Victoria Gichora

Meet Ms. Victoria Gichora – a talented and versatile singer, song writer and actor who was born in Nairobi, Kenya where she currently resides. Victoria grew up with a passion for music and from a very tender age, she would sing anywhere and everywhere or entertain people as long as she had an audience, in church, at home to family and friends. She was quoted saying…" I've been singing and writing poetry ever since I was knee-high”.

In order to hone her talent and pursue it professionally, she enrolled at the prestigious music academy that provides a well-rounded environment that nurtures artist development, thanks to listening to Soul legends like Anita Baker, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Aretha Franklin and performing their songs in the mirror in her bedroom, a teenaged Victoria was destined to pursue a career in music and acting. With rave reviews from media pundits and critics across the industry, tracks like “Memories” and “Penzi Sumu” have been embraced by a record buying public and has brought both young and old soul music audiences together. She has performed on various stages including:

  • Africa Noveu Festival
  • Bagamoyo Festival
  • Milan Expo
  • Over 5 musical productions - Broadway musical MO FAYA.

All this is happening while she was producing her 2020 album “Love Release” and her upcoming 6th edition of Speak Music concert in August. She has also worked with known artists like Kaka Sungura, Nazizi, Fikra Teule, Sanaipei Tande and producers like Jack on the Beat, Pacho, and Wawesh Mjanja.

Not only is she blowing up the airwaves with her music, Victoria is also an amazing actor on Theater, Film and T.V with productions like:

  • Netflix “sense 8”, the web series
  • “Best friends forever”, the film
  • “Lusala”, the film
  • “Susan’s Diary/Martin’s chronicles”, T.V show

Victoria is one-of-a-kind, passionate and remarkable artist who is carving her own niche in the world of contemporary music and film. Victoria is the real thing! Her music is a must have for any music lover and watching her on screen is always a fun trip and a pleasure.

Welcome to Micshariki Africa dada. For those who don’t know you, who is Victoria Gichora?

Victoria Gichora is a singer, song writer, actor, producer and lover of life.

For how long have you been doing music?

I have been doing music generally since I was a kid, but my own music since 2014.

How do you describe the type of music that you typically create?

My music is classic, timeless and soulfully fused.

How do you describe your creative process?

I create in different processes depending on who I am working with. I could start from experimenting with melodies with my band and building up from there or designing instrumentals that suite a theme or desired feeling like a score or through listening to instrumental tracks to find the one with frequencies that excite my brain and soul because that's the feeling we all want from a good song.

What has been the best performance of your career so far?

I would say one of my best performances was being in the musical play 'Ngahika Ndeenda' by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o. I played a strong Kikuyu Mau Mau activist who helps her husband remind our people of our roots, fight against the white man’s oppression and give them hope of a better tomorrow. I felt so powerful living through the eyes of this character, Njoki and singing the power into my people’s ear. I would also say performing with colleagues on my gig 'Speak Music' is always a best performance experience

You have an album coming up? Could you give us some insights about it?

My upcoming album is about sounds and instrument fusion from our different cultures. I have some collaborations that am really happy to have on board and am dropping later in the year.

Who are some of the featured artistes and maybe the release date?

I have featured some of my favorite artists like African Vic, Fikrah Teule, Meryl Paige, Coster Ojwang, Alice Ragoi. Release period is in August.

Being a female artist, what are some of the challenges that you have faced in the industry?

Oh men, so many challenges. Creating my own platform 'Speak Music' partly out of frustration of not getting gigs to perform, especially when it was mostly dominated by male 'cartels' , some who made you feel like you're not as good because of their selfish agendas.

There have been male producers and labels that have approached to sign me but want me to do 'bubble gum' music with the sense that when I blow up then I can switch to the kind of music I want to do…or they  want me to change my look and outfit to something that's not me.

I have had to work extra hard to be a musician, my own financier, my own manager, do my own PR, look for my own gigs, market my work and get denied jobs because I don't have a social media following. All this time thinking 'Don't you have to be given a chance to be heard so that you can build the followers, it's not like I am a magician?' lol. That's why I started my gig to focus mainly on the creative. I guess I should thank all the "enemies of progress" for pushing me to elevate myself. I have missed out on projects because I was not cooperating' with a producers "advances", which is such a shame on their part. You have to be willing to explore the unchartered so that we create our own identity, not play by mediocre rules created by mediocre people who could never walk a mile in my shoe let alone my path.

What have you managed to achieve since you started doing music?

