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Gabriela Rocha – AKA Gaby Xo – is one of the most promising South African rappers. She has been on the fast rise lately.

 Having released several tracks that have garnered her praise, she’s poised to take over the music scene in her home country.

Her music video for “Too Easy” debuted on MTV back in November 2021. Ever since she’s been in the studio cooking up new stuff.

gaby xo

We had a virtual sit down with Gabriela to find out what she’s been up to, her experience in the industry, and future plans. Here’s the insightful conversation.

Career Fodder: What’s the best advice you can give to a musician just starting out based on your experience?

Gaby XO: I think I’d say don’t expect your friends or even family to support you or spread the word about when you drop or when something happens, you’ll only probably see support once you start accomplishing things.

Also read: Jiji Kenya’s Head of PR & Marketing Grace Gikonyo Shares Tips On Making It In The Industry

Set short-term goals for yourself and always remember that the music business is tough but never forget why you fell in love with creating music. Stay focused.

gaby xo

CF: You’ve already dropped a few songs so far. What has been the reaction from fans?

 GX: I’ve been receiving such amazing reactions and such heartwarming messages from fans and people that are new to listening to me.

I’ve had one or two people create fake accounts and DM me “ ag that’s so wack “, “ you should just quit you aren’t going anywhere “ and I wish I could tell them how that motivates me even more.

Also read: Interview: Victoria Kimani Discusses Her Musical Evolution

One of the guys on my team always tells me, “ yo b if you getting hate, you doing something right, now let’s get to work “

 CF: What’s your song creation process like?

GX: I normally like to get familiar with the verse and rehearse it a few times and then when I record I try to do it in one take even if I have to do it a few times.

And then we’ll listen to all those takes and choose the best one. And then if there are any parts that need to be fixed I’ll do just those parts and blend them in with the rest of the verse.

gaby xo

CF: Where do you get inspiration from when creating music?

GX: I normally get inspired about what’s going on in my life or what has happened or what I’ve been through, normally when I feel down I write around that.

I like sharing my stories with my listeners and it’s scary because on upcoming projects I poured my heart out talking about certain things. But as an artist, it’s my job to connect with fans through my music

Also read: Exclusive: Joeboy Discusses Working With Mr. Eazi And Zuchu

CF: You must be having projects coming up throughout the year. What can we expect in terms of style and collaborations?

GX: Yes I do, I have an EP coming out this year. A few really amazing artists I will be collaborating with.

There are heartbreak songs, there are turn-up songs as well about songs where I’m just talking about life. This project is so close to my heart and I want to make sure it’s perfect and gets the push it deserves.

gaby xo

CF: Where does Gaby see herself in the next 5 years?

GX: I see myself in a totally new position in life, I see myself competing for the best female rapper in SA. I hope by then I have inspired a few people and I pray that one-day young girls look at me and aspire to be like me.

CF: What’s the best thing about being an artist that you love?

GX: I love that I can be myself, even on days I feel like giving up. This just feels like something I need to see through.

CF: Finally, what’s that special thing you’d want your fans to know about you?

GX: I work my ass off, nothing was handed to me nor have I been put in positions where things just fall into place. I work hard for everything I have and everything I’m working towards. It’s me and God in this.

 

 

Fast-rising TikTok star Charity Ekezie – @itssucrepea – has caught the eyes of many globally with her witty content about Africa. Banking on her unique sense of humor and sarcasm, she has been educating a global audience about the other side of Africa that they rarely see.

She often sheds light on the fact that Africa has advanced infrastructure, cellular networks, an educated population, internet connectivity, water, food, and many other resources. Creating content in this realm comes with its own challenges.

Also read: Interview: Victoria Kimani Discusses Her Musical Evolution

However, Ekezie has made sure not to be put down by the regular stereotypic and racist comments that come with the exposure she’s gotten. At the time of this publication, she has garnered over 900K followers and over 18 million likes on TikTok.

@charityekezie

Reply to @cyahlef We Bless the ancestors for running so that we can walk 🙏 #sacarsm #charityekezie #africa

♬ original sound – Charityekezie

Some of her viral videos have gotten as much as 10 million views. She is unstoppable and a true African star in the making. Our Editor-In-Chief Harun Momanyi had a conversation with the Nigerian content creator and she shared her story.

From working as a radio journalist to a full-time content creator, Charity Ekezie has made a life-changing transformation. Apart from being a content creator, Charity is the CEO of Desire by Charity, an Ankara wear brand specializing in swimsuits and lingerie. 

