Amani’s success in the East African industry has been through sheer blood and sweat. “Nothing comes easy,” she says. “You have got to have a vision.” Earlier this year, the Kenyan singer was nominated for four Channel O 2009 Video of the Year Awards, for her single “Tonight” ( a record for Kenya) and for Best Female for the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards.
In this exclusive interview she talks about what she has been up to since winning the MAMA.
This has been an exceptional year for you. What have you been up to?
At the moment I am touring and meeting the fans plus am also in the studio working on some new songs. It has been a great year and I thank God for it.
Earlier in the year, you were nominated for two continental awards Channel O and Mama Awards. You must have been excited.
It was an honour to be nominated for all the awards. Continental and international awards are very important and useful especially when you are trying to break into new markets.
Did you expect to win the 2009 Best Female MAMA MVA?
Honestly, I did not, because technically Wahu had won last year and it was thought to be unlikely for a Kenyan to win again in the same category but I worked hard, did a good video, prayed and God came through for me.
How has winning this award changed your career?
Yes, it has had a huge impact on my career locally and in Africa. It has boosted my profile as an artist and also my performance rate has gone up and that is a good thing.
You had four nominations for the Channel O Awards, promoted an aggressive Facebook voting campaign. However, you lost all the awards. What happened at the Channel O Awards?
We did our part and pushed for votes but I guess it was not meant to be. There is always next year…
What direction do you want your entertainment career to take now?
I have a team that I work with so we sit down often evaluate and strategize. Strategy is always a secret but God willing I will not disappoint my fans.
Are you working on any new albums now?
I am in the studio working on a new album
What has been the most memorable moment in your musical journey to date?
Winning an MTV award was just awesome.
You also recently dabbled with movie production. Tell us about that.
Earlier on, in the year I got the opportunity to be an associate producer for an upcoming movie called ‘Wamba’ it was a great experience and I learnt a lot I have always had an interest in movie production. I did some training sometime back with Medeva Kenya in production and learnt a lot. It was also nice to work with both a local and international film crew. The test screening for the movie is being done this week in Atlanta, Georgia.
You have quite a following on Facebook. How do you manage your Facebook page alongside your busy career?
It is tough to manage both. But I love that my fans stay true and are patient with me even when I take too long to respond to their emails. But it sure is a great way to interact one-on-one with the people who make you who you are.
Questions from Amani’s Facebook fans.
Cliford Drogba Ouma: If u were to date any musician who would it be and why?
Musicians are tricky people to date…I am one so I know. Well, D’banj looks good. So I would date him coz he looks good.
Albert Chumz: If u were not a musician which profession would you be involved in?
Dancing, movie production I love the Arts so something artistic. Everything else just does not work for me.
Mercy Omoro: Who is your favourite designer?
Wow. Locally, Betty Vanetti she is really good designed my red carpet outfit for the MAMAs and she is also an amazing costume designer. Internationally Roberto Cavalli and Monique Lhuillier they both have amazing designs.
Erick Adams Murithi: Do you write your own music?
Yes, I write all my music and it is something I really enjoy doing though you require constant inspiration to do it regularly.
Joseph Wanderi Wainana: What plans do have for your future as far as music is concerned.
To go as far as God is willing to take me and just break into new markets.
Gladys Wangari: Whom would you like to meet in this lifetime and why?
Well there are many Mariah Carey, Cece Winans just to know how they have managed to stay relevant in the industry for so many decades. Also Madonna she is the richest woman in music and has been around for more than two decades. They are also Icons in the entertainment industry. I would have also loved to meet Michael Jackson.
Melly Melvin Ngugi: Do you have a pet?
No, I am allergic to fur unless I keep a goldfish.
Lucy Njenga-mwangi: Who is your choreographer?
It is both of my dancers we work as a team. They are trained professional dancers so that really helps.
Maddie Felix: How does it feel to be a star?
My focus is not on the stardom. My focus is on the fulfilment of my dreams and destiny there are goals I want to achieve as a musician places I would like to go perform that is more important to me.
Stanley Kinyanjui: What do you do in your spare time?
I like to watch Naija movies because I think they are very entertaining I also love cartoons and animated movies, I like to swim or just chill out with my close friends.