mixtape that’s invading the streets of Pretoria named Dancehall Massacre Volume 1 alongside Bossman Injection Sound and MC Killy Kille and since it was received so well, volume 2 is now loading. I had 2 Birthday bashes this year as a mark of the rejuvenation of my music career.”
The DJ left Zimbabwe for South Africa to give herself time to recover after her equipment got stolen. Losing the equipment, “derailed me especially because this was done by people I know”.
The last Hashe Talk we had with DJ Lyanesss
Finding new strength after the loss of equipment and the betrayal
Even though DJ Lyaness had moved to SA to rest and recover she did not immediately get into a sabbatical. “I started off in Margate, South Africa and there I did some events at Senzi’s Club but it was mostly amapiano”, she said. “I do play amapiano but my favorite genre is hardcore dancehall which is not popular on that side”, explained Lyaness, “so I started getting distracted and DJing less till I moved to Pretoria.” However, being occupied was not enough to get her back on track. “In Gauteng dancehall is well received and a lot of Zimbabweans also reside there but I was still caught up in anger and resentment that I preferred to stay indoors and became more introverted. When I went out, I preferred restaurants and private functions.”
“I met some people I’ve worked alongside with in the music industry who would encourage me to get back in the game but I would refuse.” Lyaness soon eased into a new comfort zone. “Covid 19 then struck and I was fortunate enough for the first part to take time to rest and rediscover myself. I went to Bloemfontein with some friends who were ironically artists. We spent most of the time on music, in the studio. I tried not to participate and just rest and explore Bloemfontein but we had lockdown restrictions and curfews. Eventually, the DJ and artist in me started to resurface.”
Where your heart is…
“When the lockdown restrictions lessened, I was now in love with music again. I also became more outgoing such that even in clubs that are strictly amapiano I would attract DJs and MCs’ attention. I would find my way to the stage with no resistance. It was always a vibe. I ended up getting back in the game after realizing I couldn’t run away from musical calling and gift.” There was both passion and tactic in getting back to the scene. “I then resuscitated my DJ career, working with mainly Zimbabwean artists and promoters.”
“I chose to make my comeback with them because dancehall is the genre, I fell in love with to the extent that it made me a DJ. It’s my thang, so I knew I would branch out and mix genres, but I also knew that it’s the genre that made me. Dancehall is my absolute love, and it would give me confidence and fuel my passion. It turns out I was right. I’m the practical example in flesh and blood of the saying that the road you take to run away from your destiny is the road that leads you to it.”
“Yes this is the return of Empress DJ Lyaness. When I began resurfacing in the music industry, I got encouragement from South Africans and Zimbabweans alike. I remember going to an event and the club manager asked me to play old school kwaito and house. After South Africans old enough to be my father came to me to give me thanks and words of encouragement, I found it profoundly humbling.
I purchased some of my DJ equipment after receiving advice from an amazing lady. She told me that God chose me as a vessel for this gift for a reason and I must honor that. The music industry has lost so much talent so far. With the likes of Oliver Mtukudzi and Souljah Love passing, talent should be added not subtracted from the industry to strengthen it.”
..there you will find your treasure
Larissa ‘s 2022 words of encouragement come from an extract of The Alchemist, a book by Paulo Coelho that I was encouraged by a friend Eddie Zviitwah of Legends of Kebab Premier to read after my machinery got stolen and I was feeling sour, and these are “wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure”
“This time I’m starting from experience not from scratch. My goal was to inspire my son and other women to pursue their dreams so I took the initiative to be a practical example. I also wanted to inspire my son and other women to pursue their dreams so I took the initiative to be a practical example.