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Amani’s road to the top

Updated Friday, October 30th 2009 at 00:00 GMT +3
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By Stevens Muendo

A trip down memory lane results in nostalgia for this award-winning songstress. Taking a deep breath, she looks up and sighs. She is bombarded with memories of the good and bad times that have characterised her ten years’ singing career. She knows well that success does not always come easy.

From being labeled the queen of collabos and a Wahu-wannabe, to glorious times that have seen her crowned the best female artiste in Africa, it has been an eventful journey for Amani.

The year was 1999. Cecilia Wairimu aka Amani recalls how her singing quest landed her a recording deal with Ogopa Deejays. Back then, she was green, just another upcoming artiste trying her hand in an otherwise unrewarding music industry.

Amani

A young girl from Thika, Amani had just cleared her ‘O’ levels at Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls before venturing into music — her love. And there appeared Redsan, the angel who held her hand to Ogopa. Since then, she has never looked back.

Now, the easy-going songstress is over the moon after been bagging the MTV Africa Best Female Artiste award. Her hard earned success in a female unfriendly industry is a story of a hustler. It’s been long coming.

Her debut

Even though she started her music career way back in high school were she joined an accapella group called Sobriety, Amani’s first break came after she released her debut single Move On. The single was a radio hit that introduced her to local music fans. Her follow-up release Tahidi was part of Ogopa’s maiden compilation album Kenya&searchbutton=SEARCH'> Kenyan Club Classics. After featuring in Nameless’ 2002 Ninanoki hit, the biggest song that year, Amani seemed to have entered the big league with every artiste in town looking to collaborate with her. She released two singles Papi and Talk to You (featuring Pantonee and Big Pin) which established her as a consistent artiste.

The local music industry was still young back then with artistes like Nameless, Redsan, Kleptomaniax and the late E Sir sharing the limelight.

Three years later, Amani was back hitting it big with a her Bad Boy single, which featured Nyashinski of Kleptomaniax and was accompanied by the high-quality videos that have become Ogopa’s trademark.

Bad Boy rose to the top of music charts and received massive airplay all around East Africa, making Amani one of the most popular female singers in the region.

The single, which brought out her sexy but fun character out of the singer seems to have defined Amani’s singing style. Her energetic stage presence and choreographed dance styles have since made her a crowd puller and a darling of many around the continent.

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