The brand ships worldwide and caters to all body sizes.

Career Fodder: What inspired you to join TikTok?

Charity Ekezie: I joined TikTok during the worldwide lockdown in 2020. I saw so many TikTok videos going viral then but was not really sure I wanted to join.

itssucrepea

This was until I saw a celebrity I follow on Instagram do a TikTok that I enjoyed. I immediately downloaded the app and decided that this would be a good place to spend time on and kill boredom since we were all forced to be indoors anyway. 

CF: How did you find your niche?

CE: To be honest I have dabbled in many themes on TikTok. I started out not wanting to be associated with one particular niche, but to be dynamic; because, in reality, I’m quite versatile.

Then in 2021, one of my videos – which was part of a national trend at the time – went viral. In this video, I was showcasing different countries in Africa and their traditional outfits.

It got so much love from around the world, mixed with so many stereotypical comments about Africa. That was literally when the African-themed ‘sarcasm’ niche for me was born.

CF: Sarcasm and humor form a big part of your theme. How did you come to a decision to use them in your content?

CE: In the videos that went viral last year, I saw a comment that asked ‘if they visited Africa, what water would they drink?’ I found it funny. I always saw people make posts about the lack of water in Africa and all, and it always upset me but I couldn’t do anything about it since it wasn’t on my wall.

So, when I saw this comment, I felt like it was my opportunity to school them. I didn’t want to do what other African creators were doing already by trying to prove the point.

itssucrepea

 

I decided to use sarcasm. In the video, I was holding a bottle of water in my hand and then told them how our community hosts a ‘saliva festival’ so we can have drinking water.

This got my followers; including my mum laughing so much, then I decided to keep on doing it this way since it seemed to be attracting an audience.

CF: You tell stories about Africa, and challenge the Western perception of the continent. Was it daunting starting out?

CE: I wouldn’t say it was daunting. In fact, it wasn’t. The only thing I felt at one point was just sadness from the many racist and nasty African stereotype remarks I received on one of my viral posts. This made me even want to do more. So, it wasn’t difficult for me but was exciting instead.

CF: Why do you think it’s important for the world to understand Africa from a different perspective?

CE: Because they’re being fed lies and I want them to know the truth! We are better than what they are taught. I grew up in Africa my whole life and I can’t keep shut when I see someone making up stories about how I’m supposedly living my life meanwhile I never ever experienced the so-called lifestyle they talk about.

itssucrepea

 

CF: You’ve gone viral and your fans come from all over the globe. How did you settle in and adapt to the newly found popularity?

CE: Well, I have had videos that went viral a couple of times in the past. It is an exciting experience but as for this one, it’s even more exciting because it means that the message I’m passing is getting to the right audience. 

As for popularity, I wouldn’t say I’m just there yet; but I’m grateful for how far I’ve come. I’m finally being heard and that’s what matters.

CF: Many people would love to know what you do outside TikTok as a profession…

CE: I studied journalism and I worked in radio for a little over three years. Asides from that, I also had a couple of online businesses, which have actually been on pause ever since the pandemic started. 

So now I just create content full time but still looking forward to, and working towards pursuing my journalism career and building back my businesses.

CF: Did storytelling form a part of your childhood experience?

CE: Of course! As an African kid, storytelling is a big part of your childhood, especially the ones told by your grandparents. I heard a lot of stories from my parents and grandparents, especially about their lives growing up and even how they survived wars and the like.

@charityekezie

Reply to @vlasdair No sweetie we use rocks 😭 #charityekezie

♬ Title – Meghan Trainor

CF: Have you been approached by brands from collaborations or other content creators for projects?

CE: So far, I have actually been approached by one popular brand but haven’t finalized anything yet. But I definitely have been approached by artists to promote their music, and also small businesses to promote their products. 

So, if that is also categorized under brands then that makes sense. LOL if not, then I will simply look forward to getting brand deals in the future. 

Whatever happens, I stay grateful. I haven’t really gotten any major creators seeking a collab yet but I look forward to it.

itssucrepea

CF: What is that one thing you’d want your fans to know about you that they would be surprised to know?

CE: That I was bullied all my life. Even as an adult. This led me into switching from being an extrovert to a self-made introvert. I’m literally always by myself and keep a very tiny circle of friends.

This has led me into developing anxiety whenever I’m in the midst of a large crowd filled with strangers. I’ve been working on it though and getting better.

