LIZ - MY STORY
My name is Liz. They call me Liz Angie. I was born in the Rift Valley Province. That’s where I grew up until I was in class five. Then, we moved from Rift Valley to Nyandarua County. We had to move there because of the clashes that were happening in our province. It was in 2007, when there was an extreme post-election violence. So we moved to where my grandmother was living. I was schooled there, from my class five to class eight. Then I started form one. But the climate change was so hard for me. It was so hot there, I couldn’t stay for long. They brought me back to Nyandarua, where it’s much cooler. After finishing form four, I came to Nairobi. I did some computer studies there and then I started to work. Two years ago I came to Kibera. I used to work in the Kenyatta Supermarket, but now I quit because there were a lot of issues.
I was living with mom and dad, my two sisters and one brother. I’m the first born. My brothers and sisters are looking up to me, and I’m trying to be a good role model. I know what kids go through, I’ve been there. So when I see they’re going to the wrong direction I try to guide them.
My family has always been so supportive. Especially my dad supports me a lot in music. Every time he sees me sitting somewhere he asks me: “Are you writing some kind of song?” He encourages me, saying: “One day you’ll make it.” He believes in me. My dad is a reverent. When he preaches in church, sometimes he tells the crowd: “Now I’ll call my daughter to sing a song for us.” He sings a lot, too. At times we even sing together.
For now I’m staying with my aunt. Life in Kibera is so hard. Compared to where I grew up… There are a lot of changes. You’re just surviving. That’s why it’s so great to have Kica here. I love interacting with people, especially with other musicians. When I hear anybody talking about music or doing something related, I get so attracted to that. Anywhere there is art or music, I get so happy.
I can’t even remember how I old I was when I discovered how much I love singing, because I must have been really young. I used to follow my dad when he was playing the piano. He’d say: “Now we sing this song.” In my childhood, I loved to sing a lot. In church, at school, in my free time. Even in high school, I studied some music. We went to music festivals and I kept singing a lot.
Since I’m very little, I basically grew up in church. So, I love gospel music. I usually write songs myself. Sometimes I find myself writing other types of music, but mostly it’s gospel. Who inspired me was obviously my dad, and musicians like Don Moen. He’s a great gospel singer.
I feel so good when I sing. It feels like I’m doing the right thing. That feeling when you’re doing what you love most. One day I want to record my own music. I feel like it’s a part of me, and I believe in myself.
I want to show my life experience to people through music. I’d like to encourage people. In five years I hope I’ll have my own sounds that can inspire others. I don’t know exactly where – I’d sing at any opportunity I can get. I expect to go somewhere – I know it.
Life as an artist
There have been some challenges. Until now, I’ve written so many songs, but I haven’t been able to record any of them. I used to have a good gadget I could record with. But then, it was stolen. I was coming from town, having it in my pocket while sitting in the Matatu. When I reached home, it wasn’t there anymore. This was bad.
A good thing is that I have many certificates of music. I got them during high school. A happy moment was when in form three, I performed in a solo act. In the middle of the song, everybody stood up and clapped. I felt so good. Such a good experience.
I got to know Kica through a friend of mine, actually a neighbour. He asked me what I was doing with my music. “Just writing, rehearsing.. This is what I love doing.”, I told him, and asked whether he knew any studio or place I could do this. He told me about Kica and Made in Kibera, but it took him over a week to take me there. He showed me the place but he didn’t really introduce me. So the next day I went there on my own and rehearsed with the team for the first time. It’s so good. When you do something, the others will tell you what was good or what you could improve. I remember things they have told me that made me improve so much.
Through my music, I’d like to change people’s lives. Through the sounds and the texts. I know it does. Music educates.
My message to the community
I recommend people to join Kica. It’s such a good place.