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‘I literally just tell my own honest story,’ Congolese-Canadian pop star LU KALA earns first-ever Juno nominations

The Juno-nominated pop artist LU KALA shares her “Pretty Girl Era” journey and how she embodies the Hennessy motto, “Never Stop, Never Settle,” both on and off the stage.

The Congolese-Canadian singer and songwriter  joined The Brandon Gonez Show for a Hennessy Conversation talking about her African roots, first Juno nominations, becoming a breakthrough pop artist and how she faces criticism. 

Growing up in a big family

Lusamba Vanessa Kalala, better known as LU KALA talks about growing up in a big African family. She says she was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and her first language was speaking French. The pop artist moved to Canada at the age of three and grew up in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood.

The second youngest of eight siblings, she says she was the entertainer in the family. Showing Brandon how she grooved with the family she began singing and vibing with Brandon to a reggae classic, Mr.Vegas’ “Heads High.”

“I was giving the concert to the family, I was like whether you like it or not you’re going to hear me sing and dance – period,” she said. 

Although she doesn’t remember growing up in Congo she expresses her pride of being from Africa and said, “Are you seeing the days we’re living in right now?”

“It’s cool to be African,” she continued. 

She says growing up downtown she was able to witness culture at home and walking to school. LU KALA also credits her childhood memories because she believes it impacted her personality now as being an open person. 

Dealing with criticism

LU KALA gets personal about how she’s navigated with criticism and negative comments about her weight. She says she’s been a big girl her whole life and people have criticized her for being plus-size. Meanwhile, calling out the bullies for shaming her appearance, her positive spirit shines brighter and keeps her going despite what the haters have to say.

“I’m not bulletproof, but I’m close to bulletproof,” LU KALA said.

She said she learned how to be confident early in life and credits the bullies that were once mean to her because it catapulted her to becoming a “bombshell.”

Pretty Girl Era

The pop star’s viral hit song, “Pretty Girl Era” earned her first Juno nomination for ‘Single of the Year’. She says she was on her way to the studio and came across a tweet that inspired her lyrics for the song. 

“It was like my dream girl is me and my full potential,” she said.

As a result, it inspired her to bring the words to life and she turned it into a hit song. She also expressed her happiness that the song became a mantra for people to feel good about themselves when they’re feeling low. 

She also shared that men have revealed to her that they love listening to the song in the car, but with the windows up because they’re embarrassed if others judge them.

However her message to them is, “No, you’re allowed to feel beautiful, you’re allowed to feel like, hey you’re it and you’re proud of yourself.” 

The “Pretty Girl Era” artist has also been nominated for Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the Canadian award show and is thrilled about the upcoming event. 

“I literally just tell my own honest story and I’m happy that people listening to the music can relate and see themselves in my music,” she said. 

Watch the full interview with LU KALA on The Brandon Gonez Show YouTube channel to get to know more about “Your fav Pop Star” by clicking here. 



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