Rehema Chalamila, popular by her stage name Ray C, the one-time undisputed queen of Bongo fLava is back after half a decade of fighting drug addiction that ruined her flourishing musical career. Since getting better, thanks to former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete, Ray C has been working hard on her music to reclaim her lost glory. She released a solo effort titled "Unanimaliza" and is currently doing well with a collaboration dubbed "Najiuliza" with fellow Tanzanian musician Chege and Kenyan singer Sanaipei Tande. She was in the country last week and Thomas Matiko caught up with the petite singer for a chat
Glad to have you back in Kenya, when was the last time you visited and what brings you back?
I can’t really recall but I guess the last time I was here was in 2012. I’m back for a mini tour courtesy of Ring Ring Entertainment that has seen me perform in four different counties across the coastal region.
Word has it that you relocated to Oman because you couldn’t handle the pressure of living in Dar es Salaam as paparazzi and press are always on your back to write something negative about you
Not really. I haven’t relocated to Oman and I won’t. However I visit there most of the time because I have friends and family living there.
In the last few years you have been struggling with drug addiction being on and off rehab. How have you been able to keep up the fight and would you say you are 100 per cent clean now?
Being here is proof enough that I’m well. Having said that, that’s all I’m going to comment on the topic. I no longer discuss my drug addiction battle because I believe I’m past that. In simple terms, I will put it this way, once you divorce your first wife do you still go back to her?
Back in 2014 it was reported that you started the Ray C Foundation to fight drug addiction, you were very aggressive at first and even had beef with fellow musicians TID and Chidi Benz whom you sort to help fight the menace. But over time you have slowed down on your campaign, what happened to the Foundation?
That is a story for another day.
Are you still in touch with the former president of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete who is credited for helping you?
JK (Jakaya Kikwete) is my dad, forever, he will always be.
A few months ago you trended when you put up a post on your Instagram claiming that you have a huge crush on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, was that serious or some sort of attention seeking ploy?
I was just being honest, I love Uhuru, and he seems like a nice guy, a very down to earth guy and cute for that matter. I love his speeches even though politics is not my cup of tea. As an individual away from being the President, I’m in love with his personality. He is the kind of man I would want.
Are you currently in a relationship and if not would you love to fall in love again?
I’m not dating anyone right now and I’m not even thinking of dating anyone at the moment. I’m too busy with my music.
You have lost a lot of weight in a short span and gotten back to your original petite body size
Yes! This has always been my body size. I have been hitting the gym really hard and watching what I eat, I’m glad I’m back to my original body shape.
You have proved to the world that one can fall and rise again. Since coming back how has the reception been?
It’s been great. My fans have been loyal, they have been with me through thick and thin and I appreciate the love I have received so far.
When you started your career there was hardly any serious competition as it is right now. Do you still believe you have what it takes to reclaim your lost glory?
I don’t see any competition in the game; the only thing I see is the advancement in technology that has pushed music to another level. It is easier now for every artiste to push music out there without much of a hustle as it was back in the day. For instance through use of social media and blogs most of my songs, jams that I recorded a long time ago are still doing great. In a nut shell, I don’t see any competition in Tanzania, all I see is that every artiste is doing pretty well at an individual level because the platform is much bigger now than before.
Your collaboration Najiuliza with Chege, and Kenyan singer Sanapei Tande, how did it come about?
I will not answer that.
How would you love to be remembered once you are done doing music?
Even if I’m to die today, I will and shall forever remain Ray C, a great musician. My legacy will always be remembered.