Maandy Kabaya broke into the Kenyan music scene in 2016 as a rapper and has since then gone on to release fan-favourite hits such as Pon It, Shash na Lipgloss and Sirudi Home. Her sharp lyricism and bad girl attitude has given MAANDY a unique persona that is recognisably specific to her. She has also extended the tentacles of her brand through working with notable producers such as Jacky B, Mavo, Pari, DJ Mura and Wes. Her collaborations with industry heavyweights such as Breeder LW, Fena Gitu and X-Ray from Boondocks Gang are electric and have helped in solidifying her position as an East-African rising star.
In this conversation, She breaks down her artistic journey, successes and challenges in the music industry.
Good evening MAANDY, how’re you doing tonight? How’s the weather in Kenya?
MAANDY: I am doing great, haha, it is a fine weather
Starting off, can you tell us what inspired you to go into the rap playing field of music?
While I was growing up, dancehall and hiphop music was what I listened to mostly, so I kinda fell in love with rap. Plus all the elements of rap just fascinates me.
Oh, so was it easy for you to be accepted in the music industry at first? What was that phase of your journey like?
When I was starting out I knew it would take some time before people knew who I was but it still wasn’t easy. My journey has been just like any other. Mistakes, lessons, lots of downs but these days I only wake up to wins.
That must be nice. Your debut album ‘Kabaya‘ spent a whole month being the number one album on Boomplay Music in Kenya, showing that your music has received massive acceptance. What does this mean to your growth as an artiste?
It means people just like what I have. And I will keep making it. To me it also shows that in whatever capacity I’m in I always make sure I give my best.
Listening to your music and from your artiste persona, you portray a bad chick identity. Does this relate to your personal character or is it just your artistic act?
Not an act per say. I’d call it a blend of my alter ego and my thoughts. But in person I’m hella lowkey, I don’t even speak much in social settings. You might say I’m shy.
Oh, so artistically you are just expressing your perception of self. As a rapper, singer and songwriter though, where do you find your most profound artistic inspiration?
I think most of that come from my personal experiences living in Nairobi
And now you have taken your city (and nation by storm). You have been named one of the top ten Kenyan MCs, what do you think makes you different from other rappers in the Kenyan music industry?
I really just stick to my truth by not trying to be something I’m not.
Okay so now speak your truth – What’s your assessment of music generally in Kenya? Is Kenyan making impact in Africa and beyond?
Yes. Things are looking better, and now there’s sort of equal opportunity for everyone creating. In terms of making an impact, we still have a long way way to go but we will get there.
Good talk. If were not making rap music right now, what else would you be doing?
Interesting! So can you tell us three things about you that probably nobody else knows?
1. I like cartoons, a lot. Probably the only thing I watch.
2. I Hardly listen to music
3. I’m shy
Hmm… for someone who makes music, 2 is kind of weird. What are some of the challenges you face as a female rapper in the east African music industry?
I think most of the issues I face as an artist aren’t specifically because of my gender, but the biggest one as a female artist is being downplayed a lot and also people overstepping boundaries just because they feel like they can.
Do you see yourself collaborating with Artistes from other regions in the continent? If you would, what three Artistes would you love to work with and why?
Of course I see myself collaborating with artists from other regions. My top 3 would be Wizkid, because Wizkid. Focalistic too, and Doja because I like her style a lot!
Finally before we let you go, what should we expect from you in the coming months?
FRISKY THE ALBUM. Out NOVEMBER 10TH