Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Aight guys another interview, this time with Kenyan songstress miss Avril Mwangi, I love her sweet energy on her first single "Mama", besides her music I wanted to get to know Avril the woman, so there it is, enjoy get to know her and support a talented African sista:)

So here she is , in her own words

Let's go!!

1/How would you define yourself , Avril?
Avril is the creative artist inside Nyambura Mwangi, (my real names), who expresses herself in song, art and sometimes even dance, but majorly in music and art.

2/How would you define yourself as a young African woman living in the 21st centuryin which we women have to face so many social challenges?
I define myself as a strong willed young woman who is not afraid of getting hers. The social challenges that I have been fortunate to go through have managed to mold me into a witty young lady who knows how many things work in the industries that I am building my careers in. With this knowledge therefore I am determined to make myself work harder and smarter in my respective fields.
3/How would you define yourself as young Kenyan woman?
I would define myself as a blessed, loved, focus driven and very fortunate Kenyan woman.

4/What's that one defining moment in your life when you knew you wanted to be singer?
My life on stage started by doing recitals when I was quite young, later I became a public speaker doing a lot of emceeing for functions in school way into senior high school. Our Kenyan music industry was still quite young when I was still in school but when our first generation pop artists from the Ogopa Deejays recording label (a label in Kenya to which I am signed to) took center stage I felt an instant connection and from that time I knew that I was going to be one of them.

5/I see on your MySpace page that you enrolled for a design degree, will you still be pursuing it or will it be too difficult now with your busy career as a singer?

The beauty of both fields is that they are both artistic fields and by that makes it easier for me to pursue both. My degree and knowledge in Art and Design will help fuel my music due to the fact I can be my own designer in terms of clothing and even accessorizing. As for music building my design the truth is that I’m looking at a future where myself as Avril will be a strong brand in Kenya, Africa and even the world and by that therefore create an avenue through which my design can also grow. So the design degree and music can work side to side.
6/How would you describe your sound? How long have you been on the Kenyan scene?
My sound is very contemporary urban fusing a variety of genres to create a feel that can be related to by young people all over the world and adults also. . I have been on the Kenyan musical scene for one year now, very new to the scene, but shocked by the love I am getting for my music all over Africa , USA and Europe that has been playing on the airwaves of recent. I have had tremendous acknowledgement with very many already established artists looking to work with me in Kenya and all across East Africa .

7/I think people sometimes don't realize how difficult it is to be an artist, what kind of sacrifices for your career, was it difficult to convince your parents of your career choice?
My parents, interestingly enough, are the most liberal and open minded parents that there ever has been. They were and still are very proud and happy for what I am doing, actually they are my biggest fans. As for the difficulty there is in being an artist, the huddles are tremendous. We as Kenyans have unfortunately not opened up completely to the realization that the music industry’s need to be invested in so that young unknown talent can rise and conquer the world! So the biggest challenge has been finances. I had to make sacrifices with the little money that I could get from my work here and there to invest on my image. It was a very big huddle and frankly disheartening sometimes.

8/I love that song "peace song" where you repeat Kenya , what’s the message behind it?

That was a special song that a friend and I wrote just after the post election violence that engulfed Kenya years back. We did not know how else to show that this had affected us and therefore with or production team behind us we wrote and recorded the song. The song speaks of how far we have come as a nation and how far we have to go as a nation and the advice being that we have so much to lose if we broke into war and chaos.

9/What are your hopes for your country ?

I have great hopes for my country. My one sincere wish is that the country could embrace its diversity in terms of tribal descent and therefore work as a unified state. Other than that it is my prayer that the beautiful Kenya I live in will have organizations and institutions that will work towards growing the Kenyan entertainment industry in all ways possible; not only by making the musical scene prosper but also industries such as modeling, professional dancing and even fine art.

10/What tribe are you from can you tell us a bit about your traditions and how do they affect your life as a woman? *Pic courtesy of Eric Lafforgue

I am Kikuyu by tribe but was born and raised in a very urban setting that integrated very many tribes. My school life and neighborhood in general was very diverse, so my traditions were more of embedded in me more by my parents in terms of respect for my elders as well as for everyone around me, as my tribe’s traditions dictate. These traditions have therefore molded me into being a person who has progressively learnt how to work with people from different cultures.

11/I’ve never been to your country if I were to go with you where would you take me?

