Lebo M Biography: A Musical Journey

Lebo M Biography: A Musical Journey

Lebo M, born Lebohang Morake on July 11, 1964, in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, showed a remarkable talent for music from a young age. Despite lacking formal training, he embarked on his musical journey at the tender age of nine, leaving school to perform in nightclubs. At just 13, he recorded his debut single, “Celebration,” earning a mere $20 for his efforts. His passion for music and his undeniable talent soon caught the attention of the local music scene.

Lebo M

Birth name Lebohang Morake
Born 11 July 1964 (age 59)
Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa
Occupation(s) Producer, composer, arranger, performer
Instrument(s) Vocals
Years active 1994–present
Labels Till Dawn Entertainment

Personal life

Lebohang Morake’s romantic journey has been marked by twists and turns, reflecting the complexities of human relationships.

  • Marriage and Divorce

Morake’s marital history is characterized by multiple marriages and divorces. His unions with Viveca Gipson, Nandi Ndlovu, and Angela Ngani-Casara each lasted for a period of time before ultimately ending in divorce. Despite the dissolution of these relationships, Morake continued to seek love and companionship.

  • Engagements and Relationships

Following his divorces, Morake embarked on new relationships, including an engagement to Zoe Mthiyane. Although their engagement ended in 2016, Morake remained open to love and eventually reconnected with his third wife, Angela. However, their reconciliation was short-lived, resulting in another divorce in 2017.

  • Family Life

Despite the challenges in his romantic life, Morake finds solace and joy in his family. He shares a close bond with his daughter, Refi, who follows in his musical footsteps. Their shared passion for music strengthens their relationship and provides a source of connection and support.

Rise to Prominence

Lebo M’s ascent to fame accelerated when, at the age of 13, he became the youngest performer to grace the stage at Club Pelican. Filling in for a backup singer, his electrifying performance left an indelible mark, setting the stage for his future success. Despite his youth, Lebo M’s commanding presence and soulful voice captivated audiences, earning him widespread acclaim within the South African music industry.

Lebo M’s talent transcended borders when he caught the ear of renowned composer Hans Zimmer, known for his work on film scores. Zimmer recommended Lebo M to Disney, leading to a groundbreaking collaboration on the soundtrack for the animated classic, “The Lion King.” Lebo M’s songwriting and vocal contributions added an authentic African flair to the film’s music, earning him international recognition.


In 1979, at the age of 15, Lebohang Morake embarked on a journey to Maseru, Lesotho, driven by his ambition to pursue his musical dreams. Despite the challenges imposed by apartheid, Morake’s determination led him to seek opportunities beyond the confines of his homeland.

Through the support of Lesotho’s Ambassador to the United States, Tim Thahane, Morake’s talent caught the attention of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in the United States. With assistance from the TransAfrica organization, Morake made his way to New York City, where he immersed himself in the vibrant music scene, honing his skills as a singer and performer.

  • Struggles and Breakthroughs in Hollywood

Upon relocating to Los Angeles at the age of 18, Morake faced numerous challenges as he pursued his music career. Despite financial hardships and the rigors of odd jobs, he remained steadfast in his pursuit of success. A chance encounter with childhood friend Solly Letwaba proved instrumental, leading Morake to opportunities within the music industry.

Morake’s talent and passion for music caught the attention of renowned composer Hans Zimmer, leading to a collaboration that would change the course of his career. Together, they worked on the soundtrack for “The Power of One,” showcasing Morake’s ability to infuse African rhythms into his compositions.

  • The Lion King Legacy

One of Morake’s most significant contributions came with his involvement in Disney’s “The Lion King.” His powerful Zulu chant at the beginning of the film set the tone for the iconic soundtrack. Morake’s collaboration with Zimmer extended to the stage musical adaptation of “The Lion King,” earning critical acclaim and recognition.

