By ANOZIE EGOLE
Kenya-born Victoria Kimani stormed the Nigerian music scene to make a difference. Couple of years down the line, it seems the curvaceous beauty has found a nest for herself and she is set to blossom and compete with the very best in the industry. Signed to Chocolate City label, the gorgeous diva talked to us about her life:
Evolution into music
Just like every other talented singer, music started for Victoria Kimani at a very tender age. In fact to show how talented she is, she recorded her first single, titled How I feel, at the age of 16.
“I remember singing around the house because my parents played gospel music a lot. But I preferred listening to real American gospel music.
Singing along most times, I started practising and miming on my own. So, one day, I was just singing all alone in the house and my dad walked in and caught me singing. He told me that I had a beautiful voice, but I never believed him because I didn’t really know I could sing. I just liked singing at that point. Because of that, I didn’t like singing in his presence any longer because I was shy. Later, my dad got me a tape recorder and I was recording myself after which I would play it back to listen to myself. After sometime, I started learning how to make words rhyme.
When I turned 16, I recorded my first song which was titled, How I feel. It was the most interesting song you would ever hear and I kept recording myself till I turned 17. At 17, I did a back up for Mercy Macah, a top Kenyan legendary singer and she was really at the peak of her career at that time. So I used to visit her and sing for her and she liked my voice. Then she told me she was going for a musical tour two week from then and asked me to come along if I was ready to work hard enough on my singing. We worked together and we did about 16 songs. I learned a lot with her touring countries like, Burkinafaso and Tanzania. We went all over Kenya, performing. That was the beginning of my music career.”
About her person
Aside music, Victoria simply describes herself as a slightly rebellious person. “I would describe myself as slightly rebellious and an eccentric person. I think I am an eccentric person because I like to express myself and I get really bored if I have the same hairstyle for a long time. I don’t like waiting for people to do things for me. Even now that I am signed to Chocolate City, I do a lot of things myself. I used to be a make-up artiste at some point, so I just learned how to do things for myself. I am an independent person.”
On why she did not venture into gospel music, given her strict Christian background, she said, “my mother asks me that every day when we talk on phone. She will tell me that it will be better if I go into gospel but I don’t know why I don’t want to go into gospel.
I think when I started writing, it was more about how I started, so it was more about expressing how I feel and not necessarily about worship. I love worship music and I listen to it when I want to sleep. I just never saw myself as someone who will make gospel music but I saw myself as someone who will make music that will talk about Christ.”
Her involvement with One campaign
With her involvement in the One campaign which is in its second stage now, the Kenyan-born Nigeria-based talented singer has said that she bought the idea because she feels that would be a wonderful way of letting the continent know the importance of agriculture since the first edition of the campaign talked about the benefits of investing in agriculture in order to reduce poverty.
“This is actually my second year of being involved in One Campaign. The first year was basically to promote and speak about agriculture to different people in Africa.
It is all about trying to encourage the youths to be more involved in farming, and reminding them that the richest black man in the world, Dangote, is very much involved in agriculture. So we are just trying to encourage the youths that we have wealth at home through agriculture, that, there is no need going outside to look for wealth when we have so much wealth at home too.
When they called me the first time for the One Campaign, I did not even know what the campaign was all about but I later realised that it is all about poverty eradication. Poverty affects women more than it affects men. Anything that affects women touches my heart considerably.
On how much of the campaign she has taken home to her people in Kenya, she said, “you know what, this is my lifestyle, this is what I am all about. Recently, there is something going on in the streets of Kenya where women were stripped naked for dressing in a way they termed indecent.
The idea is that women are not allowed to wear anything that exposes their body and I was very vocal with the campaign. I dress the way I want and you find out that it all boils down to sexism and poverty and illiteracy. Because I was looking at some women who were victims of that, they were not even indecent; they were wearing leggings. This is something I speak about all the time. So I am very involved with it in my country. I would really want the campaign to come to Kenya as well. Having the likes of Omotola and Waje, among others, coming to Kenya for the campaign will be awesome.
Comparing Nigerian music industry with Kenyan
It is no doubt a true statement that barely few years since she got into the Nigerian music industry all the way from Kenya, Victoria Kimani has impressed. Talking about her instant success in the Nigerian music industry she said she wanted to do a pan-African music that would be accepted all over the continent.