CF: Finally, what’s in store for your fans this year?

CE: As far as my fans are concerned, my plan is to keep them entertained, educated, and happy. 

 

One of Africa’s fastest-rising Afrobeat stars Omah Lay, who has hits such as “Godly”, which has over 40 million views on YouTube has proven to be the future of West African music.

He recently worked with Justin Bieber on a jam dubbed “Attention”. The video, which was released on 4th March 2021 has over 6 million views at the time of this publication.

Our Editor-In-Chief Harun Momanyi had an exclusive interview with the star for Kenya Airways Msafiri Magazine. In the conversation, it became clear what Omah Lay stands for.

Lay wants his songs to be a window through which his listeners can get to know him better.

Also read: Azziad Nasenya Reveals Her Secret To Success

“My music is a reflection of my personality and where I’m from. I like people getting to know me better by listening to my songs. I mean if you have followed my music, you can at least have an idea of who I am, where I come from, and what I am about. They are all in there somewhere!” he opens up.

The 24-year-old star has had a highly successful 2021. He has collaborated with big stars, including Olamide, Wizkid and Adekunle Gold on hits that have become instant earworms. Lay won’t be stopping anytime soon.

omah lay

“I listen to loads of artists from Celestine Ukwu all the way to Drake –  you can see how that cuts across genres, and they have all helped shape my sound in some way, but the biggest influences of my music are my personal experiences,” he adds.

It’s apparent how refreshing his style is; he has taken the Afrobeats to another level, adding his own personal take and flavor. That’s why he has quickly garnered millions of fans across the globe, with upcoming global stage events already lined up for him to perform at.

 Speaking of his motive in creating music, Lay says that “I just want my music to entertain and touch lives and I hope to accomplish that by telling my own story in my own way.”

 The star is also proud of his roots. Hailing from Nigeria, Lay is putting his country on the global map musically. The stylish singer and record producer says his sound is definitely Afrobeat.

Also read: Interview: How Huddah Monroe Succeeded With Her Cosmetics Business

“Of course! We are all cut from that Afrobeat cloth! But I always try to push the envelope – Damn, You, Godly and even the most recent ‘Understand’, you can see they can all be classified into different genres but holistically they’d always be from that Afro DNA,” he says.

omah lay

As change is constant, the hitmaker has embraced the evolution of his work ever since he got into the game. 

“I’ve been exposed to so many experiences since I dropped my first project that has helped me grow as a person and as an artist. So naturally, this finds its way to my music. I’m just enjoying the journey and letting my music reflect that,” he concludes.

The interview appeared in the October/November 2021 issue of Msafiri magazine, which is FREE to download.

2020 was a career-defining year for many TikTok creators in Kenya. Thanks to the pandemic, many found much time on their hands. Hence they sought to create a name for themselves. 

Short-form video platform TikTok released its annual year-end rewind, and thus unveiled its top creators and moments. The year was marked with viral challenges, mainly in the form of lip-syncing to songs while dancing along to the beat.

Also read: How Rihanna Built A $600 Million Empire

“Throughout this socially-distant year, the platform allowed its community to stay connected by celebrating trends and spreading positivity. It has been amazing to see vibrant, diverse, and creative content coming out of 2020 and we look forward to more of this in 2021,” said Boniswa Sidwaba, TikTok Content Operations Manager, Africa in a press statement.

Meet the top TikTok creators in Kenya

Here are the top creators in Kenya, in no particular order:

  1. azz_iad
  2. _rexxie
  3. officiallaura
  4. justtotallyrandom
  5. naughty_by_nature11
  6. chadotagee
  7. thee_pluto
  8. cindyk003
  9. iduissak
  10. kenyan.romeo

Azziad Nasenya, who was arguably the most popular breakout talent on the platform, had an exclusive interview with our Editor-In-Chief Harun Momanyi, She got to discuss her career success, and how the pandemic impacted her. The interview appeared in the Dec 2020/Jan 2021 issue of Msafiri Magazine, a publication of Kenya Airways. Be sure to check it out.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Our effort ensures that you get free resources to advance your career while leading a healthy lifestyle.

For continued free access to life-changing, high-quality content, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to CAREER FODDER, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

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There are many accolades that Rihanna holds, but most notable was when Forbes magazine declared her net worth to be $600 million in 2019. Her rise to the top has been in the making for a long time. Originally, she started off as a chart-topping artist who graced red carpet award-shows with stunning outfits. 

