Lira doesn't seem like the accountant type. But before the award-winning singer made history with her albummy Love, which featured the most- played song to hit the South African Hot 100 Billboard Chart, that's exactly what she planned to be. Her mother pushed her, telling her to pursue the dream of being a singer. It's a dream that has certainly been realised. Lira was nominated for four South African Music Awards for her album Soul in Mind, which was released at the end of 2008, and her band was nominated for two more. And now that she's one of South Africa's hottest role models, she takes her job every part of it quite seriously. "I wear South African designers,� she says, indicating her support through her ensemble of the day, an impeccable outfit of a pale brown blouse, skinny jeans and gold, strappy sandals with a kitten heel. There are parallels between Lira and another South African style icon, Miriam Makeba. Lira has performed alongside Makeba and recently posed for a local magazine in a recreation of a Drum cover, which featured Makeba. "I saw in her what I wanted to become,� says Lira. The young singer explains her work is not just about the music. The musicians who work with her in the studio are not musicians with the traditional connotations of irresponsibility. This is their job, she says, they have mortgages, they need security. The practical part of her advises fellow artists to do a course in law or business, and friends who are accountants and lawyers to explore something creative. It's all about balance.�Eamon Allan

Lunch spot: Orient, Johannesburg