Lize Ehlers or just Lize, is one of the most versatile performers in the country as an actress, songstress and a poet. With a background in classic music, she has created a style of her own, embracing Hip-hop, Jazz and spoken world, in her four albums.
Lize has traveled the world with her music and acting career, and she has been regarded as one of the most respected female artists in the country. “There are various versions of me, I have to respect and celebrate each one at the right occasion,” she says.
Born and raised in a small town of Tsaraxa-aibes, better known as Mariental, Lize’s passion started while she was schooling at the Mariental High School in 2004, where she was chosen as a head girl, as well as the First Youth President. “I always liked leadership and hard work, I like dignity and integrity. That doesn’t mean we do not fail miserably from time to time.”
Although her late parents always encouraged her to sing, she says her real inspiration is her husband, Hendrik Ehlers, who also paid for her first three years at classical singing training at the Windhoek School of Singing.
“I did a Singing Certificate through Trinity London which was followed by another three years of contemporary training through Windhoek Singing Academy. So I can safely say I have about eight years of singing training behind me,” says Lize, adding that apart from all the daily You Tube tutorials and the experience of creating four albums and various singles since 2010 up to date, she still loves making music.
“I am working on some amazing musical projects now to be revealed at the end of 2017,” she revealed.
Apart from the two Socially Responsible awards from Namibian Music Awards (NAMAs) in 2014, she was also honoured with the Encourager Award at the AMTC SHINE convention in Orlando, Florida, Best Rock/Alternative Award at NAMAs in 2015 and Best Live Performer and Most Socially Responsible Artist Awards at NAMAs last year.
She relates that her challenges in the music industry was only her physical and vocal and health has been difficult when she was quite ill in 2016. “My body just wanted to rest, but my schedule did not allow it. So now, I am focusing on taking care of my wellbeing otherwise I will have no voice to use in my future,” she says.
Lize also made history on the local music scene when she was the first Namibia artist to sell her work through Musica since 2014.
“It was a great honour to be the first Namibian (still situated in Namibia and not part of a compilation album) to be sold at Musica. This is because of my distribution deal through South African Distribution Company NEXT with DDD and Sony BMG International,” she says.
Lize, who also regards herself as a proud mother, is fluent in English, Afrikaans and German, but sings in different languages such as French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Xhosa, Zulu and Damara Nama.
She is mostly known for her impressive skills in yodeling, rapping, chanting and fluency in many genres of music, especially jazz, world, pop and African jive. The known message music maker, is now on a mission to tell stories of change, love and the power of showing up through her music.
Her commitment to develop Namibian music is visible and constant as Founder & Director of Song Night, a platform nurturing the Namibian sound by injecting fresh blood into the veins of the Namibian music industry.
On her acting part, Lize was a musical director of the acclaimed Joseph & the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat, which was staged at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) some years ago, and she also received standing ovations for her role in Meisie Van Mariental, an adapted one woman play based on Willy Russel’s Shirley Valentine, directed by Sandy Rudd.
On her musical journey, Lize’s albums, Fairy Circle Love, African Cleavage, Change and Heal continues to thrill local music lovers and is indeed enjoying massive airplay. In 2013, Lize made another impressive move when she became a facilitator of the The Gumboot Girls, which is a mentor programme for young women and girls who put on gumboots and stomp out prejudice and violence. This show is also a space to talk about values, self-defense and various other life important topics.
Lize was the Most Socially Responsible Artist of the Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) in 2014 and 2016 and she says this is because of her great passion for her community’s wellbeing and growth.
Lize has ploughed back tirelessly since April 2011 to mentor and develop upcoming musicians through Song Night. This is a free platform that supports upcoming singers by providing free auditions, rehearsals using a professional band, voice training and a professional stages to for newcomers to gain experience and to get to know themselves as people and singers on stage.
She has performed at some of the most famous gigs in the country such as 25th Celebration of Namibia’s Independence in 2015, for the Inauguration of Namibia’s third President, Hage Geingob. She also performed in Rwanda, Florida and South Africa. She notes that the gigantic crowds have influenced the respect and understanding that she has for the power of music.
Apart from music, Lize was also nominated as the Namibian Ambassador of the Arts in 2013 and is the recipient of the top five Standard Bank Women of Excellence Awards. She also received the Best Actress Award in Namibia for her role as Leah B, a play directed by Tanya Terblanche.
This year, Lize is expanding her listener demographic to children and their parents to have a shared literature and emotional listening experience through the children’s album she is currently working on. “The nation can expect me to work hard in making the Lize Ehlers brand even more international.”In five years’ time, Lize sees herself running the Song Night Agency in full force to offer high quality performers for local corporate functions, while running well-updated databases with various performers to choose from. “I see myself helping my two youngest children get ready to get their driver’s licenses and to see more of the world with my family.