Vanessa Mdee – FAS Magazine Exclusive Interview
The young singer has traveled a long way to get to this stage. Just in 2007 she became the first ever Tanzanian to win MTV VJ Search and went on to host shows around the continent before signing with B Hits Music Group in late 2012. Today, she is a full fledged musical powerhouse whose single, Niroge, has been dominating radio playlists since its debut a few weeks ago. When Vanessa Mdee’s song comes out these days, the odds are you’ll be hearing it in heavy rotation. FAS magazine catches up with the singer on fashion, music and life.
Tell us about your most recent song. What inspired you to create it? Niroge is a love song about a love so strong that one may assume the persons in the relationship are compelled or bewitched. We shot the video in Johannesburg, SA. And it is by far my favorite video I’ve ever made. I’m so proud of both the song and video.
Your most fearless move? Auditioning for MTV’s VJ Search.
Most exhilarating stage performance ever and why? Fiesta 2014 Dar es Salaam. We used props from my dining room that I lost backstage. There were people in the crowd further than the eye could see. It was broadcasted live on national television. It was one of those stages that some people wait a lifetime to perform on.
You are well known not just for your music but also your great sense of fashion and style. How do you decide what to wear on stage and in your videos? Do you work with stylists? Thank you so much! I’m a big believer in the marriage between music and fashion or style. I’m a visual artist as much as I am a singing, performing artist. For videos, I definitely work with stylists or style myself with weeks of preparation just to get it all right. It’s a lot of work. For shows and day to day stuff, I am my own stylist. I prefer it this way too.
A lot has happened in your life in the past year. Has it changed you in any way as a person? It has all made me stronger and if anything, more understanding of the craft and the business.
Favourite place/city to perform in tanzania? Arusha, Hometown.
Define a strong woman. Confident, understanding of self, self love, kind, compassionate, wise.
Do the songs you write reflect your own life? Sometimes personal experiences of my own but a lot of times experiences of people around me.
What is the biggest risk you took recently? Investing in my music business has been considered a risk in our developing market. So definitely the continuous investment in Mdee Music.
Do you have an onstage persona? Absolutely, and I never know what she will do next. She knows no limits.
Have you ever had any wardrobe malfunctions onstage? Yes , but nobody noticed.
Exercise regimen like? I work out with a trainer 4 times a week
Describe your average day. Well I wake up at about 9am depending on what time I left the studio the night before. I work out for an hour. After breakfast I’m on my laptop checking emails and working on other company admin matters which usually take a good chunk of my morning. There after I go to the studio. I’m very boring haha!
How would your friends describe you? Loud haha!
What needs the other more between music and fashion. Music needs fashion more. You have tone deaf artists blow up everyday based on the mere fact that they look good.
What is the hardest part about being an artist? Consistency and constant inspiration.
What is the most enjoyable part about being an artist? Creating music that people can relate to and sing with you.
If there’s any artist in the world that you’d love to collaborate with, who would it be? Pharrell Williams
What impact do you think your music is having on people? I’d like to believe it brings joy to the masses and also inspires. #PositiveVibesOnly
Describe your personal style? Eclectic
How do you handle mistakes during a performance? I always recover from these by substituting mistakes with better delivery within the performance or at a later performance.
Which artists/musicians do you admire and why? Beyonce Knowles she’s a King
Heroes in life? My parents