It’s about 8:02 o’clock in the evening when I call Nadia Mukami. She is heading somewhere and I decide not to ask where she is heading too literally but figuratively in her career and what she thinks of the Kenyan industry. I also decided to ask about her sudden change of management close to a year after signing with her previous management Hailmind Entertainment.
She also shares with me her plans about releasing an album. What is her next move musically? Read the interview I had with her for insights.
You just appeared on Coke Studio, what’s the biggest lesson you learnt from it?
Professionalism; they taught me how to handle my business or rather my music as a profession. The likes of Nandy, Jux and Shelsy taught me the hacks and the keys to why they are some of the biggest names in the industry.
You recently changed your management, what happened?
First I want to thank my previous management for holding my hand and I owe them credit and I cannot take that from them. Our business relationship was not working and there is more than meets the eye. There was so much that was in the public. As a brand and for my growth personally as an artist, I felt like I needed to let go.
Interesting; a lot of artists are moving away from their management in Kenya. Is there a problem with music management?
I feel like if you are creating a record label let it look like a record label. It won’t be a record label if artists are funding themselves in terms of videos and audios and call it a record label. That’s a management company. In terms of business structure in the music industry, we still have a long, long way to go.
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The Journey to the dream has started❤? I wanna thank everyone who has supported me and is still supporting me❤The journey is full of so many ups and downs??But God knew why He chose this little Girl from Mwihoko to carry the big task in an industry full of sharks The journey has started?❤ COMING SOON! COMING SOON! #kaNadiakatambe #kenyansweetheart #ComingSoon
One of your biggest musical influences has been Miriam Makeba; what did you get from her?
Miriam Makeba stood for something, she stood for freedom in South Africa. I have something that I stand for which is the truth from my music. I sing about real situations, I call it ‘truthful music’, things that people can really relate to. Miriam Makeba was world-renown before she died because she stood for something and she made sure that people understood that.
We haven’t heard an album from you. Is it a personal choice to chuck out singles?
An album is a super big deal. An album is like an artist’s first child. It is like a when a person decides to have a first child. That’s what an album means to me so I’m really trying to find a proper way of doing an album and make sure I have songs, make sure it is well marketed so I don’t want to rush but it is on the way.
So there is an album on the way?
Yes there is
Will we be expecting the same Nadia?
No that’s why I am taking my time; I want to study the industry and myself. Like I said you just don’t wake up and get pregnant, okay sometimes it happens(laughter) but for this case, I feel like when you are married and are planning to have a first child you make sure you have the money and nappies and you are well prepared.
You used to do poetry before you joined the music industry. At an interview last year you said you will be releasing a Diwani (Poem book). Is that something you are planning on doing?
Everything is about timing and at this point, I feel like I need to stabilize my brand. It’s already written and typed I am just waiting for the right time. I feel like it is not yet time.
You talk a lot about time you sound like a very patient person?
I am (laughs). I am such a planner.
You are going to be releasing a song with Mimi Mars when is going to drop and how did that happen?
I met Mimi Mars at Coke Studio. We are working on something I cannot give the date (giggles).
What can we expect from this new song?
It is diverse; it has a Tanzanian vibe, a different me; I cannot wait for you guys to hear it.
You have been leaning a lot towards Tanzania what have you noticed about Tanzania that is different from Kenya?
I think they really take their craft seriously, they take it as their main source of income. And that is what I want to do; to make it my do or die thing. I learnt that and borrowed that during Coke Studio because I learnt a lot in terms of having a good brand like Ali Kiba. He can disappear for 6 months and come back with a hit song. In Kenya, if you disappear for 6 months and come back you must have a well-written song.
If you were a musical instrument what would you be?
A piano! I find it so soulful and soothing. A guitar is a bit complicated so I think I am a sweet kind of lady and a soothing lady.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on stage?
(pause) Heh! I had this top that was badly sewn and it kept on dropping and the fans were telling me “Nadia, your top!” and it was at Citizen TV’s 10 over 10 so I am singing the top is failing me. It really t was embarrassing.
Let’s now talk about the mainstream media and music industry. A lot of artists at the beginning of the year criticized the mainstream media over playing Kenyan music. Do you feel like they are supporting Kenyan music?
I feel like they are but they need to do more and improve a bit on the airplay.
To their defence, Kenyan media houses said the content is not good or popular enough. Is that true according to you?
I feel like those are just a few songs and I feel like you cannot throw a basket of oranges out because one is rotten.
What is Nadia Mukami planning?
I have something big coming. Check my social media for that and also I have a lot of music coming out next month so tune in.