Lucky Dube Biography
Last updated: 11/17/2014 03:03:03 AM
Lucky was born on 3rd August,1964, in Ermelo, Eastern Transvaal, South Africa. At the age of 9 Lucky was chosen as library assistant at his school. His desire to learn about the rest of the world and South Africa's controversial history had him immediately immersed in the world of literature.It was here that he became acquainted with the Rastafarian religion, discovering it in an Encyclopedia. He also read about the music which is synonymous with Rastafarianism - REGGAE. His interest grew the more he read and found out, and soon he was working and earning enough money to buy Peter Tosh albums (which were the only Reggae albums available in South Africa at the time). Whilst he was at school he founded his first band - THE SKYWAY BAND - and raised enough money to buy his first guitar from a stage play he produced. His talents soon came to the attention of Richard Siluma, who was a distant relative and a record producer, and it was clearly evident to Richard that Lucky had a huge talent and a wonderful potential as a mbaqanga singer.
In 1979 Lucky launched his career as a mbaqanga singer and along with future slave members Thutukani Cele and Chris Dlamini recorded an album in 1982 as a member of the band THE LOVE BROTHERS entitled MBAQANGA. In the next 3 years Lucky went on to release his debut solo album entitled LENGANE NGEYETHA which spawned his first hit single and went gold. His next album KUKUWE also went gold. He subsequently released another two Zulu traditional albums.
During 1985 and without the knowledge of his record company, Teal Records, Lucky and Richard went into the studio and recorded "Rastas Never Die" - the first ever reggae album to be recorded in South Africa.Because of the political situation and censorship in the government controlled media it did not reach the airwaves and was banned immediately. The album gained awareness but did not sell well. Record company executives demanded a return back to traditional Zulu pop music. Lucky featured in his first movie - Getting Lucky - and was involved in producing the soundtrack. In 1986 Lucky's second reggae album was released through GRC and entitled - THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN.
Richard and Lucky also recorded an album under the name of 'Oom Hansie' which was a Afrikaans/Zulu rap album and entitled 'Help My Krap'.
The beginnings of his first backing band were also now being formed. In 1987 Lucky's third reggae album was released entitled - SLAVE - and he had huge hits with "I've Got You Babe ", "Slave" , and " Back To My Roots". With his backing band The Slaves, he performed at huge shows in Johannesburg, pulling crowds in excess of 50,000.
In 1988 due to popular demand, GRC re-released RASTAS NEVER DIE.Lucky embarked on his first international trip to promote the album SLAVE, which was now released on the Celluloid label in France. In 1988 TOGETHER AS ONE was released and featured the hit title track which was once again based on the South African situation. He asked all South Africans to unite. Black and white.
Lucky hit the road again and performed to crowds in excess of 65,000.
In 1989 sixty of South Africa's top musicians, including Lucky, embarked on a series of shows in France under the banner of Franchment Zoulou tour. Lucky established himself as a truely international artist, and got rave reviews at every show. He continued on to tour the US.
This year also gave Lucky the chance to act in his first full length feature film entitled 'Voice In The Dark', in which he co-starred with John Savage.
1989 also saw the release of PRISONER and within 5 days it had hit double platinum.1990 was a year to take stock and perform mainly in Africa, performing in venues ranging from small township halls to Ellis Park, at which 80,000 people went to see Lucky perform.
In 1991 Lucky toured the United States again and then made an historical appearance at the world famous reggae Sunsplash Festival in Jamaica - the first time ever for a South African artist and his long awaited dream was realised. He was the first and only artist to be invited back for a 25 minute encore. The tour carried on to Australia, Japan and Ghana.
PRISONER became his biggest selling album, with in excess of 1,000,000 copies sold worldwide.
The electrifying double live album CAPTURED LIVE was released featuring some of his best known songs with live arrangements. The album quickly reached platinum status and outsold any international music release sales on a live album.Lucky wons BEST MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR at the annual OKTV awards in South Africa.HOUSE OF EXILE was released and Lucky headlined the first ever reggae festival in South Africa - REGGAE STRONG FOR PEACE - and the proceeds of the live album, with the title track written by him, went to a crisis line in Soweto. The REGGAE STRONG FOR PEACE album went gold and a live video was released.
