Interview by ARMC | Edited by Reggie Rasodi
Our social media guru, Reggie Rasodi got an opportunity to chat with Muthaka – a luminary in the realm of contemporary indie soul, hailing from the vibrant musical landscape of Nairobi, Kenya. As an award-winning singer, songwriter, and performer, Muthaka’s evocative vocals and soulful compositions have garnered widespread acclaim, setting her apart as a formidable force in the music industry. With a unique fusion of cultural influences and a captivating stage presence, Muthaka stands as a testament to the rich diversity of talent emerging from the heart of Africa.
Please introduce yourself and share a little about your musical journey?
I am an award winning Contemporary Indie Soul Singer, Songwriter and Performer from Nairobi, Kenya. I first began singing at the age of 9 and professionally began my music career in 2018 performing my original songs at various events. I went on to release my first song and Project dubbed Sunshine in 2021, most recently releasing my collaborative EP titled Love Bite in 2023 Featuring notable Kenyan Artists and Producers. I also got my first award nominations from AFRIMA in 2022 for Songwriter of the Year and Best Female Artiste in Eastern Africa, winning the latter.
What motivated you to choose music as your career path?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a performer. Music has always been my passion and song writing is now something I cant imagine my life without. Right after High School I joined a Performance training Program and fell in love with the process and creativity that comes with putting together songs and experiences for people.
Please share a moment when you felt empowered as a woman in the music industry, and how did it shape your career?
Curating my own show will always be the top moment. In 2018 I organized a performance with a full lineup of female artists and that experience taught me a lot. I continue to curate such performance, most recently my sold out solo performance in June 2023 and a follow up taking place this December 2023 – and intend to bring back another all female line up. It goes to show how much female artists are not only needed but appreciated, and seeing people show up to support us always makes me feel empowered to keep creating spaces for us to thrive.
Because representation matters, how has the concept of representation influenced your career, and what approach do you aspire to adopt in the music industry to serve as a positive example for future generations?
Right now especially I think its important to show future generations of artists that you don’t have to follow what is popular. It is important to do what is unique to you and show something different that only you can offer as opposed to doing what seems to bring virality. If nothing else I think my AFRIMA win was a big indication of this especially considering the heavyweights I was up against, it shows that there is a capacity for all of us to exist in our different styles, themes and ways of expression. I hope to continue to stay true to myself.
Collaboration is key in the music world. Could you tell us about a memorable collaboration with another talented woman and what you learned from the experience?
Working with Chemutai Sage is the best thing I have ever done. Not only have I admired her all my career but getting to write and perform with her completely changed how I viewed the industry and myself. She constantly reminds me how much we can achieve and always offers up her support. We got to release a song titled Go and continue to speak and support each other in every way. She is now more like a big sister to me and I would have never gained such an important friend and mentor if it wasn’t for the music we created together.