The fittingly, tunefully named Mumala Maloba has deserves her dues. The singer/songwriter is as sharp as her voice is powerful. She took a seat with XACCESS on her journey straight to the top of the charts and this is what she had to say.
Tell us about yourself
I’m a singer and songwriter, I’m also a lawyer. I don’t like locking myself into any category musically. I just do soul music, relatable and ‘feeling’ music. So if I could classify it somewhere it would be reggae-soul, RnB-soul, Neo-soul; pretty much everything soul.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started when I was really young, I think 13. But I’ve been singing since I was 6 years old. My mom used to be in the ‘Muungano’ choir and I grew up seeing her perform. So eventually even I started singing in choirs. When I got a little older around 16 I decided to get a little more serious with the music and here we are.
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What is the message of your music?
I’m naturally a really deep writer so my message tends to handle issues in the same way. If you look up my videos on YouTube you might ask ‘are you sure these songs were written by a teenager?’ I get that a lot. So I talk about what I’m feeling, using love as a medium because I feel like that’s what many people relate to. My latest single ‘Lose Myself’ is really talking about the fast-paced life of the 21st century. Things go so fast these days, so it just talks about losing yourself along the way.
In 10 years I’d just want to be happy.
Who inspires you?
Musically I’d say Chrisette Michele, K. Michelle- I love, love, love her music, I also listen to a lot of Jill Scott, Ledisi. In the Kenyan industry I’d say June Gachui, Atemi, Sage and Sara Mitaru.
Where do you get inspiration from while crafting music?
To be honest some of the content I write is personal, just a little exaggerated. When you are telling a story you might have to embellish it here and there. As a songwriter it’s easy to write things that you already know about. But it’s just day-to-day life, my surroundings, my friends and the things that people go through.
Are there any artistes that you would love to work with?
Yeah definitely. Nyashinski is on my list, when I feature rappers in my songs I look for people who have the same ear as I do, when we share what we want to do it’s easier to make music. Rabbit and Xtatic are also really good.
Do you ever listen to your own music on your playlists?
Some, not all of it. It’s like when you cook food and you are in the kitchen too long then when it’s time to eat you have no appetite, that’s the exact feeling.
Which stage would you love to perform at?
I like live shows because those are the ones I usually do, so Koroga and Safaricom Jazz Festival.
What are the major challenges you’ve faced trying to come up in the industry?
I was once told I should sing in Kiswahili because I’m Kenyan. I love my country but if I tried singing in Swahili I would be lying to myself, would be giving a wrong representation of who I am. So it’s not that I’m trying to be ‘bougie’ or Westernised it’s just what comes to me easiest. I think Kenyans need to be more open minded and realise that people come from different backgrounds.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I can’t even answer that question. I try to be a well-rounded person so I definitely want to be a mother and someone’s wife. I’d still want to be doing music, whether it’s me on the stage or song writing. Plus I’d want to be in the corporate world. So in 10 years I’d just want to be happy.
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