East African singer Nakaaya Sumari sings about social issues in Tanzania. Local music critics have said that she represents the 'dynamic spirit of the modern East African woman'.
Born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania, the young soul singer is well known for her appearance on East Africa’s hit reality TV series Project Fame. She expresses the need to give African women a voice. "The music industry like other aspects of life is dominated by men," she says.
Nakaaya says that personal experiences provide the template for her music. She sings about daily events relating to her own life, and many others who share a similar background. "I get my inspiration from life… from the millions of African women," she says.
Their Voices are Muffled ...
"As I was exploring this journey I realized that it is not only me; there are other women," she says. She admits that it is a challenge, but adds that she doesn’t find it hard to speak on their behalf. "That is my role as a female artist," she says.
Nakaaya also tries to show the other side of African life. A side that of the continent that is rarely shown in the Western media.
"My music represents that urban African that western media tends to ignore or wants to believe that doesn’t exist. It’s a well informed and exposed side to Africa, the urban side," Sumari says.
She recognizes that unfortunately young African musicians don’t often make money from their craft, and they end up leaving the profession without ever reaching a national or international audience. But she credits the Internet and other new technologies with making it possible for young upcoming artists like her to reach a global audience. She hopes that new technology and alternative distribution channels will be the solution.
"We have every resource at our hands....We have the Internet, radio and TV, so everything can inform you of what’s going on…so I would encourage fellow youth in the music business to research and see what’s up," she says.
New Style of Music ...
" I like to call my music Afro fusion," Samari says. "It is influenced by Hip Hop and other music from around the world."
Her hit song, Mr. Politician, was well received by the Tanzanian public because it speaks to issues like politics and women’s rights.
As for Nakaaya, she is looking forward to releasing her full album with a major record company, SONY, some time this year.
Nakaaya Sumaria Video