With a net worth estimated at over 4 million dollars, Lebohang Morake, popularly known as Lebo M, is a South African celebrity who made most of his wealth from singing and composing songs for movies and TV shows. He is best known for performing songs for the Lion King films and stage performances. Lebo M has been active in the entertainment industry since 1994, and his activities are the primary source of his massive fortune.
Given the years he has spent in the competitive industry and his body of work, it is only natural that many people have become curious about his wealth, sources of income, and how he spends his money.
Creating Movie Soundtracks is the Biggest Contributor to Lebo M’s Net Worth of $4 Million
Lebo M is often described as one of the richest song composers to come from South Africa. The 58 years old Soweto-born South African is listed amongst the top 50 male singers of the 21st century in his country. He is also amongst the top 50 South African male composers.
In view of that, it is no surprise that most of his wealth came from singing and composing soundtracks for movies and TV shows. Having done some odd jobs to make ends meet while studying at Los Angeles City College, his collaborative work with Hans Zimmer for Disney was what laid the foundation for the composer to accumulate his $4 million net worth.
Together with Zimmer, he created soundtracks for the 1994 adventure drama film, The Lion King. He also contributed to the sequel (The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride) of the film’s soundtrack album, Rhythm of the Pride Lands. Lebo has since made many soundtracks for TV shows and movies, including the 2019 remake of The Lion King, Nostalgic Critic, Diminishing Returns, and much more.
In all, he has at least 28 credits to his name as a soundtrack producer and the royalties from these works have been a steady stream of income for him.
Being a Choir Conductor and Music Arranger also Contributes to Lebo M’s Net Worth
Right before his breakthrough with Disney, Lebo M made money performing for a Night Club owned by Maria Gibbs. He also earned money organizing choir for the Oscars so that they could perform music from 1987’s Cry Freedom, a film about South Africa which was later nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including one for Best Original Song.
Other projects he has worked on as a choir conductor and music arranger include VeggieTales: The Little Drummer Boy. Lebo was the choir conductor and also a choir member for the 2011 family animation film directed by Brian Roberts. Moreso, he was the music arranger and producer for Tarzan II, a 2005 adventure comedy animation film directed by Brian Smith.
There is also One By One, a 2004 short animation film directed by Pixote Hunt wherein he served as a music arranger and producer. Apart from composing and creating songs for The Lion King, Lebo M was a choral director and choral arranger as well. He was then the choir director for the “Passover” episode of Rugrats, a TV series created in 1991 by Gabor Csupo, Paul Germain, and Arlene Klasky
Lebo was also the music arranger for the 1993 comedy film, American Made, directed by Richard Benjamin. He performed the same role for the 2000 adventure drama animation, Dinosaur, directed by Eric Leighton and Ralph Zondag.
Did Lebo M Write the Circle of Life?
The “Circle of Life” song from The Walt Disney 1994 animated film, The Lion King, was composed by Elton John. The song was performed by Carmen Twillie as the deep female lead vocal and alongside Lebo M, whose voice was the first to be heard at the song’s opening.
The South African soundtrack artist, contrary to what many have come to believe, did not write the “Circle of Life” song. Elton John and Tim Rice are credited as the songwriters of the popular movie song.
Lebo M Owns a Record Label That Contributes to His Wealth
Lebo M is a businessman and a CEO; he established an entertainment record label called Till Dawn Entertainment with structures in both the USA and South Africa. Through the studio in 2010, he got to work as the executive creative producer and composer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup opening and closing ceremony songs in South Africa.
He has indeed come a long way from the time he worked as a studio intern. Through a childhood friend named Solly Letwaba, Lebo was hired to work as an intern and a gofer in a music production studio owned by Hilton Rosenthal, who was then the music supervisor on the film, The Power of One.
It was through Rosenthal that Lebo M met the film’s composer, Hans Zimmer. After being impressed by his ideas and contribution to the film’s soundtrack, Lebo ended up co-writing and co-producing the music for The Power of One with Zimmer, helping to arrange the choruses.
Many years down the line, the South African owns and operates a record label that has contributed a significant amount to his $4 million net worth.
Lebo M’s Wealth Goes Towards Sustaining His Large Family
Lebo M was once said to be homeless, living and begging on the street of Los Angeles. But in a dramatic reversal of fortunes, he is now a Grammy-winning musician and owner of a multimillion-dollar business and a record label with a net worth of over $4m. He now lives comfortably with a large family scattered within South Africa and the USA.
Over the years, the soundtrack artist has spent his money marrying and remarrying some of his wives. One lifestyle that has been found to be constant with the South African music legend is that he loves to get married. Lebo M has been married 5 times to 3 women in his 58 years of living.
His first wife was Viveca Gibson and after five years together, they called it quits. He then hooked up with Nandi Ndlovu, married her, and spent the next eleven years of his life living together with her; it however ended like the first. He got married a third time to Angela Ngani-Casara. Again, the marriage met an abrupt end.
Thereafter, Lebo M hooked up with Zoe Mthiyane, and after a failed engagement with her, he went back and reunited with his ex, Angela Ngani-Casara, and they remarried. However, they called it off again as things failed to work out as they imagined.
In all, his marriages gave him 9 children, all of whom are under his care. Lebo M provides for all his children and they don’t live under the same roof. So this would mean rented apartments, school fees, and upkeep allowances for his kids. He has also been providing financial support to his ex-wives even though the amounts involved are not known to the public.
Does He Do Any Charity Work?
Although he has a lavishing way of spending his resources and wealth, Lebo M is also a well-meaning wealthy South African with a philanthropic heart. When he is not working, he engages himself in activities and projects that contribute to the growth and upliftment of his community and South Africa at large.
Lebo is the founder of the Lebo M Foundation which focuses on HIV, child welfare, and housing issues in South Africa. The foundation was recognized by South Africa’s captains of industry when it was presented with The Black Quarterly Award for Corporate Social Responsibility; this was in November 2006.
The work Lebo does with the foundation also made the United Nations name him as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNIAIDS). Lebo M is a long-time HIV advocate and a public-spirited figure who doesn’t mind spending some of his money for the welfare of his community.