Musician Vivian Wambui is enjoying airplay from her recent double release of the songs ‘Chingi Changa’ and ‘Always on my Mind’. Josephine Mosongo spoke with the singer who talked about her music, fans’ influence in her life and her? wedding
Why the double release?
The content demand out there; I had recorded the songs and shot the videos but because of the political climate I couldn’t release anything since that was all that was trending. So now that things have settled down a bit, it is the perfect time, plus I hadn’t put something out in a while.
How did you get Pallaso on the track ‘Always on My Mind’?
When I did the song ‘Charm’ with Chameleone, Ugandans sort of set their sights on me as a Kenyan artiste. Palasso was on a media tour here and he called my manager and asked to meet me. We met in the studio, decided we had good chemistry and did the song.
There are comments like “I don’t like local music but I’m your fan” on your You Tube page. How do you feel about such sentiments?
When we, the industry, release content that the audience likes then the Kenyan playlist is likely to dominate, but if fans only like one or two songs there is no mass consumption.
I get comments like that a lot. It’s interesting. My fans are attached to me and they are involved in the process of making my music to the point of suggesting what to release, what to wear... One time during my musings on social media, I thought of getting a tattoo and people said no.
I was like is this body mine or ours? (Laughs) I got comments like ‘your body is the temple of the Lord, you are innocent’, some even said they would stop following me.
Do such comments affect how you live your life?
They do influence my life but I try to be objective as much as possible. These are people who are consuming my music and I have to create a balance between who I want to be and who the audience wants me to be.
I have to be careful that I don’t get manipulated and I don’t become self-centred. It’s a difficult line to walk.
You’ve shared some intimate stuff about your life on social media, like a past abusive relationship and being broke early on in your career, what brought that on?
When I was starting out there were some things I suffered in silence about, then, my music wasn’t popular and people didn’t know who I was. Right now I’m at a point where I’m giving back more, I have a bigger audience and so many young girls who look up to me in terms of achieving their own goals, dreams and careers. So this is an opportunity for me to tell them ‘these are some of the things you guys don’t know’. Most rising stars will ask you the same questions; how do I start, where should I record and with whom? I want to tell them the things I have been through that are not nice or glamorous, the things I chose to move on from. That’s the least I can do.
Does your past abusive relationship affect your current relationship?
I think everything we do in life influences who we are, and it’s up to you to decide how much. I’m more cautious now, I ask more questions and I’m more alert. I know who I am, what I want and there are things about myself and my territory I need to protect.
When someone beats you they push you to your lowest point and if it is someone influential then it makes you think you are not worth anything, and that affects your self-esteem. It frees you when you talk about it.
When I shared these stories I got so much feedback from people in abusive relationships who can’t leave.
Was it hard getting back your self-esteem?
?Not really, I’ve always been a strong character naturally. Yes it was a blow to my self-esteem but I kept thinking I’ve come a long way and this is not the end. I chose to focus on the good things and move forward.
You change the colour of your hair a lot, is it hard to maintain it?
No, I have a very good stylist called Eric One wash, we discuss my hair like it’s an essay on WhatsApp. I love experimenting with my hair, it’s my expression as an artiste.
Will you go back to long hair?
I don’t like long hair, it’s too much work
Boss from MOG has written a couple of songs for you
We used to record at Main Switch Studios together and so we met a lot.
He wanted to remake my song "Woman in Love" because he fell in love with it. We are each other’s fans and it has become easier to play around with melodies.
Sometimes I like it when someone writes me a song because I will only write from my perspective, but he will give me another. I’m still trying to see if I can get other people to write me songs. I’ve also had other people request to write for me.
Do you think you have evolved in your career as an artiste and a woman?
Yes on many aspects, of course my body structure has changed (laughs). Life is about growth and change, I’m not as na?ve and green. I’m more objective, I know what to jump on and what not to and I analyse people’s intentions and advice.
You got engaged about seven months ago, have you started shopping or planning for your wedding?
Oh gosh, I wish people knew how bad I am at these things. I have a friend who is a wedding planner and she told me ‘Vivian, I just know you will call me the night before your wedding and tell me I don’t have this and that’.
I have a big sister which means I’m used to people doing things for me, but I like planning for things although I don’t take them too seriously especially a wedding, it’s just one day.
I’m not a bridezilla. As long as the music, sound and décor are okay I will dance and enjoy my wedding day.
On a scale of one to 10, how good do you feel your life is right now?
Maybe seven, I’m in charge and in control of my life.?
What’s your schedule like on a normal day?
In a nut shell, a lot of thinking, reading, soul searching and spending a lot of time in the studio.