African music doesn’t lie only within its west. Although most of the world’s attention at the moment is focused on Afropop and other fusions that can be found majorly in cities like Lagos, Accra, Abuja, Port Harcourt and other parts of West Africa, there is music even beyond her.
In the south, there’s amapiano which stole a lot of global buzz in 2021 and has maintained it up till date with even more international acts tapping into its addictive and upbeat rhythm.
In North Africa, rai remains a rave, with rap and garage adaptations. And of course, in the east, there is the famous bongo music which happens to be the pop sound and has birthed international superstars with Diamond Platinumz as a worthy mention.
With an Instagram following of 6.3 million people and multiple records with artistes from all over the world, Nandy cannot be overlooked when a list of important musicians out of Africa is being compiled. Before now, she has been to Lagos twice already and has records with popular singers Joeboy and Mr Eazi, and gradually navigating her way through Nigerian pop.
“I am happy to be here. It’s been a little bit crazy, but I like it,” the songster confesses in this chat with Itty Okim. “I have been here about five times. First time was during the Tecno “Own The Stage” competition in 2016. My second time coming to Lagos was to shoot a commercial for Guinness as their brand ambassador and the third time was in 2019 when I won the award for Best East African Female Artiste at the AFRIMMA. Presently, I am in Lagos to record, run media schedules and have some fun.”
For a city with so many ills and a lot of hustles and bustles, Nandy seems to be in love with a lot of elements of Lagos. However, she cherishes Nigerian jollof almost more than everything else.
I love the food. My favourite is jollof rice. I love the people. They are so kind. The music producers are awesome too.
Nandy is every shade of a success story. Having to fight her way through a humble background in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania to be one of the most celebrated singers and actors in the country was definitely not an easy journey. This is why even beyond genres and labels, her music is one that can be considered soulful.
Growing up was tough. I grew up in Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro region and things weren't so easy. This is why I make soulful music; as therapy for both myself and my listeners.
Do you ever feel the need to compare the standard of music in West Africa to that from East Africa?
I can’t compare the music because we speak different languages, our accents are different and we have our different tastes. The West has theirs and we have ours. This is why when we collaborate, it is always a hit song.
What’s the best part of being a music artist for you?
Getting to travel a lot and meeting new people. For me, that’s the best part of the experience of being a music artist.
And what do you consider to be the worst part?
Lack of privacy. Sometimes, I desire to be alone but due to my status as a famous singer, it’s really hard to achieve such.
Do you do other things besides music?
Yes, I am involved in business. Only last year, I launched my lipstick brand, and it’s doing very great. I also have a very big bridal shop located in Tanzania.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
When I wake up, the first thing I do is to pray.
Are there Nigerian artistes you look forward to working with?
Yes, as you said earlier, I had already worked with Joeboy and Mr Eazi. Currently, I have a song with Oxlade scheduled to be released next month. There are so many Nigerian artists I am in touch with, but for now they are exclusive.
Now that the whole world has its attention on African music, do you ever feel pressure to change the kind of music that you make so it fits into what it seems like the world wants to hear right now?
No, not exactly. I am Tanzanian and I have to take my Swahili to the world. Sometimes, Nigerian artists sing in their local language, and people like it around the world. So why should I feel pressured?
What’s your relationship with Diamond Platinumz like?
He is a brother. I respect him. He is one of the very few artists who open doors internationally for their peers.
What would make you feel fulfilled?
At the end of the day, being seen as a good role model by many is all the fulfilment I need.
Itty can be caught studying African pop culture, writing about it or hosting a relationship podcast. When he's not doing any of these, then he's definitely at a bar, getting mocktail.