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To sign a record deal with a major record company is exciting news for any artist – but nobody can guarantee how long the honeymoon period will last.

Promises and contract clauses get broken, egos clash behind the scenes and sometimes important information is kept from reaching artists’ ears.

Unhappy artists often go public to spill the beans about the drama, though others prefer to keep their mouths shut! Let’s look at those who let rip!

Lira v Arthur Mafokate

Musician/Producer Arthur Mafokate discovered Lira in 2000 and signed her to his record label, 999 Music, and released her debut album, All My Love, in 2003.

Lira, from Daveyton, born as Lerato Molapo, dumped the record label when she discovered the Kwaito legend was up to no good.

In her biography, released last year, Lira shared her pain: “I wrote a song called You Can’t Love Me and had Queen Sesoko listen to it and she loved it.

“While I was at home over the weekend, she recorded the song describing it as her own. This broke my heart. She called it You Can’t.

“The song was included on her album and I was hurt by the fact that no one bothered to ask if this okay.

“This was the first bitter pill I swallowed, and it made me realise that I had to look out for myself.”

Brickz v DJ Cleo (Will of Steel Productions)

DJ Cleo produced two hugely successful albums for Brickz: Sweety My Baby and E’stokfeleni – and won three 2008 SAMA awards.

Surprisingly, Brickz, born as Sipho Charles Ndlovu, launched an attack on the Will of Steel boss, real name Tlou Cleopas Monyepao. He did so in public and at the SAMA awards, and didn’t mince his words.

Their fallout was followed by a rather unexpected revelation. The dreadlocked artist told a Sunday tabloid that the Es’khaleni star used to “spank and caress them”, and would slump into a “feminine sulk”.

He added: “DJ Cleo knows that he is gay. There’s nothing wrong with that, he must just come out.”

Zola v Lance Stehr (Ghetto Ruff Records)

Bonginkosi Dlamini signed a record deal with Lance Stehr, Ghetto Ruff Records’ managing director, when he was 20. Admittedly, he didn’t know much about the industry and only discovered later that Lance owed him lots of cash.

He said: “Other people had control over my business and they never kept me informed. After my fall out with Lance I discovered a lot of things I wasn’t supposed to know.

“I want my millions back and everything that belongs to my name,” said Zola.

Ifani v Sony Record Label

Ifani Hayimani of Shake fame has already tasted the bad side of the music business. He is not happy with the Sony record label and he wants out! The rapper took his personal issues with his record company to the online world of social media.

Here are just some of iFani’s frustrated tweets:

Leavin my record label is the ONLY solution. But since they know that will make me happy, they’ll fight it.

It’s as if they hate my smile!

When yo record label breaks your spirit! When they shut u down so many times that you lose the will to fight!

Why did I sign?

I NEED to leave my record label ASAP b4 my creativity dies…

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Freelance Journalist

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