“Before I was signed to Los Angelos Laker Ron Artist, I knew I had always wanted to come back home and do music that would be accepted in Africa as a whole. I knew that if I had gone to Kenya it could be cool but everyone knows that when you talk of music and entertainment in general, Nigeria is like Hollywood, compared with other countries in Africa.
So I said to myself, I needed to come here because there are so many talents. So many people including the media are so interested in music compared to Kenya where less than 65% of Kenyan youths are interested in music but here in Nigeria it is like 70%. So when I was in the US I told myself that I needed to go back home and be a pan-African artiste; that artiste who will be able to move around the continent. So that was the reason for my coming in her,. I am so grateful to God, almost three years into the business I would say that I am getting closer to my goal but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Victoria Kimani as a sex symbol
Victoria Kimani has been described as one of the most beautiful and sexiest women to ever grace the African music scene. Looking at her and seeing those captivating curves you may agree with those who describe her that way. But in her own perception she sees being a sex symbol as a totally different thing and she explains:
“I don’t think that is a bad thing. I am quite aware of that. Besides, why should I apologise for owning up to what is mine. At times, I can choose to wear Hijab to cover it up. Sometimes, I decide to flaunt it. I don’t even look at what people say because this is me and I try to be myself oftentimes. It is people who look at me as sex symbol. I think seeing me as a sex symbol depends on what the people seeing me that way think. It is their own assessment because I do not dress or act it. Dressing is a thing of choice, what others like might be what others dislike.
Problems with the parents
Many would be wondering how her parents were able to cope with her eccentric lifestyle as a child, being the only daughter of the house. But she wasted no time in disappointing them with this answer, “I think they liked it because I was doing what was right and I was very resourceful. I would sing when I was on my own. Because my daddy was a singer too before he became a pastor, he never saw anything wrong in my singing. Besides, I think I inherited my father’s strong and stubborn streak.
I remember some people have told me my father was very stubborn in his young days before he became a pastor. But like I said, it was never an issue; I never saw that as an issue. I remember when I said I wanted to pierce my nose, I was too young back then in the States and was not yet 18 but I went ahead. When I showed it to my dad he just said “it is nice and cool.” I expected him to be mad at me but he showed no such sign.
“Knowing I had no qualms with my father concerning issues like that, couple of years later I had my tongue pierced and when he saw it he shouted that I should spit what was in my mouth out. I hid it from him for sometime but told him the truth later and he never complained. All I can say is that my parents understand the difference between a good kid who is just weird and a bad kid who is going out of his/her ways to do something bad.”
Her fashion style
“I work with a lot of make-up artistes but sometimes I dictate my style myself. If I see something that I feel it is not going to look good on me, I will not wear it so that it will not look like somebody is forcing me to wear something. I like to try different things and that is one good thing about fashion.”
To make the record clear, she said that her fashion style is quite different from her lifestyle as she said she lives a disciplined and focused life.
“My fashion is different from my lifestyle. My fashion might be weird and crazy but that is not my lifestyle. I think I live a very disciplined and focused life. I wake up in the morning, work out, cook my own food and go to the studio and do whatever I want to do. I live a very normal and simple life. I don’t really have a party lifestyle, I don’t club much. I think I need to keep working harder because at the end of the day I want to be found backing my parents up in whatever they are doing. And to do that, I need to have capital. I need to have money coming in for myself.
Doing a Kenyan music
For so many who are expecting this singer to do a full Kenyan music, their expectations may take a very long time to come to fulfillment as the singer can’t see herself doing it better than those in it already. “That is a very good question, I think I can’t call it a Kenyan music because Kenyan music does not necessarily have a sound the way we have a sound here. But Kenyan music has always been very diverse and we have some Kenyan artistes that do that well.
They have a very acoustic kind of dance. The thing about the music is that you don’t have a sound for it but you can differentiate it from other people’s music or tracks with the language. I am kind of scared because I do not know how to go about the song on this side of the continent. I have taken time to listen to all the sounds that I hear but I have not heard one I can really say sounds Kenyan.”