Letoya laughs as she says, “I think I sang before I could speak.” After you hear this songbird sing..it’s hard not to believe her. She makes a crowded room come to a stand still, as the vibrations from the beautiful melodies that she sings take your breath away, while breathing life into your soul.
Raised in a musical family, Born to perform…is the perfect description for Letoya. She made her musical debut at the age of 9, when she performed with her father, the legendary, Blondie Makhene, at an AIDS Awareness Concert at the superbowl in Sun City. She shared the stage with the likes of Brenda Fassie, Lucky Dube, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and many more- being the youngest performing artist on that show-performing in front of thousands!
“Being a musician, my Dad never hoped that any one of his daughters would want to follow in his footsteps but it was already too late-the Music Bug had bitten me…and there was no turning back. I pushed-REALLY hard…begging my Dad to give me a chance to do what I love doing the most…and that was to sing. After a while he let me- he even coached me and never let me do less than my best. I guess he saw in me, the same tenacity that pushed him towards his greater self.”
Letoya turned 10 and her dad felt that the budding star was ready for her first international tour with Blondie and Amaqabane. They went to Ghana, Accra for the Panafest, where Letoya brought the audience to tears with her rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You.’ Wait, it gets better…Letoya also got to jam with Stevie Wonder as he played the piano.
Letoya’s musical journey continued to soar as she was asked to perform the closing song for the Commonwealth Games at only 11 years of age!
In 1998, at only 14 years of age, Letoya and her sisters formed the ever popular girl group, s’Kool Girlz. Singing and dancing for the youth of South Africa and giving their parents a lot to look forward to, with ‘Pampiri’ and other songs from their album and their high energy performances! Through their music and their HIV/AIDS Awareness work, s’Kool Girlz were officially asked by ex-president, Thabo Mbeki, to join the South African government and the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS, adding ‘HIV/AIDS Ambassador’, to this young star’s already big profile.
Two years later, s’Kool Girlz released their second album, called ‘The Party Goes On’, with a slightly more mature feel to it, but still appealing to the youth. With songs like ‘Nomathemba’ and ‘Never Leave You’, the industry grew to respect this group and in all the nine provinces, the girls were welcomed with open arms.
After the sudden and unexpected death of their mom, Agnes Makhene, the girls pretty much put a stop to live performances and recordings, using the time to grieve and heal.
Later on, Letoya started recording tracks with other artists, featuring on albums such as ‘Time’ by Hugh Masekela, with the track ‘Old Folks’ which also featured the star studded Kwaito group, Trompies. Not forgetting the hit song, ‘Laku Shon’ Ilanga’, which she recorded with the band, The Brand New Second Hands. Letoya then went on to feature on Blondie Makhene’s album, ‘Sthunywa Sam’, leaving the nation wanting more.
Letoya’s long awaited album will soon be accessible to her fans but until then, you can here her voice all over the air waves as she continues to lay down vocals for local and international commercials.
Commercials to look out for include:
- Pick n Pay
- Always (Nigeria)
- Scotts Emulsion
- Burn Foundation
- Soft n Free
- Giddys Electric Express
- Arrive Alive
- BP express
- Kelloggs Special K
- KFC Super hero “I am what I am” track
- Nissan Royco
- Southern Sun
- Sunlight 2 in 1
- Virgin Mobile