Lebohang Morake is his real full name, but simply and professionally addressed as Lebo M. He is a famous South African songwriter, vocal work on the soundtracks to films, producer and composer.
He was born on May 20, 1964 in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. He was recommended to Disney by Hans Zimmer, the composer of both adaptations of The Lion King, and formed and conducted the African choir that sang for the films.
At 15, he was working as a singer in the Victoria Hotel in Lesotho when Lesotho’s Ambassador to the United States Tim Thahane noticed him and appreciated his musical abilities. Lebo was thereafter helped by Thahane to apply to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, coordinating with the TransAfrica organization to send the singer to the United States.
Lebo later studied at Los Angeles City College.
Lebo M’s Music Career
Morake began his music career at a very young age of 13 when he used to perform at nightclubs without formal training in music.
The young music star became professionally known when he recorded his first single, “Celebration” at 13 years old, receiving only $20 for doing the record.
Lebo M has since released and produced good number of songs like The Lion King, The Power of One and Outbreak and numerous stage productions.
Lebo lived at first in New York, again playing in restaurants and bars. He was supported by Black churches to attend music school. Morake moved to Los Angeles when he was 18 to pursue a music career.
In Los Angeles, life was not a bed of roses for Lebo as he struggled to make ends meet, working odd jobs to survive while studying at Los Angeles City College. He performed sometimes at Memory Lane, a nightclub owned by Marla Gibbs.
Lebo was asked to help find a choir for the Oscars, so that they could perform music from 1987’s Cry Freedom, a film about South Africa that earned him multiple Academy Awards, including one for Best Original Song.
Lebo later in life, met the film’s composer, Hans Zimmer. After being asked about some ideas for the film’s soundtrack, he became co-writer and producer of the music for The Power of One with Zimmer, helping to arrange the choruses.
He used his knowledge of African rhythms to compose the soundtracks to other films, such as Congo (1995), Outbreak (1995), and Born to be Wild (1995) respectively.
Lebo relocated back to South Africa in the early 1990s, after the end of inglorious apartheid to continue his music career.
The talented composer and producer wrote and sang the opening Zulu chant at the beginning of Disney’s The Lion King, for which he was sought by Zimmer.
He also contributed to the sequel to the film’s soundtrack, Rhythm of the Pride Lands, and the film’s direct-to-video sequel The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride.
The duo composed so much music that Disney approved of an additional soundtrack album, Rhythm of the Pride Lands, containing extra compositions. The Lion King’s original soundtrack, with the compositions that had made the cut for the theatrical release, earned the two composers a Grammy Award, and Zimmer won an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Lebo M has so far composed, arranged, performed and produced several music for the following films:
- The Lion King(soundtrack)
- The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride
- The Lion King 1½
- The Lion King (musical)- singer at One by One
- The Power of One
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The First Adventure
- Tears of the Sun
- Back on the Block
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire
- Listen Up: The Life of Quincy Jones
- Born to Be Wild
- Long Night’s Journey Into Day
- The Lion King(2019 remake)
- The Woman King (2022)
Lebo has also released and produced good music, notably:
- How Wonderful We Are(1995)
- Rhythm of the Pride Lands(1995)
- Lebo M: Deeper Meaning(1997)
- Return to Pride Rock (1998)
- Lebo M Presents: Open Summahhh Open Happiness(2009)
On the 23rd of July 2019, Lebo performed ‘Circle of Life’ and ‘He Lives in You’ at the Opening Ceremony of the 24th World Scout Jamboree.
Lebo M is the founder of Till Dawn Entertainment.
Lebo M is also a humanitarian. He founded the Lebo M Foundation where he reached out to underpriviledged in the society.
His Personal Life
Lebo M has entered into series of relationship in his journey of life. He married Viveca Gipson for 5 years. He divorced her and married Nandi Ndlovu and they were together for 11 years. He then divorced Ndlovu and married Angela Ngani-Casara for five years, from 2008 to 2013.
Lebo again engaged to Zoe Mthiyane, a relationship that was short live and ended in 2016. He remarried his third wife, Angela, but they divorced again in 2017.
The South African singer currently lives with his family in Johannesburg and Los Angeles.
Lebo has a daughter named Refi who is also singer and performs with him.
Lebo M’s Net Worth
Lebo M has made tremendous impact in the South African music industry with an estimated net worth of over $1 million dollars.
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Source: Lebo M’s Biography And Net Worth