T5 with Elsy Wameyo

Photo credit: Shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • We need to take time and dig deeper within ourselves.


  • We are so blinded, consumed and influenced by this world and I feel we fail to notice our true purpose, potential and power.


  • We’re so far from the truth as a people, but I’m on a mission to change mindsets even if it’s just one person.

Elsy was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and her latest musical offering, ‘Nilotic,’ proudly explores the strength of her self-identity. Hailing from the Nilotic tribes of Kenya, Elsy’s music embraces this cultural heritage alongside her Christian beliefs and experiences whilst growing up in Adelaide, Australia.
 

1. What prompted your journey into music and do you still sing in church?
Music has always been in my heart. The more I get to learn about it, the more I love it. Throughout school, music was compulsory so I had to do it, though I always found myself back at the music room during recess and lunch, eating my food as quickly as possible so that I could play the instruments. I always signed up to participate in school showcases and theatre performances. Later on, I began to take singing lessons and perfect my craft. Friends, teachers, and peers constantly encouraged me to continue pursuing music because I was naturally good at it. I did exactly that and here I am today. I still sing in church and I pray to never stop because I love it most. Everyone is very supportive. I’m forever grateful for my church family because they have carried me through a lot.
 
2. You speak on what led you to produce your latest single in terms of the ills you see in the world, such as racism, and police brutality. Expound on that. Also, is this a factor you encounter often in Australia? 
Nilotic sheds light on the unfortunate circumstances we’re living in. I was pushed into a very sad place where I could barely write without weeping. My heart was so heavy and I had to let it out. The police brutality was happening in broad daylight. I researched for many days. Watched documentaries, interviews, and everything in between. Nothing was hidden. For this reason, I too chose to be blunt with my statements.

There was a lot of frustration within me, but I knew I had to channel that energy into something more useful. I had to encourage myself and reclaim the authority I already had. Nilotic is power. As a people, we’ve seen it all, sadly, we’re still having to fight for our rights and freedom. I hope Nilotic reminds us of who we are despite what they choose to do to us because we always come out on top regardless.

Racism is not foreign to me. I’ve been stopped by the police unexplainably and have heard all the remarks. No matter where, you always have to be on your guard. During the recording of this music video, someone called the police on us and claimed we had spears. Whoever called went out of their way to slow down on a 90km road, look deeply into the farm we stood on just to make these claims. The lengths that people go to is scary, but that’s why I continue to push and fight for my people.

3. What themes do you explore in your music, and what’s your focus for 2022? Is it post-pandemic living? Love? Independence?

I speak on many things as seasons of my life continue to change. A breath of love and energies of inspiration must always be intertwined with my words. However, identity is something I love to explore and share through my music. 

We need to take time and dig deeper within ourselves. We are so blinded, consumed and influenced by this world and I feel we fail to notice our true purpose, potential and power. We’re so far from the truth as a people, but I’m on a mission to change mindsets even if it’s just one person.

4. Who do you look up to locally, or who are you trying to collaborate with in Kenya?
I want to meet Jua Cali. He subconsciously laid the foundations of hip-hop in my life. Growing up, Kiasi was one of the first songs I recall hearing. It would be amazing to come full circle and work alongside him.  I’d also love to collaborate with King Kaka. His intelligence is on another level, then paired with his confidence, it’s magic. I truly can’t wait to return and submerge myself in Kenya’s music scene.

5. There’s a lot to be said about choosing a career that is out of the usual doctor, lawyer, engineer Kenyan spiel. Do you think Kenyan parents are becoming more open to alternatives? And what would you say to someone who wants to be an artist like you?
 I do see a great change. There’s a lot of talent coming out of Kenya which makes me so happy. Especially the youth, not only in music, but we now have the greatest young comedians in the world. However, I know there’s still a lot more work to be done. 

Our parents should continue to support and help nourish artists, musicians, comedians, and everything in between. Your children might just be your ticket out.

To anyone who’s working towards being an artist or any other dream, remember all you require is within you. Take time and discover the light that you already carry. Most importantly, always surround yourself with people who can see that light and recognise the spark in your eye. Without them, you won’t make it.
 

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