Making a song and dance
WANGECI KANYEKI talks to songbird and voice coach, Kavutha Mwanzia-Asiyo, 34, who has been transforming singers into stars in the Tusker Project Fame Academy
When did you start singing?
I can barely remember my childhood — I was a shy and reserved girl but I could sing every song on the radio.
I was an average student at Lavington Primary School so one day my father suggested that if the teacher could teach me songs, I would surely be number one.
How did you grow your talent?
I chose music over French in St George’s Secondary School, and also joined a girls’ singing group where my talent became obvious. I had my eye on Kenyatta University so I could further my music.
Do you sing at home with your husband?
Yes, we do. Maybe once a week, but our lives are not all consumed by music because we have other interests. Recently, we have embarked on a see-the-country tour where we take time out each month to visit a town in Kenya.
What is the most difficult task you have ever performed?
Climbing Mt Kenya. It was like a horrible mental game with harsh conditions. I went up to point Lenana even though everybody else thought I could not make it.
From the mountain climbing experience I learned that if I decide, I can. No one can tell me I can’t.
Why haven’t you recorded an album?
It was never my dream to be a recording artiste. It was unnerving to hear my voice and I did not even like how I sounded. However, I am now preparing to launch an album, which should be released early next year, so watch out.
What are your secret talents?
I love to knit. Recently, I made a baby suit for my sister. I also love to dance. However, I am lousy at sports, as I have no hand-eye co-ordination.
I am a voracious fiction reader and I read the book in one or two sittings, which makes me anti-social whilst reading. I do not like self-help books because they are constantly trying to change who you are. I also have a talent for buying shoes!
What is the worst thing someone has said to you?
I hear all sorts of nasty comments because I am a plus size and that can hurt. I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin.
Who are your favourite artistes?
Right now, I am enjoying Sibongile Kumalo, Cece Winans, Jill Scott, Glen Lewis, Ella Fitzwald and Dianne Shurr.
Your advice to budding artistes?
Make sure that you are gifted in the area you want to pursue. Put in the time required and surround yourself with honest people who can tell you the truth.
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