In recent years, Rihanna has solidified herself as a savvy entrepreneur. Her fans now know her as the businesswoman behind Fenty, Savage x Fenty, Fenty Beauty, and a string of brand collaborations. 

She learned first

Before she decided to launch her own businesses, Rihanna spent time collaborating with reputable brands, learning tools of the trade that would catapult her to success. In December 2014, Riri assumed a creative director role at Puma. The 31-year-old business mogul was tasked with the success of women’s apparel and footwear. 

rihanna sephora
Rihanna at Sephora checking on her Fenty Skin stock / Instagram

Rihanna outdid herself. Her first trainer, released in fall 2015 sold out in hours. After that followed collections that sold out as well. In September 2018, she debuted her Fenty collection at the New York Fashion Week. 

The “Savage x Fenty” line is the definition of inclusivity as it targets women of all sizes. That has majorly been a driving force behind her success, as seen in her collaboration with luxury giant LVMH for the brand Fenty.

Her inspiration

The reason why she started Fenty Beauty is that she saw a lack of diversity in shades that suit every woman in the market. While growing up, her mum’s lipstick intrigued her. That influenced her to try out makeup, and it ended up being a way to enhance her beauty; she is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous celebrities to ever exist.

rihanna fenty beauty
Rihanna promoting Fenty Beauty / Instagram

Thus, it is safe to say that her journey hasn’t been linear. Rihanna had to become a successful musician first – she earns $70 million annually from royalties – before she became a fashion powerhouse. She also had to learn about the fashion industry first-hand. 

You too can do it

So what lesson do we get from her journey? We can all agree on one thing; if you don’t lose track of what you are passionate about, it can be super rewarding. Let’s put this into context. Let’s say, your desired career is to be a computer scientist. 

You start off being a data entry clerk and work your way up to be a team leader. In the end, you have enough cash to take yourself to code school. Do you become satisfied with your managerial role? Of course, you should go for what you have always loved.

This is not to say that Rihanna did not love music. She’s just exploring her creative facets and has succeeded immensely while at it. We hope you too can gather courage and go for it!

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Our effort ensures that you get free resources to advance your career while leading a healthy lifestyle.

For continued free access to life-changing, high-quality content, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to CAREER FODDER, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

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When I interviewed director Hannah Lux Davis back in January 2016, she was still celebrating the success of her collaboration with Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj. At that time, “Bang Bang” was the biggest budget music video she had worked on. As you read this, the video has 1.6 billion views on YouTube!

Since then, Hannah Lux Davis has directed dozens of record-breaking and chart-topping music videos that we all love. Her aesthetic is unique, and her go-to choice of expression is colorful visuals.

The unique style Hannah Lux Davis employs

I have always loved vibrant, saturated colors in a visual form, and it’s usually what I am drawn to in film, videos, and photography, but that’s not to say I don’t love to indulge in darker, more desaturated imagery. You tend to get hired for what you do, and what I have done a lot of is colorful pop,” she told me in our conversation back then.

Also read: How Rihanna Built A $600 Million Empire

Her style of directing videos has definitely evolved. However, her golden touch is always there. She’s friends with many of the artists that she has worked with, and they always come back for more. Why? Her work breaks barriers and gets better day by day.

Her best work…

We’ve compiled some of the popular music videos Hannah Lux Davis has ever made, and here are our top 20 in no particular order…enjoy:

“Oath” by Cher Lloyd Ft. Becky G

“Be Kind” by Marshmello & Halsey

“Say So” by Doja Cat

“Marry Me” by Jason Derulo

“2 On” by Tinashe Ft. Schoolboy Q

“Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj

“Hey Mama” by David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha, and Afrojack

“7 Rings” by Ariana Grande

“Thank U, Next” by Ariana Grande

“Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato

“Good Life” by G-Eazy and Kehlani

“Side To Side” by Ariana Grande Ft. Nicki Minaj

“Love Myself” – Hailee Steinfield

“Bad Things” by Machine Gun Kelly and Camila Cabello

“Power” by Little Mix Ft. Stormzy

“I Bet” by Ciara

“Say My Name” by David Guetta, Bebe Rexha and J Balvin

“Friends” by Marshmello & Anne-Marie

“The Night Is Still Young” by Nicki Minaj

“Love Me” by Lil Wayne Ft. Drake & Future

 

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Our effort ensures that you get free resources to advance your career while leading a healthy lifestyle.

For continued free access to life-changing, high-quality content, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavor.

By contributing to CAREER FODDER, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

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