The grounded whimsy of Prisca Ojwang’ is something to witness. The voice behind Afro Loving and Elusive Baby seems to be on a mission with a great new precise vision. She sits down with XACCESS and we could only be inspired by the way she has laid down her new blueprint.
Tell us about your sound
My sound is versatile and very fluid. It tends to be melodic and the lyrics are very poetic so I can do any genre but the lyrics have to be poetic.
How did you get your start?
Cliché story, singing in church. I was one of those church kids but I was never at the forefront. Then I attended Sauti Academy in 2013, I did that for one year and after that I started performing professionally.
What would you say is the message of your music?
It always goes back to people feeling good about themselves. My music mainly speaks to women but sometimes men are also inspired by it. If I can make people feel good about being themselves, to me, that’s like finding the silver lining in music.
You don’t usually touch on negative themes?
I would probably sing about the negative thing that happened in a song, then in the same song also talk about the positive parts. I don’t like leaving a song in a negative space. It has to tell a complete story, not necessarily with a happy ending, but with a silver lining.
Who would you say you take inspiration from?
My all-time inspiration is Jojo Abot, she’s a Ghanaian musician and she’s doing very different things. Internationally I like Kendrick because he’s very poetic, I’m into Ibeyi right now, and obviously Beyoncé. For me anything that’s hard work, like I can see that somebody has put hard work into it and it’s positive I’m down for it. So like MDQ, Blinky Bill and their new collaboration is very inspiring.
What inspires you to create?
People’s stories or people generally. It’s because I’m a musician and a visual artist so they differ in that way, but with the music it’s definitely people’s stories. Everything that I’ve written was an emotion that somebody somewhere has felt and I’ve turned it into a song.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a collaborative project with an up and coming Kenyan producer. We are working on an EP and I’m scheduled to travel so I‘m also working on another project with some artists in Uganda. It will be a visual one so I’m mixing the two up.
If I can make people feel good about being themselves, to me, that’s like finding the silver lining in music.
What is the feel of the project?
It definitely celebrates the African aesthetic. It’s spin on something that’s been around forever but it’ll be a little different. You’ll see what it looks like when it comes out. Ideally, starting from May, I want to be releasing one thing each month.
Are there other musicians that you would love to work with?
I would love to work with Ibeyi–don’t know how–because they are awesome and Kendrick for sure. So basically the artistes I mentioned before, they are all people I would love to work with.
Do you ever listen to your music when you are just chilling out?
I’d probably force myself to do it. I’m very critical of myself so I’d just be sitting there going ‘this is wrong, that sounds wrong.’ But I’m over here preaching self-love so even I have to force myself to love myself sometimes. I won’t be feeling myself the entire time but I do it.
Which stage would you love to perform at?
I’m really curious about Afropunk because it fits my vibe.
What is the one thing about this industry that you would love to change?
The professionalism of it. We’ve sort of laid back and accepted so much. Even with small things like time, something is supposed to start at 2, it actually starts at 4 then people show up even later than that. I’ve really struggled with that, I’d change that.
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