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Girl of the moment

Saturday April 11 2009

Judith Nyambura Mwangi aka Avril.

Judith Nyambura Mwangi aka Avril. 

By TIM KAMUZU BANDA

Did you copy Avril Lavigne?
Avril: No! I do not know why everybody thinks I did. I chose the name because I was born in April and Avril is French for April. I am not even a fan of hers.

How do you describe you?
I am the newest and most refreshing singer on the scene. My style is urban contemporary but I am very flexible and that is why I have done collaborations with a number of artistes from very different genres.

Where did music start for you?
Unlike many musicians, I did not start in the church choir or even in school. I did poetry and drama in school but that was just about it. In fact, I discovered that I could captivate people with my voice long after I completed secondary school in Uganda.

How did that discovery come to be?
Very interesting. I had just completed my A -levels and moved back to Kenya when I attended Jaza Lorry 1 as a volunteer. I met many current artistes (then) and I was impressed but it was Banda and Lucas of Ogopa who invited me to do voice-overs for Trapeez. That was 2005 and for me it was still just a pastime but I was firmly part of the Ogopa family then.

So, you have been singing since 2005?
Not really! I did voice-overs for the longest time and then I backed up a number of artistes before the producers thought that I was refined enough to start working on collaborations and that is when I really started enjoying my music.

Who were the collaborations with?
I did ‘Tayari’ with Jaguar, which was a blast, and then I worked on ‘Number 1’ with King George which to date has its crowd. I have also done a collabo with Tanzania’s AY called ‘Ahsante’. That is yet to be released but is a heavy track. Wait and see!

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You are so bullish about your chances, aren’t you?
(Laughs) I am my number one fan and I think everybody needs to be confident with what you are doing. I am giving this my all and I love the response by the minute. I think that is a good thing.

What do you call the song that dazzled everyone at Mr & Miss UON?
Oh, that one. Did you like it too? It is called ‘Mama’ and it is actually my first solo song. The song is a about a girl pleading with her parents to understand her and accept her choice of a boyfriend. It has resonated well with many people because it is an issue many people my age face.

Are you a girl for the big stage then?
I would like to think that I am. I performed at the Mr & Miss UON (Carnivore), international Women’s Day, and Stardust in Malindi and at the Youth Convention at Bomas of Kenya among other places. I am also looking forward to a very big show this weekend, as I am one of the curtain raisers for the Morgan Heritage reggae show.

What is the most you have earned as an artiste?
That is like asking someone for their pay slip. Let me just give you an estimation which is something between Sh 70,000 and Sh 100,000 for a single show.

It took Ogopa a long time to release Amani’s album, what is the plan with you?
I would like to look at it like Amani and the others came at a time when our music scene was at an experimenting period. Ogopa has been in the business for well over 10 years since, so I have confidence that they have a great strategy for me. I am taking it one day at a time; I would not like to rush things.

Where do you see the competition for you?
Competition ehh…(thinks), not in a bad way but I think I am my biggest competition. That is not to say that I have no respect for other artistes because I do. However, if anyone is going to make me big, it is I.

Are you in a relationship and with whom?
(Thinks for a long time) Do I really, really have to say this? Let it pass, I am concentrating on my music now.

How is your family taking your being in music?
My mom is one of my biggest fans and supports me a lot.

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FACT FILE
Name: Avril
Age: 22
Occupation: Singer & student
Studying: Design at UON
Family: 1st born family of two
Area code: Nakuru
Worst trait: Perfectionism
[email protected]

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