From the beginning, she’s been killing it. First as Diana Nduba as she tried to find her unique sound. She then settled with Mayonde, a fitting name for this Kenyan goddess who believes she was once an ancient Mayan ruler.
In 2015, you would have classified her as an indie soul singer just from listening to her debut album Magic in The Air. She charmed her way into our hearts with the uplifting Rise, heavenly Angels and the dancey Isikuti Love. But this was only a teaser.
Mayonde officially started killing it in the Kenyan pop scene in 2017. This is after working with producers Kagwe Mungai and Blinky Bill, singer Fena Gitu and rapper Muthoni Drummer Queen. Together, they released the all-time hit Kama Kawaida, and later Party Nation which was named after by their fans.
With these star collaborations, she shed off her sweet and innocent demeanour and showed us her wild side. While still remaining sweet and sawa.
And her 2019 music releases are further testimony. This year, she has dropped two new singles, in one month alone.
The first one is a femme fatale collabo with her soul sister Trina Mungai. Now like me, you probably first saw Trina and Mayonde together at Coke Studio Africa. They were background vocalists for two seasons, backing up brilliant African superstars and even American singer Ne-Yo in 2015.
What a way to kick off a music career.
After the hectic yet enriching experience, they found the guts to dive into their music projects. Trina signed to Taurus Music while Mayonde linked up with the squad.
But like true friends, they kept supporting each other at gigs. You would even spot Trina on stage singing backup during Mayonde’s shows.
So this 2019 collabo was way overdue.
It is the age of the feminist where ladies are allowed to express themselves as freely as they want to. Bring two hot ladies together and you get Shika, a sexy upbeat tune where they spot less clothes and more lingerie.
In the saucy video, Trina is the petite queen whereas Mayonde serves some thick mayo in a hotel room. While enticing you to have a taste of their flavour.
The explicit video may not be played on national TV, but is bound to get plenty of views on YouTube.
Just as we were recovering from all this heat, Mayonde dropped another one.
Chini Kwa Chini happens to be the second single from her Project Purple EP. You should note this 2018 project is way bouncier than her first mellow album. She says it was inspired by the pioneers of Kenyan pop music such as Nameless, Amani, Wyre and Swahili Nation. This was her interpretation of the urban Kenyan sounds genge and kapuka that emerged in the 2000s.
And the first colourful single, Nairobi featuring Kenyan rapper Stonee Jiwe, is a celebration of the beautiful city we all love to hate.
Just like Shika, Chini Kwa Chini’s music video was directed by Stanz Visuals and released in February 2019. It exudes a darker nightclub vibe inside Sands Club in Nairobi, which fits the song’s theme perfectly. And the nu party anthem was produced by RealTym Music which she shouts out in the first verse.
It’s an example of how kapuka would sound in this age.
There’s way more dancing in this music video and a simple enough routine for anyone to do when the song plays in the club. Mayoyo serves more saucy shots in four body-hugging outfits accessorised by Masai neckpieces. Cause she’s sexy and she knows it.
Chini Kwa Chini is the perfect let loose anthem, especially at a party – club DJs, where you at? And in the catchy chorus, she drops some wisdom “Leo ni leo, msema kesho ni mwongo”.
If you were born in the 90s or above, you probably remember this timeless lyric from E Sir, the Kenyan legend who made us fall in love with Kenyan music. And passed away too soon.
Truly, all we have is today.
In my opinion, Chini Kwa Chini will outlive Shika because of its dancefloor and mass appeal. You wouldn’t want your 10-year-old nieces and nephews to sing “I wanna get close to you, take off my clothes for you”.
One thing is clear, the sweet girl next door is finally out of her shell.
2019 officially marks her evolution from indie-soul queen to Turn Up queen and there’s no stopping her. You can expect more sauce this year as she promises to release more fun singles.
But at the end of the day, it’s hubby Mbithi Masya who gets all that mayo.
Kama kawaida, she kills it. So if you haven’t yet, it’s time to join Mayonde Nation.