Dar es Salaam. Vanessa Mdee is probably one of the hottest female musicians on the continent today and the multiple award nominations and wins is testimony to this growth.
Having risen from a VJ at MTV and a radio presenter at Choice FM she seems to be scaling the heights that not so many of her compatriots have been able to. This week she speaks to the Beat on the new album, the record deal with Universal and even some personal life. Below are excerpts of the interview.
Lets talk about Money Mondays, is it finally out as you had promised?
The album is ready and the pre-order link for this long awaited project is out!! It has 16 tracks with two bonus hits featuring several collaborations from across Africa. Some of the songs were released before, but most are those that you will hear for the first time.
Artistically what approach does this album take?
Money Mondays is a concept based on the evolution of self. The betterment of self, I have come from On air personality to singer to an actress. It is about the idea that one can keep evolving in life in career in love and then Mondays representing the first day of the week. In this case with new beginnings, fresh starts everyday is a ‘Money Monday’, you can start again and be great. You just need to choose greatness.
What collaborations do you have in this new work?
My collaborations are very organic. I love to work with people who just flow with me from the conception of the ideas all the way to the development of the song. You’ll see a large percentage of my collaborations are with Tanzanian artists. And you know I had to throw in some dance hall and hip hop vibes!
Word has it that you have been signed by Universal Records Germany. How true and to what extent is this likely to be the game changer?
By signing, I already changed the game! The contract between Universal and I is very unique, it is non generic and created to my liking. I wouldn’t want to say too much on this right now... but just get ready for more great music from me in 2018.
Through Mdee Music you are managing some artistes what has the journey been so far?
Mdee Music is my label. I am also signed by my own label, I constantly demand for high levels of management, professionalism, caring, consistency, and open minded management, meaning all artistes signed under the label receive nothing short of this management! I have put together a great team who make sure that all this fall in place.
The festive season us here do you have any performances lined up?
The festive season is here but almost wrapping up! December is always a busy month for me. I have had performances both in and out of Tanzania every weekend since the beginning of the festive month. I will be performing in Nigeria next week and will usher in the New Year as the headlining artist at the highly anticipated NYE party in Diani Kenya.
On a quick take what can you say were some of the events that influenced 2017 for you and your music?
The past year has been a rollercoaster ride. I have hit highs and extreme lows. I have shed tears of frustration, exhaustion and even heartbreak. On the flip side, I have shed tears of joy, love and appreciation! And I am now closing the year with the release of my album. And I cannot thank the Lord more for moulding me into what I have grown to be. I don’t allow myself to be influenced by life events, I only learn and prosper from them. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
Mimi Mars is probably one of rising talents in Bongo Flava today, what role have you played in her growth?
Mimi Mars is my younger sister. Given a gift by God to spread love through song! And she is killing it, check out her brand latest single Sitamani which is out now.
Did you and Jux really separate or it was some stunt? And if so was Kisela dedicated to him?
I don’t play when it comes to matters of the heart. I prefer to guard and protect my heart! As far as I am concerned, as an artiste I only dedicate music to my fans. I do not make music for individuals.
Who worked on the cover design of Money Mondays?
The Money Mondays cover design is a collaborative effort between myself, my team and of course, the genius who brings our visions to life, Osse.