By Elijah Odhiambo
Streaming platform Spotify has named Kenyan singer Maandy as the coveted EQUAL Africa ambassador for the month of May.
Among the few female artists leading the gengetone revolution, she joins other Kenyan musical stars Muthoni Drummer Qeen, Nikita Kering’ and Xeniah Manasseh who have also been named Spotify EQUAL ambassadors in the past.
The EQUAL Africa programme seeks to spotlight and amplify the voices of African female artists breaking down barriers and making waves in music. In addition, it widens their fanbase by exposing their catalogue to global listenership
Maandy, who started her professional singing career in 2016, believes that being on the EQUAL programme has validated her efforts as a woman in Kenya’s male-dominated music industry.
“Being a part of the EQUAL program means a lot to me. I feel seen and appreciated for my work as a woman in the music industry. Navigating a male dominated industry requires composure and a lot of resilience,” Maandy said.
“As intimidating as it might get sometimes, one has to realize they have just as much right to occupy these spaces as the men,”
Spotify’s Head of Music in Sub-Saharan Africa, Phiona Okumu, says the platform is excited to introduce the next generation of African stars to a global audience.
“We are very proud of Maandy and her contributions to the genre and will continue to support her as she grows as an artist,” she said.
“At Spotify we feel privileged to be able to support and usher in the next wave of talented female artists to new audiences across the globe,”
According to Spotify Africa, EQUAL Africa seeks to spotlight and amplify the voices of African female artists breaking down barriers and making waves in music.
In addition, it amplifies their music by exposing their catalogue to global listenership.
Since debuting her music career in 2016, the Sirudi Home, Shash na Lipgloss and BTW hitmaker has been steadily rising in the industry.
Maandy describes herself as very timid in person and quite clumsy in social situations.
“I am actually a very shy person in real life. I know most people might not believe it because I’m very expressive in my music, but I am very awkward in social settings,” she told spotify.
She describes her music as edgy, fun, sexy, unapologetic saying is is a reflection of living in Nairobi as a young woman. She also describes her style as very upbeat, cool and rhythmic.
According to Maandy, who claims to have been raised on “Kenyan street music” , her musical writing has been influenced by the pioneering women of genge.
“Growing up, I listened to a lot of Kenyan artists. Especially street music, mostly from Ogopa Records, and a lot of Genge from the likes of Mejja, Ratatat and Lady S,” Maandy told Spotify
“It was the women who did the Genge sound that inspired me to become the writer I am and to this day I listen to a lot of their work.”