AIM MANU - MY STORY
My name is Emmanuel. The artist name Aim Manu comes from “aiming”. I am Manu, and I am aiming for my dreams. I was born in Kibera, in a place called Soweto. We were a family of four: My elder brother and me, my mother and my father. When I was three years old, we migrated to a place in Kibera called Lindi, where I’m still living today. I have encountered many difficulties in my early childhood. For example going to school was hard due to a lack of school fees. But I’ve overcome it and now I’m a form four student. I’ll be doing my exams soon.
Important people in my life are first of all my mother. And then, my brother. He has always been there to support me. The first time I told him I wanted to do music, he was there and encouraged me.
I like socializing with people, making friends. And apart from singing and writing poems, I like dancing. And being happy.
Discovering a passion
I discovered my love for music when I was growing up. In church, I used to sing in a choir. I was just loving the music so much all the time. As I grew up, I developed a real passion.
The singing started in form two. That was when I realized I can do something. I was just writing the songs, but first I didn’t believe I could also sing them. And then, in form four, that was when I started doing spoken word. We have something like a band called Memorats. We’re composed of four people: One for spoken word, a rapper, and a girl and me who sing. I composed a chorus for our song.
I sing something like RnB and love songs, mostly in English. The inspiration mostly comes from other people’s songs. For example, somebody I like to listen to is a Kenyan artist called Nyashinski.
A role model to me is Chris Brown. The music he does makes you want to dance along. There is also quite a lot of breakdance in his music. This catches my attention.
Different than in music, what concerns the poetry, I was not inspired by the radio or the television. It happened here in Kica: There is a guy called Cillabiez that was doing poetry. He showed me how interesting it is. So I just started doing my own writings. The ideas come from my life here in Kibera.
Kibera is a home of talents. Many people here are capable of doing great things but they haven’t noticed it yet. Through our music and words, we want to encourage them and tell them that they can do it.
There is a song we wrote about how proud we are to be Kenyans. It speaks up against tribalism. I sing the chorus, and another member does some poetry in between. We speak about us being one, living in harmony. It’s a message to all Kenyans, and it keeps inspiring me.
When you sing you feel like you have overcome all the problems in the world.
My music career
The best memories were when I noticed that I am able to sing and to do poetry. This is what makes me happy. When I notice that I can do something.
I joined Kica last year. Before, I just sang along by myself. Nobody knew I could sing. Starting here showed me what I can do and how to believe in myself. When I first came here, I was not able to raise my voice. I started singing with a very low voice. I’ve learnt how to face people, how to stand in front of them and use everything I got. I can say it made me develop a lot, musically and personally.
I have performed in Shina Fest, together with our band. There was a time we were doing performances every Sunday. Sometimes I also perform alone. I’ve performed in the national theatre, and in the Uhuru Gardens. I like being on stage.
Future plans and dreams
In the future I want to be known, and I want to pass a message through my music. One day, I would like the Memorats group to be known by the whole world. That is my wish.
What I would like to transmit to the community is how everybody can believe in themselves.
Our community is facing unemployment problems. If I was able to provide people with employment, I could save the people here. For now, I just try to keep them moving through my music.
My message to the community
I would like to see a community where people come together as one people. Where we would be able to fight nepotism and tribalism. Unity is something important. That is my message.