I first met Phy at #FatumasVoice (a poetry event that happens at PAWA 254 every Friday evening). My first impression of her was that she had a soulful and sweet personality. I was right! She is now a friend. It is possible for me to go on and on and on and on… so let me let her tell us about herself.
Describe yourself in 5 words…
Prayerful. In-love. Perfectionist. Artsy. Fun-loving.
Tell us a bit about your childhood, family and siblings
I am an only child.
You are daddy’s girls.
Yeah (You should have seen the smile on her face).
I have two parents. I was born and raised up in Sotik. Went to primary school in Molo, attended Eldoret Moi Girls high school, and now I am in campus at University of Nairobi. We now live in Nairobi.
Which is your favorite childhood memory?
I went to a National Music Festival and won, when I was in class three. I became a celebrity in my town.
Teenage hood. My dad and I got into a scuffle once and we had a real bad argument.
Was it about a boy?
Yeah!! It was over a boy!
Well, it happens. What are you pursuing in campus?
Bachelors in Real Estate.
What was the motivation behind picking that course?
I had two options, Computer Science and Real Estate. So I weighed the market and everything then made my choice. Besides, JAB had called me but that’s what I really wanted.
What’s cool about campus?
I love campus! One, I joined campus when my music was starting, so I got support from everyone at school. I love campus because that’s where my music has been nurtured.
Also, I love campus because my parents kind of just let me go. Not in a bad way, but let me ‘be independent’. They are confident to let me do and live like they have taught me. I can stay somewhere, be sufficient, cool and still be me.
You had an update up sometime back showing displeasure with your striking comrades. What else don’t you like about campus apart from the strikes?
Just the strike, Nairobi University students really need to work on that. But I love school. Am in the department of arts, it’s a very creative and artistic school, from the way people dress to the way people express their gifts. It’s just a good place to be.
So, when did you start singing?
When I was young. I did not know I could sing till I was in class three. My teacher, Frank heard me sing and advised me to try out for music festivals. I did and won as solo singer of the year or something like that.
How is it juggling school, music and gigs?
It’s all about balance. Giving your all to the particular task at hand then proceed to do the next and still dedicate the same amount of zeal to it. Plus God gives you the strength to do it.
Tell us about the band.
My-oh-so-good-band! The band was formed on October 17th 2012, accidentally. I was to perform at Poetry Spot as Phy. Then the organizer asked me to get a band. I was like, “where do I get a band’’? I talked to one of my friends –Collo- whom I knew could sing and asked for his help. We had met sometime back at a high school function and became friends. He came with two friends and we were Phy and the Band for the evening. Someone later mentioned that he’d seen us perform and wanted our band to do a gig. I was like “what band?” somehow, it just picked up from there…
So those fly guys in the band just happened?
Yeah. They kinda happened! Our latest member in the group is called Ken. I met him randomly. As I was practicing something with a friend and he happened to be passing by and my friend introduced us. That was it.
How would you classify your music as Phy or as Phy and the Band or are they all together?
Not so much. Phy as an individual is more soulful, she’s just calm with a guitar and mellow. Phy and the Band is a mush up of different creativity from different people. So together we can have a fusion of Afro Jazz, soul… that sort of thing. Without the band I don’t think I can be an explosive singer.
Who is your favorite Kenyan and international musician?
Kenya, Fena. Fena is amazing. I just love her art and the way she brings it out… And Vereso – she’s such a good singer.
Internationally, I can’t say I have a favorite because I love creativity from different artists. In terms of mood I love Indie Arie; instrumentals, I think I would say John Mayer. He is a good guitarist. So yeah, I think I love different people in terms of different aspects not the whole identity.
What do you think about the Kenyan music scene? What about the art do you like and what don’t you like? How does it feel to be in it?
I think originality is the key. I feel there’s not much soul and vulnerability. There’s so much hype music. We want people to be vulnerable so that they relate to you as an artiste. Because you go through the same things I go through. But in terms of what Kenya has done I think we’ve grown so much. We’ve done a great job! Those out there have really made us proud.
What other form of art do you love?
Dancing, acting too, but those aren’t my strengths. Oh! I play guitar too. So that’s it.
You first mentioned you are prayerful. Tell us about your relationship with God.
God amenitoa mbali wah! Sijui! (God, has continually walked with me). With God I have found growth. Being the only child I have been spoiled a bit but I am learning to accommodate people; the world doesn’t revolve around me…. With God it’s been a miracle. It’s been me seeing Him doing things for me. I didn’t know that I would be here doing music. It’s so amazing seeing him do things for me. He is my everything.
What is your relationship status or should I start bidding you off?
What’s your take on love?
Love should be sacrificial. It’s about prioritizing the other person when they annoy you, when they don’t want to see you…. I know love is sacrificial in that sense. It’s not about you anymore; you put yourself aside and look out for the other person.
I like your style. How would you describe your sense of fashion?
I love color. I like being edgy. I don’t like looking like everybody else. I like being unique, mixing a little bit of everything. Nothing defined.
Tomboy or diva?
A mixture of both. Being a singer, I have to mix tomboy and diva. But my preferred normal is just my snickers, pants and t-shirt.
Kenya is 50, tell us something you like about being Kenyan.
Aah!! So many things. The food, scenery, tall buildings… I love the art in Kenya. It’s growing at an interesting rate. I think Kenya is a place to die for.
Your favorite color?
I do not have a favorite color but I like grey mixed with something. Like grey and orange, grey and blue… I like bright colors. I do not have a favorite color. (laughs)
Wow. You are a weird girl. 😀 Best book ever read?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americana. It was a gift from my boyfriend so I am a bit biased.
Whatever I would be watching with my boyfriend is a good movie. I do not have a favorite movie.
Chicken any day! Roasted, boiled or fried anytime!
Chicken chicken chicken! Heels or rubber shoes?
Sleep or food?
Now we know to get Phy some chicken meat when we want to get on her good side 😉
She released a cover of Arielle’s Monster on January 12th 2014 which was her birthday. You can check it out here…
Phy’s jewelry by Eireney
Photography by Gift (who happens to be Phy’s boyfie) 🙂