I’ve been a fan of Nyanda for 7 years and I still love her music-from the time Brick & Lace released the globally-successful song “Love Is Wicked”. You know why? This girl is different. She’s got a push for whatever she does-she does it beautifully and diligently. She offers the best. That can be seen in her latest music projects as well as her days as part of Brick & Lace. Nyanda Thorbourne and her sisters have worked with international artists, helping pen chart toppers. Some of their credits include “Follow The Leader” by Wisin & Yandel ft singer Jennifer Lopez, “All Around The World” by Christina Aguilera and “Say Yes” by Nicole Scherzinger.
Nyanda doesn’t stop at music. She’s also involved in mentoring the youth. She’s ambassador for Reach A Hand Uganda, whose founder Humprey Nabimanya got nominated for the 2014 MTV Leadership Award. The initiative seeks to raise awareness about HIV/AIDs and is supported by the MTV Staying Alive Initiative. She’s got love for young people-she shares how her kids have influenced her life and why she loves them so much.
Going single in the music industry-much like starting over or building on alone-can be a hurdle but she’s gone miles ahead to give her fans the best. She’s a perfectionist on a good note and that’s why each project she works on comes out fresh. I talked to Nyanda about her music, her life, plans and the love for Africa and nurturing talent and here’s how it went down:
ME: Your song, “Trouble”, which is a remix of Talor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” is amazing. It is getting massive airplay here in Kenya, topped UK charts and has been well received globally. I also listened to your cover of “Habits” by To Love. It’s interesting to see you diversify and try new stuff. How has been your experience a solo artist?
NYANDA: I have to say people been feeling the music which I’m so grateful for. I started out with the ‘Trouble’ remix, ‘Slippery When Wet’ then ‘ I Love Sax’. I been going hard and enjoying the freedom of being a solo artist. I do want to show the fans different sides of myself as an artist.
Me: You’re ambassador for Reach A Hand Uganda, an organization that seeks to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. The founder, Humphrey Nabimanya, was nominated for the MTV Base Leadership Award 2014. You come to Uganda often to talk to youth, inspire them, challenge them and help nurture their talents. What’s your responsibility and how important is the position to you?
NYANDA: I’m blessed and honored to be working with REACH A HAND. The founder Humphrey and the team inspire me so much. They deserve that award. It’s really a dream come true to be able to use my platform as an artist to give back. I’ve visited various schools in Uganda to speak with them on youth related topics. I also recorded a song about AIDs prevention with other Ugandan artist.
ME: What’s that special thing about you that your fans least know about?
NYANDA: I think my family. I really have a great support team as far as they’re concerned. I have a beautiful 16-year-old daughter who is wise beyond her years and gives me the greatest advice and a feisty lil 3-year-old who keeps me fascinated with the little things in life. Also, my three sisters. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t have them around. They strengthen me and keep me on my toes.
ME: You’ve been in Kenya before and delivered an amazing performance. Do you plan to come anytime soon? Which words do you have your fans in the country?
NYANDA: Kenya I’m coming soon I can feel the stars aligning…love u guys so much.
ME: Earlier this year, you signed a deal with Kenyan music distribution company, “MTech”, which is a great sign of you working with the Kenyan music industry. Can we expect more deals and possible collaborations with local musicians? In that case, who would you want to work with locally?
NYANDA: Yes definitely, big up MTech for all the support of the music. When I come we’ll see if we can make a collaboration happen. I work off the energies so it has to feel right.
ME: Who do you look up to in the music industry internationally?
NYANDA: So many artist inspire me; I have an eclectic taste…I’d say Lauryn Hill is one of my favorites, Beyonce, Junior Gong, Adele, Angel Haze…..too many to name.
ME: Now that you’re busy with your career, do you have a man in your life supporting you?
NYANDA: I need love to survive, so yes I have someone special in my life 🙂
ME: What are your future music plans?
NYANDA: I want to have a great catalog of music so I’m staying in the studio as much as I can to make beautiful music for the Ny-fan-da’s
ME: What’s your favorite Kenyan dish?
NYANDA: Don’t have one next time I come I’ll figure it out and let you know.
ME: Breaking Bad won an big at the recent Emmy Awards hosted by Seth Meyers. Hayley Williams of Paramore has been watching a lot of Game of Thrones. What’s your current favorite TV show and actor?
NYANDA: I love Game of Thrones and I’m also getting into House of cards and Breaking Bad. I have to binge watch ‘cause I missed the early seasons. Peter Dinklage is brilliant. His performances never cease to amaze me.
ME: What’s the best thing that has happened to you in 2014?
NYANDA: I learned to l’ve myself more, through the love of my family and my fans, I feel like a stronger woman after facing going out on my own and standing on my own two feet. Also I have learned to appreciate the simple things in life so everyday is a blessing and every moment is a gift.
ME: Do you have any business or stuff that’s keeping you busy apart from music?
NYANDA: I’ve been thinking of doing a reality show with my sisters, we’ve been working to get a pilot episode shot. Other than that, I’ve been learning to speak French fluently and I would really love to learn how to sew! Fashion and Acting are amongst my secondary passions.
ME: You look gorgeous Nyanda. What do you have for meals and which routine do you follow to keep fit?
NYANDA: Believe it or not, I don’t exercise as often as I should but I try to eat right when I’m at home. I cook my own meals and my daughter is super health-conscious so she doesn’t allow me to buy unhealthy stuff. I like to jog, swim and dance.
ME: Jamaica and Kenya have a lot of ties, some similar cultures, societal sentiments and certain aspects of development. How would you advise young people to help tackle employment and employment?
NYANDA: That’s true, I think that’s one of the major reasons I’m so in love with Africa. I always encourage people to look deep within themselves and “identify” their passions that’ll keep them determined and hardworking when you go out there to “pursue” it. Life is precious, Go hard! Get what you want, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t!
ME: What do you do during your free time?
NYANDA: What is free time? lol kidding: I like to swim, jog, shop, read, sing ( yes I sing in my free time-I love it that much.) spend time with family e.t.c
NYANDA: I have to admit it did start to feel like a self promoting fad but I think that’s also part of the the reason it was so successful. It is a very serious and sad condition (ALS) and I was happy to bring awareness to the cause.
ME: There are many young people you inspire around the world. What would you want to tell them to do so that they can realize their dreams?
NYANDA: Find your passion, work hard and believe in yourself. If you really want something, nothing can stop you from getting it. Visualize it and work hard towards it, nothing beats hard work. Know in your heart that it’s worth the chase. There’s no feeling worse than regret. Plus, wouldn’t you rather have a life of ‘Oh wells’ than a life of ‘What ifs’?