Our country always boasts of its flora and fauna so the first place I would take you would be the Maasai Mara where the wildlife is breathtaking. The Lions, the Buffaloes migrating, the Antelopes, the Wildebeests, the almost extinct white Rhinos, the Crocodiles and the other very many animals are amazing. After that we would hit the coast where the Swahili/Islam culture would make you love every inch of Mombasa . Then we’ll go to the country side where the rainforests and nature treks will make your mind revitalized. Through the country side you will also see tea, coffee, flower and even pineapple plantations. It’s a beautiful country.

12/Where can we see and hear more of you? Do you plan on doing live shows or club dates soon and where?
My team and I are working on a variety of appearances that I will be part here in Kenya and East Africa . With the MTV Africa Music Awards coming to Kenya in October it is my prayer that I will have made enough of an impact in Africa as I have in Kenya to be part of the very prestigious African awards, even if it’s just an invite LOL! If God wills it I will be making even more extensive appearances around the world in the near future (fingers crossed).

13/What’s your message as a musician?
my message is God gives each person a talent, and as a musician one has one of the best talents because we have a universal appeal to express ourselves freely and induce emotion through music. I think all singers, songwriters should also learn about the music industry “business side” before they actually sign any contracts because Knowledge is power and the more you know the better it is for you.Also musicians should learn their craft so they can become the best at what they do whether singing, songwriting,producing,.Just take a look at Beyonce and how she learnt her craft and kept practicing at a young age now she is the best in the game.

14/I love your facial expressions and swagger in the video for "mama", a lot of times young African artists do too much try too hard, what are some African women you admire?
Firstly thank you! I think we young African artists try too hard because we have so much to look up too, icons from other continents who we take as our mentors. I admire many modern African women in a variety of fields but my mother is the woman I admire most, her strength, diginity,love,confidence and hard work has been my biggest inspiration. . Musically, I am drawn to Nigeria’s Asa’s very powerful voice, Tanzania’s Lady Jay Dee’s amazing delivery of everyday’s situations of living and our very own Kenyan Amani, who’s footsteps I follow under my label Ogopa Deejays.

15/Can you tell us a bit more about the guys you worked with on this album?
*Pic courtesy of Eric L

Ogopa Deejays is a one of the top production houses in Kenya that signed me a bit over a year ago. Working with a team that truly believes in me has been amazing because whenever I felt like there were over expectations from me, they proved to me that it was never too hard to believe. My musical and video producer, Lucas Bikedo, has been my rock, Francis Omeno, our Executive Producer has made sure that I have had focus on the eventual goals that we have created, my manager Banda has made sure that my dedication has never died. Other than that I have not finished my album per say but I have worked with a number of artists in Kenya mostly under our label and in East Africa.

16/What’s a day in your life?

I am a student so I wake up bright an early to go to school for my lectures that usually takes up most of my day. Once school is over I head to the studio where I meet my producers and fellow artists. During this time we have meetings discussing our way forward and generating the types of concepts that we should write on. If anything needs to be recorded then this happens at around this time. Later in the evening I get done with my assignments and get ready for my next day. Over the weekends I do my recordings, my video shoots if any and then do the whole performances and interview, the whole shebang.

17/Why did you decide to go with April as your stage name?

I was born in April and I happen to have loved the name since I was very young. When I got to realize that I had a very artistic side I decided to go with the name that best described the other person who managed to show off this artistic side of me. Hence the name Avril. *Pic courtesy of Eric Lafforgue

18/Being involved in many talent shows in school what did bring to your current career today?
I was molded by the talent shows that I attended in school when I was quite younger. My stage presence grew through the years and by this has helped build my confidence. So I use this toay to relate to my audience and by that have fun on stage myself.

19/I see that you lived in both Kenya and Uganda what are your favorite childhood memories in both countries?
My favorite childhood memories were mostly through growing around my family and in boarding school in Kampala. The Christmas mornings with my parents and my younger brother, getting to mischief in boarding school J with my pals in school and the ever so interesting twelve hour trips to and from school; Nairobi to Kampala.

20/What’s one Kenyan beauty secret you can share with us?
Just be happy and stay happy. Life is too short to stress yourself and age your skin in the process. That is my beauty secret, not necessarily Kenya’s but from a young Kenyan girl who has managed to go through leaps and huddles to make it to where she is and loved every minute of it looking fabulous.

21/How important is faith to you?
I’m very religious, so when it comes to faith it is very important to me primarily because of the fact that I was raised like that. I pray as often as I can to get strength and grace to help me through the trials that come with being an artist.

*Pic courtesy of Eric Lafforgue

22/How important is family to you?

Incredibly important! If it was not or my parents and sibling brother’s encouragement, acknowledgement and support I would not have the confidence to pursue my dreams. It is primarily because of them that I do what I do.

23/If you were to travel to three African countries where would it be and why?

