|Gospel singer Irene Mutisya sings during a recording session Elevado Studio in Nairobi on 6th December 2014. She scooped this year's Nairobi East Gospel Music Awards held at Ruai Grounds. The awards brought together over 400 artists. PHOTO: JECKONIA OTIENO|
When Irene Mutisya ventured into gospel music a decade ago, there was little hope of her talent holding out for long.
With the troubles and challenges that came with the launch of her ablum Usiteseke (Do not suffer alone), she feared her bid would end in the face of stiff competition and financial setbacks.
But with determination she defied the odds and successfully scaled the ropes and today, she is the proud overall winner in the just concluded Nairobi East Gospel Music Awards (Negma) 2014, in which more than 400 musicians took part.
“I lack words. I am really humbled to have stolen the hearts of the judges to win this award. The trick is to put the right effort and keep trying until you succeed,” avers singer Mutisya, who says the late gospel singer Angela Chibalonza inspired her.
Mutisya was voted the overall winner as well as the best upcoming musician of the year. She scooped trophies and cash awards at the regional extravaganza held at Ruai Grounds in Nairobi last weekend. “I can’t believe this, I feel honoured,” she told The Standard on Saturday.
Mutisya has five albums to her title, two of them video, recorded and marketed by producer Papa Bisengo of Elevado Studios in Nairobi.
They are Simama na Yesu (Stand with Christ), Tumsifu Bwana (Praise be to God), Umeinuliwa (You are exalted), Wema gani (What a grace) and Usikate tamaa (Don’t give up).
Mutisya, a sales and marketing professional, says her sights are set on bigger things.
She is married to Pastor Mutisya Musilu and has three children whom she says have played an incredible role in her singing career. She also says her church, the Gospel Tabenacle in Dandora, has encouraged her cause.
She says there is no doubt Kenya has highly talented singers but the industry is under siege from unscrupulous music traders. She also decries lack of incentives in the industry.
During the Negma awards, musicians from across the region battled it out in 17 categories, including gospel female artist of the year, vernacular singer of the year, upcoming gospel artiste of the year, male artist of the year, most promising artist of the year and dance group of the year.
“It was a chance to realise talent in Kenyan artistes,” said Reverend Josephat Njoroge of Jubilee Restoration Christian Church, who hosted the fete.