Evelyn Wanjiru is one of the leading gospel musicians in East Africa but hope wasn’t this high for her a few years ago when she was beginning. She speaks to GEORGE D. MWENDWA about her music expedition, her annual event dubbed Praise Atmosphere and what she holds for her fans even in the midst of a life threatening pandemic.
A video of you auditioning at Tusker Project Fame was trending a while back tell us about that?
(Laughs) I was still a worship leader then and I believed my flair would easily get out there. I managed to get 3 oks from the judges but God had planned otherwise for me so I’d later get a call that said I didn’t make it to the academy. It was so heart breaking for me, I cried the whole time but God gave me the courage to trust his process. When I later released Waweza I now understood that the plans of God were way better than what I’d been scrambling for.
Kindly talk about your first time to record a song and how that was for you?
My first song was “Mazingira” and I was too inexperienced but I thought I had it all together. I had never thought of recording in my life but someone had given this opportunity so I didn’t want to fail him. The producer patient with me and my career was off to a blazing start.
Is music what you’d always wanted to do and did you have support from your family in the beginning?
My passion was to be a banker from the very beginning. I also wanted to work as an Mpesa agent (laughs). I never thought music would ever work for me this much. I never believed I would see my music all over on media. My Dad has always been my biggest supporter.
Talk about your first time on TV and what the meant to you.
My first song to play on TV was “Waweza”. There was a team from Nairobi called Kkrew and they were in Nakuru for school missions then my mum decided to host them. They were around 15 of them and their leader was Njugush now a renowned media personality. He listened to my newly recorded song and said it’ll go places. He promised to play it on his TV show and true to his word that Sunday he did play it. My family and I were too excited we cried and prayed in prayer the whole time. It meant so much to me; a dream come true.
Which is the song you can point out as your first big break?
My first big song was Waweza which received a lot of airplay and a lot of worship leaders used it in their services across the country but funny enough most people couldn’t tell who the singer of the song was. My next big song would be Mungu Mkuu (Zaidi Ya Yote) which blew to extends I couldn’t believe. I got awards, nominations and a lot of airplay across East Africa.
How much has the industry changed looking at what we had when you started 10 years ago?
There is a very huge change that has happened right now compared to 10 years back when we began. There is a lot of avenues to sell your music, social media taking over mass media, skiza platforms, downloading sites and so on. There is more networking across the globe between artistes and also between musicians and their fans.
Among your songs do you have a favourite and why?
(Chuckles) This is actually like asking a mother who their favourite child is which is impossible to tell. As for music, each is birthed in different seasons and they were sung each with a certain purpose so I have very high regard attached to each.
You have had events abroad how did all these concerts come to your table and what does this mean to you?
I believe that the favour of God is upon me. I wouldn’t say that I’m well connected but I believe in what the Bible says that your gift will make room for you before Kings and great men. God has made it possible that I might go out there and minister His gospel as well as networking with people I’ve always looked up to.
Are you living completely off your music rather is it the only thing you do?
Thankfully the world has evolved and now music is no longer a side job. It’s a full time venture. It’s the only thing I do because besides ministry it has returns from online sales, ringback tones, YouTube platform and so on. My husband and I also own a music production house dubbed Bweneive Production and it’s doing well. That’s where I record my music as well.
Tell us about Praise Atmosphere, how frequent you’ll be holding this and the impact it had the last time you held it.
It feels great to bring all African Gospel acts to come together and worship the Lord in one accord and to bless the hearts of people across the continent. We have also given young people an opportunity to serve and to grow into their areas of calling. We believe that we will hold it again this year once this pandemic is curbed.
You recently did a song with Eunice Njeri tell us about the song.
It’s called “Worthy” and Eunice is one of mentors and very good friends. It’s derived from Revelation 5 and we believe that regardless of everything we face in life, there’s nothing too big for our God to overcome.
What should we expect from Evelyn in the coming days?
We have been working on virtual concerts to air very soon. I just concluded one with Trace Gospel and more are coming up that people will worship and get blessed from home.