Just when music fans across Tanzania thought their music world had come to an end following the adored songbird Vanessa Mdee announcing her departure from the industry, looks like there is still a bit of hope after she retracted her statement which was made earlier this week - music to our ears.
It was utter shock when Vanessa, who has spent a decade in the Bongo Flava industry, suddenly decided it was the end of the road for her music career.
An instant dark cloud engulfed the entertainment arena, as it was on the verge of losing one of the most talented musicians of this generation.
Vanessa is considered to be at the top of the ladder, or somewhere very close to the summit if we’re to compile a list of greatest ever female musicians in Tanzania. She shares such bragging rights with icons of Lady Jaydee’s calibre - a mean feat by any measure.
But personal problems saw her take a hiatus, raising concerns from her fans after she went mute in her music endeavours.
Remnants of her discography were the only solace available as people sought for a closer attachment to the artiste.
Their fears were further compounded when she decided to make the hiatus permanent, or so it seemed.
The great news of her decision to stay the course, albeit in a lesser role, has been received with broad smiles even from those who’d taken little time to listen to her angelic voice during her active days.
Vanessa made a u-turn on an earlier announcement that she has quit music to embark on a self-discovery journey.
The earlier revelation of quitting music was made five days ago on her podcast Deep Dive, stating that while she loved music, she has been forced to call it quits.
She went as far as terming the music industry as ‘demonic’ and blamed it for steering her down the wrong path.
“The reason why I have to leave the industry is because I needed to choose my life, the music industry is demonic,” Vanessa said in the podcast.
“My fans are probably asking themselves right now ‘are you gonna never sing again? Are we never gonna see you perform?’ Let me reiterate. I love music, I love to create, I love to perform. I’m a vessel. This is what I was brought on earth to be, but maybe I was a vessel to be here in this moment to have gone through everything that I have gone through so that I can tell you most honestly the truth about things you will never hear somewhere else,” she explained herself further.
The announcement caused shock waves among her fans and fellow artistes, especially in Tanzania, where she is adored by millions of fans.
Not quitting music
However, in a recent video session, the Cash Madame appeared to have taken back her words, saying she will continue recording new music and performing.
She also pointed out that she will keep making music and attending shows, although she will not be part of the music industry.
“Muziki ni sehemu ya maisha yangu for the rest of my life, nitatengeneza muziki for the rest of my life. Nita-perform for the rest of my life lakini sitaki kuwa sehemu ya music industry,” she said.
Vanessa, who currently resides in the US with her Nigerian-American boyfriend Rotimi, has had massive success in the 10 years she has been involved in the music industry.
Before venturing into music, the 32-year-old was a TV personality and radio presenter hosting entertainment shows. She was also the first-ever Tanzanian MTV VJ.
After six years in the media industry, she quit radio to launch her music career by releasing her first-ever jam Me & You featuring Ommy Dimpoz in 2012. The following year in January she dropped her first single Closer.
Her success story seemed destined for a bright future owing to her auspicious start. She went on to record massive hits with Tanzanian, Kenyan, South African and Nigerian artsites, making her a star across the African continent.
So great was her success in music that there was a time - not too long ago, she was mentioned in the same line with other big female artistes in Africa, the likes of Yemi Alade and Tiwa Savage. Vanessa was also crowned, on numerous occasions, the ‘Queen of East African music’, a title she held dearly and represented effortlessly.
But as time went on, and other personal issues started getting in the way, her identity as a top artiste started taking a beating. She was no longer the same Vanessa that people had grown to adore so much.
Her relationship with fellow artiste Juma Jux also diverted the attention from her music career to personal relationship. Even though the two did make music together as a couple, when they finally decided to call it quits after months of ups and downs, it was around the same time that Vanessa had also stopped releasing any big hits.
After finding love again and retracing her lost happiness, hopes were high that she’d jump back on the music wagon and send smiles to her fans. This was a high toll of optimism, but fans were just happy to see her at least smile again. But after a while questions started to arise and her priorities were questioned along the same line.
Out of sight
Vanessa is one of the most-followed East African celebrities on social media, but she decided to minimize her social media presence and would only pop-up once in a while to post a video or photo of her cozying up with Romiti in the US, or she’d post an endorsement ad on her timeline - to keep the money coming in.
When she decided to do the podcast which hinted an imminent departure from the industry, it felt like it was a long time coming, but it was shocking nonetheless.
Fans expressed their displeasure with her decision.
But seems to be water under the bridge following the latest update on what appears to be a Vanessa who’s struggling to cope with life’s pressures. Fans can only hope that her recent statement to continue with music, even on a less-active role, will later develop into more active presence in the creative industry.