By Maithya Kioko
The scent of taste and distinguished refinement were present with Hennessy and UAV Wines coming together to support Tanzanian pop star Vanessa Mdee’s Money Mondays album launch party at the Aspire Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, on Monday.
From the moment the charismatic singer arrived to showcase her body of work to the plethora of media houses present. Vanessa captivated the room as she discussed the lengthy five-year process that went into producing this independent project, whose sales have already gone double platinum within the first week of its release. When asked about the challenges that she faced during the production process, “Money is the number one challenge being an independent artist,” although she went on to say that it was fun.
Vanessa’s positive outlook on what was definitely not an easy road to her first album displays the energy she seems to have in spades. The singer is expected to have an even busier year with her forthcoming project with Universal Music Group that will feature a more international sound as she aims to capture a greater audience beyond Africa. However, she is not fazed by the pressure and is excited to take her current album all across the continent. Vanessa defines “Swahili culture” as the biggest consideration she made when making the album.
“As culture custodians it is our responsibility. There aren’t too many bodies of work that represent the culture that well… we had to make people understand that this is from East Africa.”
Vanessa says she gets homesick when she’s on tour. The self-confessed foodie counts home-cooked meals, and running out of shoes while living the tour life as the major things she misses, along with the freedom of being home.
Money Mondays features multiple producers, including Nahreel (from Navy Kenzo), Ekelly, Tahphha, Bob Maneck and more who came together to bring forth a clean, finished sound. Which is perhaps why the one song she wishes she did herself is Thriller by Michael Jackson because of the production, which was produced by Quincy Jones.
The space set out for the listening party did not disappoint the bevy of guests, which included Chimano of Sauti Sol and songstress Habida. This album launch was indicative of an artist who has secured her place in our continent, and is well on her way to garnering even more fans across the globe.