Lloyiso Gijana on being signed to New York label - ‘I manifested this’

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Lloyiso could soon be jetting off to New York after signing with an international label.
Lloyiso could soon be jetting off to New York after signing with an international label.

He's making big moves, literally. He's the first South African artist to sign to Republic Records, who have Drake, The Weeknd and Ariana Grande, Pop Smoke, and Post Malone on their books.

Singer and songwriter Lloyiso Gijana is overjoyed and can't wait to move overseas as soon as it is possible. 

He left Ambitiouz Entertainment and signed a deal with the New York-based label Republic Records and Universal Music Group South Africa. Simultaneously, he released his debut single titled Seasons.

This proves hard work and consistency pay off, he says.

He started making Tik Tok and YouTube videos singing covers until he was signed by Ambitiouz Entertainment, headed by CEO Kgosi Mahumapelo, who administered the agreement with Universal Music Group and Republic Records to enable Lloyiso to move teams.

“We believe the world is ready to be touched by Lloyiso,” Kgosi says in a statement.

“Partnering with Universal South Africa and Republic Records, who both have a proven track record of successfully breaking new talents on a global scale, will ensure that the world gets to hear and experience raw South African talent.”

Lloyiso tells Drum about the smooth transition from one company to the next.

“I had been putting up a lot of covers online. I put up Seasons on Soundcloud and received a call from them asking to meet up.”

In disbelief, the news only sunk in when he saw the contract. 

“I just got into my car and cried once I saw the contract,” he says.

“Ambitiouz understood and put me first. We did the deal, and I went over to Republic.”

He's so excited to be doing what he loves. After years of singing at church and school concerts, in 2015 he entered Idols SA and made it to the top five. 

“I entered Idols because I wanted to be on a big stage and have more people hear me.” 

Growing up, he held imaginary concerts at his backyard in the Eastern Cape. 

“I used to imagine a crowd of people watching me, and I would shout out as though I’m performing for a crowd. I have always manifested this, and seen it even before it happened,” he says.

Last year he featured in DJ Zinhle’s song Indlovu which opened many doors for him. 

“I had been working before Indlovu. It came out during the pandemic and everyone needed motivation. But I am always been working on myself, drafting, and making sure I become a better person and reach international heights. So being signed to Republic was a manifestation,” Lloyiso says.

He intentionally added the second L to his name after being often mistaken for Loyiso Bala. 

“I think he is the one getting more annoyed for being mistaken for me,” he says. “The older generation used to mistake me for him. But he did a video about me and how proud he is and how far I’ve come.” 

Both coming from Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, he receives the joke well.

“I usually laugh it off. But people don’t know that I can also imitate Loyiso Bala. I can sing like him,” he says. “I used to listen to his music.”

Born into a musical family, and the third child out of four, Lloyiso grew up in a big home with cousins. He spent most of his time with his grandmother and cousins in a house full of love.

”I am from a truly musical family. My sister is an amazing singer, but she doesn’t want to sing. All my cousins can sing and at home, we owned a Zion Church. So music was a day-to-day activity.”

He is the only one making a living through music though.

“Many people say it’s a gift. I wouldn’t have the drive if it wasn’t a calling. I have sung all my life even at school.”

Signing to an international brand means in a year or so, he will be leaving South Africa for New York.

“I am going to be relocating in due time. Because of Covid, nothing is set as yet. In the next year or so, I will be leaving. I am really excited about how they say my name, and the dynamics, learning and being international.”

He hopes to one day feature Adele, Travis Scott, and Sam Smith.

“Most especially Adele, that would be a life-changing feature for me,” he says.

“I have a big international feature coming next year, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise for everyone,” he says.

“I cannot wait for everyone to hear my collaboration with the huge artists. But this year, I will work on my production, my craft, the singles, and music.”

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