I got into music in the early 1990s as a back up vocalist for Jah Key Marley at his Jambo Rebels Band. He managed to release two albums. Some of the songs we did include Dhulma, Njoo and Hasira. That is where Lady B as a singer was born.
At the time a guy named Levy, who was our guitarist, introduced me to the ‘one-man-guitar’ phenomenon. We performed at various places such as Deep West in South B, Kraal on Mombasa Road and Base Club in Buruburu. Those days music was not paying as much.
One day towards the end of the millennium, there was a show by the late Brenda Fassie at the Coast. Together with the late Poxi Pressure, we went to see promoter DS Njoroge and I got the opportunity to curtain-raise for Brenda Fassie.
Later, I met James of Weavers Band at Florida, who asked me to sing in his band, as he did not have a female vocalist. Alongside a saxophonist known as Hamisi, we performed in places such as Pizza Garden and Choices. I juggled all these bands together.
In the year 2000, Jah Key Marley did a show for me at MadHouse, backed by Big Matata Band. In attendance was Lesasa Jocker, who owned Bilenge Musica Band. He must have been impressed, as he approached me and asked if I had a passport because he wanted me to travel to Dubai and perform. That did not come to be until the following year.
The deal was lucrative and I could not resist. I left all the bands I worked with and moved to Dubai where we staged shows at Rush Inn Africana Club. The band did well there and we stayed on for few years.
I loved the experience. It was very nice. The pay was comfortable. In fact, I saved a lot of money as I was living on tips. Lingala lovers are very generous when it comes to appreciating their music.
During my one month vacation back in the country, I would go and record songs, mostly with Dr Eddie, the one who recently won Audio Producer of the Year at Groove Awards. I managed to do my first album, Zamu Yangu. It included songs like Nakupenda, a reggae song that received good airplay here. I did not market the album much here, since I was not around. It however sold well in Dubai.
In 2007, I felt I had made enough money and I needed to come back home and settle down. In Kenya, if you leave the industry for a few months, let alone years, you find a totally different scene.
I wanted to re-establish myself as a musician. It was hard. Gladly, I hooked up with Nonini who was doing well then, to help me re-launch my career here. I gave him my album and he liked it; we then decided to work together. Contrary to popular rumours about our relationship, Nonini is my relative from my mum’s side.
I started by recording with Lucas of Ogopa Deejays the song Sema Nami featuring Nonini. That was in 2008. It was later used as a sound track for the movie Formula X. Other songs I went on to collabo with Nonini include Kumbuka, Kila Mmoja and Genge Love, as well as my singles Chali wa Mtaa and Mrembo. My latest collabo is Sitokwenda with Tanzanian Chidi Benz.
I have fans who believe in me. Imagine there are people who knew me when I was performing in bands and now they are still following me. Music is something I now know God had planned for me. I have only lived off music, as I have never had any other form of employment.
The industry has undergone major changes, unlike the past. Nowadays, the number of artistes has shot up, there are video sharing sites such as You Tube, FM stations are in plenty and corporate firms are supporting the business as well entertainment magazines such as Pulse. It’s totally different and artistes have lots of channels to market themselves.
I’ve learnt a lot from Nonini. He taught me, for example, not to compete with anyone but with myself. Everything you do should be better than your last. You do things to prove to yourself. He taught me to invest heavily in good videos, something I had never bothered with. He believed in me and pushed me, and I’m forever grateful to him.
As for my Chaguo La Teeniez Award, Am I ‘brand new artiste?’ I would say yes and no. This is because if the organisers and everyone who voted for me saw that I’m a new artiste, then it means that my sound is still new to them, which is a compliment. It means I’m fresh and I’m really indebted to my fans that voted for me. It was my first ever award. Back then I was a back-up singer; not a singer at the front line.
The award has challenged me to work harder. God will continue to see me through and I promise my fans lots of good music.
There were rumours that I’m dating Tanzania’s Chegge. Well… I’m seeing someone, but it’s not him. I also have one lovely daughter known as Yvonne.