I never knew of the term “Imposter Syndrome” until the 20th of June 2019.
My presence and participation was requested to an invite only get together called “Kelele Sessions” by my homie George Porgie, that was hosted by Black Market Africa and, his company Mookh at Super Sonic Studios in Nairobi – where select individuals from the Music Industry in Kenya were put into the studio and asked to make noise. Noise in terms of: 3 different artists were showcased and we would give our feedback – No holding back, pure honesty, constructive criticism and exposing us to new kids on the block doing cool things and figuring out how we can all support each other.
I had been going through a mental dip since February until Kelele Sessions happened. It gave me hope, it gave me clarity and it opened my eyes to the potential I have always had and how to use skill sets I seemed to have buried.
Anchie Ng’inja, a friend I made via Elene Du Toit in June of 2017, plays a big role in Kelele Sessions / Black Market Africa. We hadn’t hung out in about 8 months and that night we had a wonderful one-to-one, heart-to-heart. Have you ever watched a movie where there are two or three female friends and one of them is being lectured; asked to wake up and stop doubting themselves etc? Yeah, that was Anchie during one of the breaks that night empowering me.
Her partner in crime Bryan Smallz (whom I’ve known since I was 16) is the brains behind Black Market Africa and during one of the 3 sessions that evening, he brought up the Imposter Syndrome topic and the next day I went and did some more research about this human condition. It truly changed my perception on a lot of things.
Before the first Kelele Session was launched in May, I had just launched an event/concept as a product of my consultancy, S. I. Consultancy, called Music & Chai. The idea is to break the stereotype of overnight success by having veterans from the music industry speak about their failure and success stories with the now generation. To educate, inspire, motivate and guide them in their music journey. The first one was with Wyre “Da Love Child” and some cool cats, like Bey T were in attendance.
I was invited to Kelele Sessions in the capacity of everything that I have done and do – Open Mic Night at The Alchemist on Wednesday’s, Music & Chai once a month, PR/Marketing for different brands via S. I. Consultancy, a previous radio personality, and as one half of Kenya Nights.
After the session, I was on a roll.
Rizwan Ibrahim, head honcho of Kenya Nights and my blood brother, made a decision to celebrate 10 years of Kenya Nights (KN) in December 2019, by taking KN fans and music lovers through a journey by booking amazing artists from around the world, every month come June 2019, as a build up to the road of a decade of the brand… Starting with Walshy Fire of Major Lazer on June 29th.
I helped arrange Walshy Fire’s Nairobi media tour for his new album “Abeng”. And from there, I was motivated, inspired and felt like I could breathe again. I was back in my element and ready to roll!
The last 10 days of June reminded me of who I was and where I came from. How rare and unique my story is; how much I have achieved; the skill sets that I have; should be proud of the woman I have become, and HAVE BEEN in this thriving and competitive industry.
On radio from the age of 13 with the highest rated show on Sound Asia back in 2002; handling backstage for events via White Pigeon Entertainment; interacting with Kenya’s top artists from then to date; rubbing shoulders with Bollywood Super Stars like Malaika Arora, Sonu Nigam. This was all aged 13-15.
Later on in life, hanging with, and artist liaison, for some of Europe’s biggest producer/deejays Nadja Lind, Mirella Kroes, And.ID, M.A.N.D.Y. just as Kenya Nights started doing events.
UK’s famous Asian artists Jassi Sidhu, H Dhami, PBN, Tasha Tah, DJ Limelight, Apache Indian… just to name a few. Canada’s Angel Eyes – Raghav. Bollywood singers Arijit Singh, K.K., Benny Dayal, Mohit Chauan, Shreya Goshal (there are so many more).
South Africa’s mighty Black Coffee, Culoe De Song, Thibo Tazz, Mi Casa, Riky Rick, Maphorisa, Prince Kaybee. Jamaica’s Konshens, Javada, Morgan Heritage. America’s Ne-Yo, Lee Foss, Diplo, Major Lazer.
Via radio at Radio Africa – I interviewed countless Bollywood Actors and Actresses like Arjun Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Pariniti Chopra etc. And for my radio show “Urban Charge”: producers, rappers and singers from all over the world – Flint J, Flawless from Dubai. Canada’s Kice and Roach Killa. America’s Waseem Stark and I suppose they can claim Jay Sean now? And a bunch from the UK, whom I’m still connected to.
Not to mention the amount of events I’ve emcee’d at.
The list really does go on!
It’s been 4 years since depression, anxiety, sadness, emptiness, loneliness hit me via PTSD. Sat in it from 2015-2017, then got therapy. It helped. But I still have mental dips every now and then and would struggle to pull myself out of them. It’s so easy to slip, but it wasn’t easy to pick myself up again. And mind you, therapy in Nairobi is expensive and I just couldn’t afford it anymore. Many would try to give me a hand, but I was pretty comfortable sitting in depression.
A long time ago, Jenetta Barry told me that true and real change only comes when you’re uncomfortable being uncomfortable. And I was very comfortable being uncomfortable for a long time. And no lies, I still find myself there every once in a while, but now I know how to pick myself up without falling too deep.
So when I look back at everything that I have done and everything that I still do, I have to fight my own mind and beat the crap out of the imposter, just so I can continue to do all that I do. And I am grateful for all those around me who support me through it all.