That would have to be South Africa, Zanzibar and Egypt. I love the culture I’ve read about from there can’t wait to finally visit.

24/How does it feel to hear your songs on the radio or to see your videos?

It continues to be one of the most exciting things that I go through in my young career. The first time it ever happened I was with a pal in a supermarket and it just hit me that that was my voice I could hear. I think it will always be exciting to hear my voice over the air waves, or for someone to call me and tell me that they heard my song on the radio.

25/How important is financial stability to you, can you live of your music as of now?

I totally believe in financial stability because at one point in time in my life I want to have a comfortable life. It is unfortunate though that at this very point in time I cannot live off my music due to the fact that I am an upcoming artist still, but I know that in due time things will be better. When I do settle down to have a family I want it to be with not so much stress.

26/Are you a great dancer, if I were to go to one of your shows what should I expect?
I’m an okay dancer, not great, just okay, but as for my performances on stage I strive to have choreographed dancers so that I can make my performance interesting. Other than that I try to work hard on my vocals so that I have accapella interludes as well. It really helps to have all that flavor to make a performance interesting.

27/How do you stay in shape?
I strive to eat well, i.e. balanced diets, with a lot of fruits and vegetables. Then I do regular exercises to tone and keep myself in shape. I also swim to keep in shape.

28/What’s one political or social African event that happened that will stay marked in your memory for ever?

That will have to be the post election violence that took place in Kenya a while back. It traumatized our country and continues to traumatize the country to date because people still want to blame each other, we have the International Criminal Court of Justice on the case to date and the worst of all is that we still have internally displaced persons with no where to go. It was a sad and very scary time for Kenya and stays marked in my memory forever.

29/Where were u when u heard that Obama won and how did u celebrate it?

I was in school when they announced the results, and just as everyone else in the country, I was ecstatic! Lectures were cancelled we all went to the halls of residence in campus to watch the finals of the counting and announcements. All I can say it was an amazing time for Kenya. Very needed stress relief point after all the political turmoil.

30/What’s the biggest misconception, about Kenyan people? That we feel like we are superior and by that therefore misconstrued to be general snobs but the truth is that we are very social and interactive people who are very eager to learn about different cultures, hence the curiosity. I am personally a very curious person and love to learn about people’s different ways of life

31/What’s one advice you would give to Kenyan men?
Kenyan men Kenyan men Kenyan men, what can I say to Kenyan men, I’ll probably be hunted down if I advice any Kenyan man on how to behave; but truth be told I have not had any problems with the Kenyan men who’s paths I have crossed. I think they are very passionate in what they believe in and they work very hard to keep what they love be it career, love family or whatever.

32/Which African artists would you love to sing with if u had the opportunity?
I would love to work with Namibia’s Gal Level, Tanzania’s Lady Jay Dee, Uganda’s Ngoni, Maurice Kirya, Nigeria’s Asa, P-square, Dbanj and 2face, South Africa’s DJ Cleo and very many other artists who I will meet as my career continues to grow.

33/How important is sisterhood to you? (friendship)
I value friendship a lot because without good friends you cannot really have proper guidance and encouragement. That is the reason I maintain a very close bond with the people who work with me as well as friends who have grown up with me.
*Sylvia Owori Fashion

34/Who are your favorite African designers? Who are your favorite Kenyan designers?
When it comes to African designers I know very few by name but identify so talent when I see galleries from different fashion weeks, fashion shows and magazine reviews but I have to mention that I am blown away by Kenyan designers such as Slyvia Owori, Kikoromeo and accessories from Kazuri also i love MAPOZI designs from Robi Morro who is from Tanzania,Ally rehmtullah and Mustafa Hassanali

35/Why are Kenyan women hot?
LOL! What can I say?! I guess we are just blessed with the fact we have a lot of diversity in tribes and looks and most of the people in the country are doing a lot of intermarriages hence the mix in looks and the hotness!

36/When do you feel the most beautiful?
Just before a photo of video shoot when I have been pampered and my face is flawless, my nails are gorgeous and most of all me seeing myself as an artist’s canvas for them to accentuate my features and make me like a piece of marvelous art.

37/What do you know for sure in life?
Does anyone? All I can do is hope and pray just as we all do; but one thing’s for sure, my life will be an inspiration to the youth who feel that dreams cannot be goals. I dreamt of being where I am today and progressively attracted it to myself; I have not stopped dreaming of achieving even more success in my lifetime. That I am sure of.

Here's her video: (CLICK ON VIDEO)

Djaa my sistas from Kenya sont trop dedans:)
Eyeee Wayee:)

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