“Being confident is not cocky,” says Afro-Pop star Lyle Anthony as he joined our interview shirtless, flipping his curls. Lyle definitely was naked but not afraid to speak about his new album, “The Love Project”. Gaye Magazine's Latesa Lins exclusively caught up with Lyle to learn more about his budding career.
Latesa Lins (LL): First of all, I love your hat, it’s so stylish!
Lyle Anthony: Thank you, I really appreciate it, it’s actually a South African brand. I love to support my people.
The birth of Lyle's debut album took place in Los Angeles, Lyle's new home. Miles away from his birth home, South Africa, which he reassures is still in his every day life, Lyle shared his journey from being with family and his nephew Noah in a third world country to receiving a talent visa to live out his dreams of making magic in LA.
With a message of love, unity and joy, Lyle's Love Project has already touched many hearts. The 5 track album was released on Thursday November 17th of this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anthony saw a need for a fun loving, happy song during a time that left so many saddened and lost.
“I felt that so many people, my people, needed a reason to smile, laugh, dance and love again” .
Get a taste of Lyle Anthony's vibe with his hit song, "Love Wins" below:
Latesa Lins (LL): Now, I want to dive right into the album release party on November 17th, how was it?
Lyle Anthony: It was honestly everything I could’ve asked for and imagined. So many people came out and the show was a great success, people were howling and screaming and it was magical. So when you download the album, make sure everyone downloads it.
LL: Of course, speaking of the album, what was the process on getting everything together?
Lyle: So initially I wrote, “My Favorite” which was a totally different song, totally different producer. Then I hooked up with the We Dope Production team and created the next track which is, “Love Wins” and all of that stuff . I co-produced and all. They came up with such a masterpiece, like this is the sound, this is what I have envisioned for my album. Ya know pop is something I love, but I’m also a South African and I love to bring Afro aspects into my style. I was just like we have to keep going, and then I lost my brother in February of this year. So I wrote, “I deserve”, “World Glide”, “ Bless Up” and it was just a healing process to me being able to write my feelings.
"The Love Project" debut symbolized the 9th month of the day the pop Afro star lost his older brother Lee. Unfortunately, he was tragically murdered in his home town of Johannesburg.
The number 9 represents completion, perfection and the end of a cycle, which Lyle explains is the end of the mourning and the beginning of celebrating his brother and his life through Love, Forgiveness and starting over in this new normal.
Lyle: It says freedom is coming tomorrow, is like the tagline of it. When we’re able to know that we deserve better, deserve love, you deserve happiness. If you are kings and queens and all of this, then we can tap into that…we are able to really flourish so, “I Deserve” is definitely a song about healing, wholeness, and choosing to be there for yourself.
LL: You also chose to be an advocate for people who aren’t confident in themselves just yet, what’s your secret to confidence?
Lyle: It’s the spirituality...and faith. I grew up in the church. I was also hurt by the church, but I had to realize that at the end of the day, I am who I am and the greatest love of all, again that’s my song, [which] I performed at an opening. It really resonated with me, like my process through self-love and healing. I realized they made us believe as the LGBTQ community that God doesn’t love us and care for us because we’re different. It’s a lot of me digging deep within myself to discover that no - I’m a king! I’m more than what people say I am, and like I said, I’m here to be a voice for people and advocate for people who still have yet to find that in our community. I’m here, I’m going to do it as much as possible.
LL: You actually started out on the talent show, "Popstars" in South Africa. How did it help start your career?
Lyle: Yes, the highlight of my career was winning “PopStars” it’s a International hit show that is similar to American idol. I was on the PopStars Hall of Fame as one of the South African winners and that’s essentially where it started, and from there I was signed to EMI records, did a lot of shows. Then in 2010, I was able to perform on the same stage as the Black Eyed Peas and Shakira. I just knew I was just a distance from something great!
LL: Speaking of great, that kind of reminds me of your album cover, Haha! How was the photo shoot for it?
Lyle: Listen, it was a very naked photo shoot but it was also done with someone I really trusted, Brandon Summers. He’s a phenomenal gay photographer and I trust him and I knew that he would get the right shot that I needed and we did. There is a vulnerability in being naked so that’s why just being in touch with every aspect of who you are and your body, you know how to pull off a shot like that. People are like 'oh my gosh he’s naked again', I’m like, 'I’m just OK with every aspect of my life'.
LL: Brandon Summers understood the assignment. So being from South Africa and traveling a lot, how was it coming out?
Lyle: I was dating in my last relationship in Miami in a long-distance relationship. I was living a gay life overseas and when I got back to South Africa I was just like absolutely not going back to hiding in the closet. It felt good, it felt liberating… I felt I was living my truth finally, not hiding, not trying to be in the shadow for anybody. Just being who I am. At the time it was a little bit of stuff with my parents trying to understand...then a good friend of mine said to me, 'just imagine how long it took yourself to accept yourself, so give people time'. But their time is not up to you and it shouldn’t have any impact on your on mindset of where you’re going because ultimately we’re all healing from ourselves...
LL: I think your friend gave good advice.
Lyle: Yeah that’s what I think. Just focus on yourself, your journey, make sure if you’re good with yourself it doesn’t matter what anybody else says.
LL: Well said! And I know you just dropped this album on November 17th, but are there any upcoming projects that you’re working on?
Lyle: I think for now I’ll just be promoting the album getting it out there, doing a bunch of performances. I wanna do a club tour very soon. I really wanna get myself out there. The album is so fun and so full of love and the dynamic that I think so many people need. So yeah, in terms of the next project that is the project.
LL: I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the tour dates. Is there any thing else you’d like to share with your supporters & the gayes?
Lyle: My biggest wish for every single one of you, Whitney Houston said it best, 'the greatest love of all is the one inside of you and me', and if we are able to learn to love ourselves so deeply so intensely that we know who the fuck we are.
LL: well thank you so much for your time
Lyle: Yes it was so nice to meet you I would love to do an ATL Tour with Gaye Magazine soon!
LL: Yass! I’m excited for you to come down! See you then!