By: Natasha Archary
One of the most successful South African artists, Lady Zamar joins DJ Keyez on the Ultimate Kaya 959 Top 30.
The star who used to be known as King Zamar, is excited to be bringing out some new music, and it’s about time!
Born in Tembisa in 1987, Yamikani Janet Banda aka Lady Zamar, later moved to Pretoria and was raised in Pretoria West.
She was raised to speak English and Afrikaans and was named after her paternal grandmother, and her name means “Praise.”
“My dad actually named me after his mother, I think he wanted me to have name with meaning and my gran was Chirwa. Yamikani means Praise, as a commandment, so it’s a very deep meaning.”Lady Zamar explains the meaning behind her name
Her love for music started at the age of 6-years when her parents enrolled her in music programmes.
“I was always drawn to music, and when I was 6, my parents enrolled me in a school that had a lot of music programmes. So, I really gravitated towards music quite early. Growing up as a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA), music was a big part of my childhood, and it was an SDA school I was enrolled to.”
Colliding with Lady Zamar
Before releasing her debut album, hip hop was a big influence in her life. Drawn to the culture and sound, rappers like Eminem and 50 Cent were high on her playlists.
“It was a period where RnB and hip hop artists fused sounds so fluidly and it was like I just understood what they were saying. I just kinda found people who liked the sound too and that’s how I ended up at the church-square ciphers.”
Describing herself as the “nerdy, cool chick”, Yamikani was never an outright rebellious teen but she thought she’d one day be a rapper.
Fast forward to 2017 when she dominated with her debut album King Zamar and her single Collide won two South African Music Awards in 2019.
Taking the Most Streamed Song Of The Year and Highest Airplay Composer’s Award, Collide quickly took off and became one of the artist’s biggest tracks.
She learned a lot from her dad who is big on everything multimedia, who taught her more about digital innovation and how it’s changing the game for music.
Her love for language almost saw her leaving the country to pursue a venture in Korea because she felt the opportunities for an artist in SA were limited.
“I had this big plan where I was going to go to Korea to teach English and then go to Scotland and just have this big worldwide adventure. There’s such a big world out there and I just wanted to go out and explore it, you know.”
WATCH: Lady Zamar on The Ultimate Kaya 959 Top 30 with DJ Keyez, talking about her new project
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Since King Zamar dropped, the artist has been keeping somewhat of a low profile, and her 2019 album, Monarch, didn’t quite hit the same levels that her debut did.
Sharing more about her relationship with Junior Taurus, Lady Zamar wrote a song about his son, which she says is one her favourites.
“I don’t like talking about our relationship, it was a very difficult one. I’m a very open person, accommodating and he’s very closed off, so it was very difficult to communicate. But the only reason that it worked is because I understood this one common thing between us and it was that music was a passion.”
The two artists had a huge fight about the 2015 Cotton Candy album they collaborated on, with Lady Zamar sharing that she didn’t have much creative input on it.
“It was just not a nice experience at all because I was just like, I have slaved away, I’ve written so much and I was told I don’t have the ear for this, I don’t have the knack for this.”
The collaboration had her questioning why she was even in the music scene, causing her to doubt herself.
Despite that, the 34-year has reinvented her sound and is ready to bring us something brand new.