Shanti Lo talks of the his ever-evolving style

A lot of people have exceptional voices and can hit those high notes, but not all are born to be stars. Shanti Lo is both a talented singer and a super star. He is one of the few true stars who have proved their pedigree and longevity in song. Timeout caught up with him for a chat.

“My projects have always been influenced by the times,” says the man who has in the 10 years he has been in music, has reinvented his character with changing times. Three distractive albums under his belt (Koi, self titled Shanti Lo and the latest offering Lerato),  Shanti Lo, whose birth name is Tumediso Loeto, says he has never thought to define his sound, “I’ve always thought to leave it to the listener to make that decision and appreciate the music in their own way. Some will call it jazz, some afro- fusion, whatever it is, they make the decision.”

The latest offering, Lerato, has been well received, and never one to miss an opportunity, Shanti Lo, followed up with a launch that would be just as exceptional a few weeks ago. “For the album launch we didn’t have a set theme, I had a fantastic team with Trevor Ramolemane as the music director, Andrew Kola and Mandy Mash fusing the show and Bonolo, Mpho and Tony designing the costumes,” he says.

He usually does a lot of these things himself, including designing the costumes (he is fashion designer), but this time he left it to other professionals, enabling him to focus more on the music and the act on the night – a decision which, with rave reviews coming from those who attended the show, seemed to have worked pretty well.

Shanti Lo says with his latest album he intends on reaching a global audience and surpassing the success of his previous work. “Being able to have two of the songs in a movie was a great achievement and the album did a lot better than we had anticipated so I hope to go beyond that this time.”

The musician’s feminine features and dress sense has been an issue of discussion in many quarters but that does not seem to bother him much. “The moment you put me in a suit, shave my head and try and make me macho it would not work ‘cause it’s not me. The way I act is just me being myself.” While many would have thought Shanti Lo would happily join the chorus of those advocating for gay rights, he is not. In fact this is the subject he shies from engaging in, suffice to say, “my music is equality for everyone and that includes the gay community.”

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