Performing Singer/Songwriter, Waithera Chege, better known by her stage name Ythera, is a voice to be reckoned with. Sister of Ex-Big Brother Africa Housemates Alex and Malonza ,the music entrepreneur possesses skill and creativity in the Kenyan music industry. Having released a couple of songs and known as being one of the top four finalists of the singing competition ’The Search’, Lysa sat down with the music creative to get to know more about her.
Why music and not journalism?
This is actually a question I get a lot. I always say that it’s not an either/or kind of situation. What I learnt studying and training in communications/journalism has been invaluable to my music career. There are quite a number of transferable skills that I apply to my music that I would not have been able to if I didn’t have a background in PR and Broadcast Journalism. I realized that there is indeed a strong point of convergence between music and media. Plus, music is also an important tool of communication, and that’s how I choose to convey my messages.
How did your family and friends react to your choice of career?
One thing that I will forever be grateful for is that I have very supportive family. They have been with me every step of the way. I could say the same for my friends. However, there are people I meet occasionally who ask me if I’m still planning to do this ‘music thing’ for long hehe. I tell them that I take it as seriously as any other job or career, because really it is a serious job.
Describe your genre of music and what you want people to feel when listening to it?
I describe my music as ‘music with a message’. I often write about issues that are relatable to people such as love, politics, celebration of self etc. My music cuts across a lot of genres. It’s an eclectic mix of RnB, Soul, Afro Fusion, Seben, Chakacha, Reggae, you name it! I strive to be as diverse as possible. The feelings I would like to elicit from people are quite a number on the spectrum of emotions, just as we experience them in our day to day lives; to uplift, inspire, give joy, celebrate, enlighten and even make them dance their worries away.
When do you feel inspired to write?
It’s funny because inspiration can strike at any moment. Most notoriously is when I’m in a matatu, en route somewhere and I have to take out my phone and record the melody that comes to my head or I may probably never remember it! I draw inspiration from my surroundings, experiences and observations. I also have to give it to God because, sometimes songs just come from nowhere and I can’t say that it is fully of my own doing.
What’s your favorite song and why?
My all-time favorite song is Hot Blooded Man. I call this a cautionary love song because it talks about falling for the completely wrong guy. I wrote it from a personal experience and that’s why it’s so dear to me.
You’ve incorporated politics in your songs like Mr Politician. That is daring. Why did you do so?
I felt like it was a message I needed to share at the time. I believe that as artists we have been given voices and a platform, and as such we should use that privilege to try and shape our society positively and leave it better than we found it.
What have been your favorite highlights in your journey?
One of the best feelings is to put out a song that really takes with people and that they can relate to. Art is a field that often requires validation from its audiences and as such it feels good when your work is appreciated. I once performed at an intimate gig where almost everyone knew lyrics to my song and it really moved me.
What do you do in your past time?
I have a penchant for making things with my hands. I consider myself a craftsman of sorts. So when I’m not doing music I spend my time doing DIY (Do It Yourself) projects. This could range from something like making jewelry and clothes, to braiding my hair, to making videos, to cooking (I recently discovered that I have a passion for cooking). It’s something I really enjoy doing.
What should we look forward to in 2017 from Ythera?
2017 is going to be a great year for music! I’ll be putting out my debut album, more good music and shows. I’m really looking forward to growing my brand and setting in motion my plan for world domination
Listen to Ythera’s latest song here.