|Vanessa Mdee PHOTO:COURTESY|
By Shirley Genga
Pulse: You recently featured in the chart topping song Me and You with Mommy Dimpoz and also released your solo single Closer. Are you serious about music and if so, when can we expect another single?
V: Another single is coming out soon. Music has always been my first true performing love. When I finally got the guts and got over my separation anxiety, I dived into music.
P: Which producers or music house are you working with?
V: I am signed to BHITS Music Group. I work mainly with Pancho Latino and Hermy B, but I recently clocked studio time with Kagwe. That was fun.
P: How do you describe your sound?
V: My sound is diverse; I cannot really put myself in a box.
P: In the last three years you have grown to be a force to reckon with in media, and not just in Tanzania, but also in Africa. How did you first get you big break?
V: I got my first break into the world of media in 2007, when I won MTV’s VJ search. That’s pretty much how I stumbled upon it all. As a result, I host the Pan African weekly MTV show, Base Select 10.
P: You are also the host of 102.5 Choice FM’s The Hitlist, which has now become one of the best radio shows in Tanzania. Tell us about that?
V:I got the job in 2009 and it has been an amazing learning experience as I had hoped it would be. I wanted to interact with young people, which I get to do on a daily bases.
P: You have a blog called Dynamites Mission, which you are very passionate about…
V: It is an awareness blog. I noticed young people barely talk about sex and sexually transmitted diseases. I made a platform to share my learnings as I travelled the world attending forums and meetings on HIV and Aids, and sexually transmitted diseases. I have been to a number of international conferences but most recently, I spoke at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town and at the Forum on Cervical Cancer in Kuala Lumpur.
P: What inspires your passion on issues related with HIV?
V: It is more of a passion to get young people involved and educated. We can only be the best versions of ourselves if we are healthy, and Africa is at that point where we need all the excellence we can use.
P: You are one of the most fashionable media personalities. What inspires you?
V: Thanks. I gather I am more stylish than fashionable because I do not really focus on brands. I like to be comfortable. I am inspired by 80’s fashion a whole lot. This is kind of coming back.
P: You have been in the media for a while now. What are the perks and challenges of being out there, and how do you deal with that?
V: I pray a whole lot and believe in God’s grace. The perks are great, but short lived. I strive to create a strong brand. So I embrace and learn from the challenges.
P: Are you dating?
P: Is it hard dating when you are a huge media personality like yourself?
V: It is somewhat difficult, but it’s not a priority right now.
P: What one thing don’t people know about you?
V; I was asked to audition for BET’s 106 n Park right before Terrence and Rocsi’s departure. It was a nerve wracking six months of not knowing the outcome, but a great experience.
P: Where did you grow up?
V: I was born in Arusha, grew up in New York, Paris, Nairobi and Arusha. We are seven children in my family and I am the sixth born.
P: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
V: I hate this question, but if anything in the next five years I hope to look back on my life and see an optimist, a believer, a fighter and an innovator.