Gloria Muliro, the 2013 Groove Award winner in the category of Best Female Artist has come a long way.
Gloria Muliro, of the Sitolia (Translated as 'I will not cry') fame was born in Vihiga District, Western Kenya about 30 years ago.
She is the fourth child in a family of five.
“I attended Emanyinya Primary School in Mumias Central then went back to Emanyinya to complete my class eight in 1995. In 1996, I joined St Theresa Girls in Nairobi where I completed my form four course in 2001,” says Gloria.
But unfortunately due to financial problems the family was experiencing she could not be given her results as she owed the school a lot of money in form of fees balance.
She says things were quite tough though she always hoped that one time God would one time sort her out.
“I got a job as a house help which I did for two years in the Eastlands of Nairobi. I worked with a lot of commitment trusting in the Lord and sure enough God blessed me. I raised enough money, cleared my debt in school and was issued with my certificates that changed my destiny altogether,” the humble artist says with excitement.
She was able to join International Teachers Training College (TTC), Dagoretti for a two year teaching course.
'I WORKED VERY HARD'
Gloria says, “I worked very hard and passed all my exams and as soon as I finished I was employed by Maranatha Academy as a teacher and was happy about.”
Asked how her music career started she responds, “Way back in 1997, when I was in Form Two at St Theresa Girls I got saved and I used to sing a lot in Praise and Worship. I never thought that it would bring me this far. I joined several singing groups and it was through them that I gained more confidence in my singing.”
Then she adds that one time as she was singing Alipo Yesu Yote Yawezekana (Where Jesus is Everything is Possible) other singers were so impressed by her singing.
This was in 2002.
Afterwards, a certain pastor requested that they repeat the same song “This was when it was confirmed by the congregation that I was actually talented in singing. It gave me a lot of confidence as everybody urged me to go fully into singing and I did not want to sit on my talent.”
She sung and had a good collection of songs and shortly after this, produced her first album in Luhya, Mwami Aletsa (God is Coming).
"Unfortunately, not many media houses gave it any publicity although many of my fans praised me for my voice and the message the songs contained. The song that hit was Mwami Aletsa and it used to be played all over especially in Western Kenya.
PIRACY A MAJOR PROBLEM
Like many other artists in the developing world Gloria says piracy is her major problem. She says several times hawkers have wanted to sell her own pirated music.
“The situation is that bad. Our music is sold in Muthurwa Market and many other parts of the country and we have very little we can do to stop it. It is very sad. The returns are also very low and discouraging despite the fact that we spend so much to produce an album.”
She however says what keeps her going is that she is able to spread the Gospel to those who listen to her music. She also keeps praying to God to give her strength to soldier on in pursuit of success in a near future.
Her family; husband, children and the in-laws have been very supportive.
“Them together with my producers; Dreamland, Bize Bees, Link and Eagle have been the pillars of my success,” says the songbird.
She has since produced other albums like Ombi Langu (2010) and Kibali (2011). The song Sitolia that catapulted her to fame is in her second album Ombi Langu.
Gloria says she has a lot of respect for other Gospel Singers especially Christina Shusho, Rebecca Malope, Cece Winans and the late Angela Chibalonza.
“Their music really inspires me, and I pray that I sing my way to their fame,” she asserts.
To upcoming gospel artist Gloria advices, “They need to be patient, work hard and their aim should be to spread the Gospel and then other things to follow. Once they get to fame should not forget that it is God’s work and thank him and continue trusting in him. That way the sky will be their limit.”
Gloria says since she stopped teaching in 2010 she has been involved in the running of a children’s home in her church, singing and preaching and hopes to take Gospel Music to greater heights of success.
“With God, nothing is impossible,” she concludes.