Lucky Dube Biography


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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.

 


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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.


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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.

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