I have identified my sound, I’ve had the opportunity to work and collaborate with amazing artists in this Industry both locally and internationally, of course started my platform 'Speak Music', inspired people with my music and watch myself morph into a multi-faceted artist and person.

Does it sometimes bother you that your type of music is not widely accepted and not being played by the mainstream media?

It used to, but once I came to the real purpose of my gift I fell in love with my music again. You can only ignore something good for so long, eventually the frequency will get to you and you'll have no choice but to listen and fall in love also, especially when people from outside are loving the experience. Chema chajiuza!

Victoria you have worked with a couple of Hip Hop artists. How has it been for you, working with musicians from another music genre?

It's been amazing. I love working with other genre artists because I challenge myself to work on new sound and expand my vocal capabilities.

You worked with emcee from Mombasa, Fikrah Teule. How did this come about and how did the project pan out?

I met Fikrah through a producer here in Nairobi. He was looking for an RnB artist to work with and we happened to have a mutual friend at that time. Once we met, we clicked and ended up creating beautiful music. Am still working with him to today. He'll be on my next album.

What is the influence of not only Hip Hop music but also the Kulture itself to your music?

The influence of Hip Hop is rooted from when I was a kid. Hip hop is one of the genres I grew up on. It's shaped how I express my view of the societies we live in, the struggles I've been through and how I envision ours to look like. Hip Hop is freedom of my truth.

Artistes have been complaining about organizations like MCSK when it comes to royalties, what is your take on the issue?

It is appalling and disgusting what these associations are doing to artists and more so what our leaders are allowing to happen when we are slaving and dying out here to share our gifts with the world and it doesn't help that we do not see fruitful interventions by our government in solving this pandemic.

I joined in MCSK in 2015 and I only got KES 1500 in 2018 after numerous unanswered emails and visits to their offices. PRISK is another 'bandit behaving association' that will mismanage millions of our money and still look us in the eye and tell us they used it to pay employees or unnecessary fees and just manufacturing lies on paper to try and fool us. Those who speak they try to silence and threaten with law suits. We need to hold the "powers that be" accountable and have the full backing of our leaders. Otherwise we lose our artists, artistry, our self-preservation and end up being the laughing stock of the world... let alone our continent.

In the next 5 years, where do you see yourself?

In the next 5 years am doing bigger international collaborations, I am an established independent label, I am on more international screens as an actor, I am producing my own film productions and I am living and loving my life with my family and loved ones.

Your most recent project was 'Mumbi', which you featured Nick Agesa. What was the inspiration behind it?

With Mumbi I wanted a fusion of a love message from the cultures we represent, which is Kikuyu and luhya. I wanted to expound on love that speaks through different languages and ultimately into one language. I named it 'Mumbi' after my sister because it means creator in my language and also because she exemplifies the meaning of the word.

Best advice you have been given?

Recently it's 'This too shall pass'.

What’s your take on the current state of Kenyan Music?

I am glad that we are having more female artists coming up and more opportunities to market our work. We are creating more live spaces to showcase our work, but we need to focus on the value of the artist. Creating and producing just that one song that drives you crazy takes a lot of resources and we are not going to our homes to eat or lay our heads on the songs so we definitely need to be motivated and appreciated and of course run a successful brand, which is the business.

We need to play a lot more of our music everywhere…in live gigs, radio, T.V., etc and reduce the high traffic of other countries music here. We need to be bold to offer chances to other artists to be heard and kill the monopoly of having the same faces on the same stages year in year out. The more artists flourishing, the more we can thrive in the international market together.

Apart from music, what else do you do?

I am an actor, producer and entrepreneur.

Word of advice to young girls who aspire to do music?

Be bold and be strong. If no one is giving you a seat to the table make your own table.

Who would you like to shout out?

My sister Mumbi who always supported my work and never let me give up, my mum who's my rock, my day one production team that has always come through in collaborating with me, from the producers I've worked with like Noel Grass, my band guys like Jackson Anduuru and Saha, my video production designer Temko Lavinda, my director Nice Githinji. They've made my magic come to life.

Social Media Handles?

Instagram: @victoriagichora
Twitter: @vickygichora
Facebook: Victoria Gichora
TikTok: @Victoria Gichora

Music out on all online stores (Spotify, iTunes, Soundscloud, Boomplay etc).

YouTube: @Victoria Gichora
LinkedIn: @Victoria Gichora

Parting shot?

The biggest and most rewarding investment I have ever made was in myself and my brand. Always choose you.