It’s hard not to love Talia Oyando. The woman who once collaborated with E-Sir in the track “Hamunitishi” is still as relevant as ever – 16 years later.
With her mellifluous voice, Talia could have had a great career as a singer. She could have been celebrated as a female pioneer like Wahu or Amani but she chose to focus on radio instead, a move that didn’t backfire.
Like the petals of a rose flower opening up to allow pollination, the airwaves have kept on opening up to create numerous opportunities for Talia. In 2018, she is a radio presenter, a TV host, an MC and a social media influencer. On a more personal level, she is a super mum and a gym devotee. If I am to take a wild guess, I would say she is a very happy human being.
LOVE FOR REGGAE
She is also the lady who made it cool to love reggae. Previously, the genre was only associated with crime and ghetto mentality. Reggae was known as the poor man’s music. It is still stereotyped in that manner in various parts of the world. But in Kenya, this perception has been diluted.
When the conservatives kept seeing this elegant lady jamming to Cocoa Tea and Burning Spear while championing the Caribbean sound each and every day, they began garnering interest. Their thinking shifted from “I cannot listen to this” to “this music isn’t so bad after all.” A random CEO is probably blasting reggae now in his Mercedes as he cruises through the streets of Nairobi.
Due to her peerless dedication to her work, Talia has become friends with a good number of reggae and dancehall artistes. Busy Signal calls her “Chululups”, which is Jamaican slang for something sweet and Tarus Riley featured her in his video.
The Night Nurse, as she is popularly known, isn’t one-dimensional. She doesn’t breathe and eat reggae only. She likes to promote old school as a whole. It’s only in her radio shows where you are likely to hear a random Wakimbizi song from back in the day popping up when you least expected.
Even from the way she talks, you can tell she misses the good old days of Kenyan music. She obviously isn’t a fan of the current Timmy Tdat and Kristoff era. And we can’t fault her for that. Most of us agree that the purest Kenyan music was made in the early 2000s.
Talia was also lucky enough to get into the limelight when she was quite young. In an age bracket where most Kenyans are struggling with college life, Talia had already worked with big names. She did “Sweety Banana” with Nyambane and “Mimi na Wewe” with CMB Prezzo.
She won an Emmy in 2001 because of music. The prestigious award came after she composed the “Jambo Rafiki” album as part of the girl group Talma. Everything was going well but she still decided to unceremoniously dump the life of beats and rhymes.
Her career change wasn’t a bad thing as her radio job at Nation FM and later Easy FM made her even more famous. But, without warning, she let it all go.
Talia took a lengthy hiatus from the showbiz industry, citing family reasons and the need to find her inner self. She was dearly missed. The Night Nurse had left without warning and fans became ill in numbers. It was like the bubonic plague. Who would treat them now?
Then one day, she reappeared. She came back and reclaimed her position as the reggae and old school ambassador, this time at Homeboyz Radio. What’s amazing is that even after she resurfaced, she still managed to maintain her fame. There are only a few people in the world that can pull that off. One of them is Adele, the British singer.
Most celebrities are usually not so lucky when they decide to take some time off. They get forgotten quite quickly. Their decisions to take a hiatus and find inner peace usually leaves them richer in the heart but poorer in influence, curriculum vitae, money and reputation.
Today, we are thankful that Talia is one of those people that we can always go to for something different. We can listen to her old school selections on the radio when we are tired of the incessant modern songs. We can also watch her on TV every Saturday and get in the party mood.
Women who want to have a perfect body like hers can also emulate her workout routines on Instagram instead of dreaming of plastic surgery. Call her a self-contained celebrity.
Sometimes you can sit down and wonder, “Why do people like Talia stay winning?” The answer, I believe, lies in a T.E. Lawrence quote: “All humans dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the grubby recesses of their minds wake up in the morning to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are far more dangerous, for they always act on their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
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