In 1992 Lucky signed an endorsement sponsorship with a leading local product company - ACE MAIZE MEAL - and CAPTURED LIVE and HOUSE OF EXILE registered worldwide sales in excess of 1,000,000. 1992 saw Lucky faced with his most hectic touring schedule yet. It took him to Europe twice, the United States, Japan, The Caribbean, New Caledonia, Australia, South Pacific and a return visit to the Sunsplash Festival in Jamaica where he received top billing this time. In between all this touring Lucky joined Peter Gabriel for the Real World Recording Week in England, and Peter joined Lucky on stage at the 10th Anniversary Womad festival to perform IT'S NOT EASY. Lucky won best video of the year and best sleeve design for the album HOUSE OF EXILE. LUCKY DUBE LIVE IN CONCERT video was released.
1993 Kicks off with more heavy touring to the Caribbean, Ivory Coast and South America. VICTIMS is released worldwide and Lucky embarked on a United States tour to promote it. The Ace sponsorship is resigned and the second leg of promoting the album starts with tours of Europe, Japan, and Australia. Lucky performed at the AFRICA AGAINST AIDS concert in Sun City, and Gallo released the video documentary 'THE MAN THE MUSIC'
The Ace sponsorship is renewed for the third time. Lucky embarked on a world tour with PETER GABRIEL, performing across Europe and the US to crowds of 60,000. Peter performed IT'S NOT EASY with Lucky every night as the encore to the show.
Lucky finishes a hectic year with a highly successful tour of Kenya where teargas was needed to calm the crowds, and a show at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg with STING and MIDNIGHT OIL. 1994 heralds a new record label in the form of the world famous MOWTOWN/TABU. In 1995 TRINITY is released on Mowtown worldwide in March. FEEL IRIE was released as the first single in South Africa in February, and TRINITY was released as the single every where else. Lucky embarked on a promotional tour in early April starting in Europe, which took him right through to the end of the year, spending 2 months in Europe, 2 months in the United States, and visiting Australia, New Zealand for the first time, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. This was also the first tour with the new band, no longer called THE SLAVES.
By 1996 Luckys' stage show had the reputation of being one of the most exciting shows on the road.He embarked on his first major tour of South America, performing on THE RUFFLES REGGAE CONCERTS with BIG MOUNTAIN, INNER CIRCLE and ZIGGY MARLEY in Brazil to crowds of over 60,000. He broke his tour to fly to Monte Carlo to receive the WORLD MUSIC AWARD for BEST SELLING AFRICAN RECORDING ARTIST and then flew straight back to finish the tour in Surinam and Belize. Lucky performed to 60,000 people in Uganda, toured Europe for the second time this year, and was the first South African artist to perform in Rwanda, where he witnessed first hand the terrible suffering of the people. SERIOUS REGGAE BUSINESS was released at the end of the year to mark his tenth anniversary as a reggae artist. It is also the first album from Africa to include an interactive CD track. January of 1997 saw the first legitimate sales registered from West Africa, with 20,000 copies sold in Ghana. In February Lucky was nominated for INTERNATIONAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR. In April Gallo released TAXMAN and Lucky flew to Ghana to receive his award.
A promotional tour started in May, with 6 weeks of shows in the United States, shows in Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Namibia, South Africa and Europe. In Novenber a long cherished dream comes true when Lucky performed with the 48 piece National Chamber Orchestra in a classical reggae concert at the Standard Bank Arena in South Africa. The show was filmed. February 1998 sees Lucky in Tahiti for the first time and a return visit to New Caledonia. March takes him back to Brazil and earns critical praise. In April he triumphed at the annual South African Music awards, scooping BEST POP PERFORMANCE and BEST PRODUCER and BEST REGGAE for TAXMAN. June and July were spent in Europe for an extensive tour and in August Lucky embarked on a six week tour of the United States with SHAGGY, BUJU BANTON, STEEL PULSE and BERES HAMMOND on the SPIRIT OF UNITY tour. In October Lucky performed at Midem Miami for the music industry. In November TAKE IT TO JAH was released as a single in South Africa with a live recording with the orchestra and two previously unreleased tracks. Later that month he flew to Kenya and performed the headline spot at Nairobi Racecourse to an estimated 80,000 people. January 1999 and it was back into the studio to start work on a new album. Lucky recorded a track with Sinead O'Conner using innovative computer technology. In June THE WAY IT IS was released.