Driven by his passion for music and commitment to making a difference, Morake founded the Lebo M Foundation and Till Dawn Entertainment. His performances continue to inspire audiences worldwide, as evidenced by his memorable rendition of “Circle of Life” at the opening ceremony of the 24th World Scout Jamboree.

Musical Legacy

Throughout his career, Lebo M has continued to make significant contributions to the world of music, working on soundtracks for films such as “The Power of One” and “Outbreak.” His compositions and vocal work have not only entertained audiences but also served as a cultural bridge, showcasing the rich tapestry of African music to global audiences.

Lebo Morake’s musical talent has graced numerous films, enriching their soundtracks and enhancing the cinematic experience for audiences worldwide. Here’s a glimpse into his remarkable filmography:

  1. The Lion King (soundtrack) – Morake’s iconic compositions and performances contributed to the timeless soundtrack of Disney’s animated masterpiece, “The Lion King.”
  2. The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride – He continued his musical journey with the sequel to “The Lion King,” infusing it with his distinctive style and flair.
  3. The Lion King 1½ – Morake’s musical prowess extended to this delightful spin-off of “The Lion King,” adding depth and vibrancy to the film’s soundtrack.
  4. The Lion King (musical) – Morake lent his voice as a singer in the stage adaptation of “The Lion King,” captivating audiences with his powerful performances.
  5. The Power of One – His musical contributions helped set the tone for this inspirational drama, enriching its narrative with emotive melodies.
  6. Dinosaur – Morake’s compositions added an enchanting and immersive element to Disney’s animated adventure “Dinosaur.”
  7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The First Adventure – He provided musical accompaniment for this captivating exploration of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.
  8. Tears of the Sun – Morake’s music elevated the intensity and emotion of this gripping action drama, enhancing its impact on viewers.
  9. Back on the Block – His musical talents contributed to this documentary, enriching its storytelling with evocative melodies.
  10. Atlantis: The Lost Empire – Morake’s compositions added depth and atmosphere to Disney’s animated adventure “Atlantis: The Lost Empire.”
  11. Listen Up: The Life of Quincy Jones – He played a part in the musical journey of this documentary, celebrating the legendary Quincy Jones.
  12. Outbreak – Morake’s music heightened the tension and drama of this gripping thriller, amplifying its suspenseful moments.
  13. Congo – His musical contributions enhanced the adventurous spirit of this thrilling jungle expedition film.
  14. Born to Be Wild – Morake’s compositions complemented the wild and untamed beauty of nature in this captivating documentary.
  15. Long Night’s Journey Into Day – His music added depth and emotion to this thought-provoking documentary exploring South Africa’s transition from apartheid.
  16. The Lion King (2019 remake) – Morake revisited the beloved classic, lending his musical talents to the reimagined soundtrack of Disney’s live-action adaptation.
  17. The Woman King (2022) – His musical contributions enriched the storytelling of this upcoming historical drama, adding resonance and depth to its narrative.

Discography: Morake’s musical journey extends beyond the realm of film, encompassing a diverse discography that showcases his versatility and creativity:

  1. How Wonderful We Are (1995)
  2. Rhythm of the Pride Lands (1995)
  3. Lebo M: Deeper Meaning (1997)
  4. Return to Pride Rock (1998)
  5. Lebo M Presents: Open Summahhh Open Happiness (2009)

Through his music, Lebo Morake has left an indelible mark on the world of cinema, enriching films with his distinctive sound and creative vision.

Beyond the Stage

In addition to his work in film, Lebo M has been involved in numerous stage productions, further cementing his reputation as a versatile and accomplished composer and producer. His ability to infuse traditional African rhythms with contemporary sounds has made him a sought-after collaborator in the entertainment industry.


Lebo M’s remarkable journey from a young nightclub performer to an internationally acclaimed composer and producer is a testament to his talent, perseverance, and passion for music. With each note he sings and every composition he creates, Lebo M continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of music, inspiring audiences and fellow artists alike.

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