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TROPICS MAGAZINE

AFRICA'S FIRST BI-LINGUAL MAGAZINE. TWICE AWARDS-NOMINATED.


Valerie Kimani, the quiet force!

Posted by TROPICS MAGAZINE on August 2 2012, 22:10pm

Categories: #Features & Interviews, #slider

Valerie Kimani is the stunning and fresh new face of contemporary African music. 

Being the winner of the first ever reality show in East Africa -Tusker Project Fame, Kimani’s energy, enthusiasm and tranquil, pure voice saw her walk away with the winning title in the competition, and the much coveted record deal with Gallo Records South Africa at only 21.

Valerie Kimani, the quiet force!

Valerie Kimani is the stunning and fresh new face of contemporary African music. 

Being the winner of the first ever reality show in East Africa -Tusker Project Fame, Kimani’s energy, enthusiasm and tranquil, pure voice saw her walk away with the winning title in the competition, and the much coveted record deal with Gallo Records South Africa at only 21.

The entire experience set Kimani into whirlwind media frenzy and saw her become a household name overnight in her country Kenya. With her head firmly on her shoulders, the young star is as humble now as she was entering the competition and her focus and determination has seen her taking her recording experience by the horns. Valerie walked out of the studio with a mature and sophisticated debut album – Baisikeli; a record that quite clearly captures her musical versatility as she interacts with various musical talents such as Kenya’s Eric Wainaina and Super Mazembe, Uganda’s Maurice Kirya and South Africa’s Theo Kgosinkwe of the popular group Mafikizolo. “It’s hard to imagine Britain’s reality TV talent creating a debut quite as accomplished as this. Kimani raises the bar.” (Arwa Haider, Metro Life SA)

 

 

Her first song and video release, Besame Mucho (Kiss Me A Lot) is a Spanish rendition of the jazz standard written by the Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velazquez. The track has been made famous over the years by legendary singers such as The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Andrea Bocelli and Cesaria Evora. Kimani presents a “surprisingly fresh” version “breathing gently against a light piano ripple” (David Honigmann, Financial Times South Africa).


 The rest of the album consists of material sung in English, Swahili and her native Kenyan tongue Kikuyu. Two songs (Besame Mucho and Nguga ii), off her debut album, have been included in a European compilation album entitled Ladies In Jazz” where she features alongside music icons such as Norah Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day and Sarah Vaughan.

Her depth, wit and intensity add a potent ingredient to her music. Drawing inspiration from her most intimate thoughts on love, life and identity, Kimani is not afraid to share these sometimes raw and vulnerable conversations with the world.


Her jazzy influences and maturity remind one of Cesaria Evora with a youthful energy and spontaneity that engages her audience immediately. She cites artists such as Hugh Masekela, Sade and Khadja Nin as being instrumental influences on her musical philosophy, style and expression.


To date she has performed at some key music events. She was the first East African to ever play at the Joy of Jazz Festival in South Africa. She’s also performed for the Prime Minister of Tanzania and South Africa and has entertained guests alongside Nigeria’s 2 Face Idibia and South Africa’s songstress Thandiswa Mazwai at the inaugural BBC Africa Radio Awards held in Nairobi. Her album launch in South Africa was alongside South Africa’s finest Jazz/Opera songstress Sibongile Khumalo. She was the opening act for 2008 Grammy Award Winner (Best Traditional Pop Album Category) Michael Buble, (www.michealbuble.com), as he embarked on his South African tour.


Having already shared the stage with such high profile acts since her career began on a television show, it is clear that Kimani is carving a clear definitive path for herself and her career. Her personal growth and experiences, particularly since the launch of her career, has inspired her to create a foundation that is concerned with the self-development of the African Girl, Woman and Child. The foundation, aptly called Kimani’s Concern has begun work among teenage girls in Kenyan high schools, organised exciting workshops and intimate forums where young women can share authentically and connect powerfully with each other and with other women who are inspiring to them and is currently looking into the plight of Kenyan street children.


Further to her music and philanthropic interests, Kimani has been involved on the acting stage as well, gracing Kenyan and international audiences through her gripping performances. Some of the highlights of her acting performances include the original Kenyan musical Mo Faya, in which she played the lead, earning her a New York Musical Festival award for her outstanding individual performance off Broadway. She was also part of MTV’s hit television series Shuga that was aired in over 40 countries.


A beautiful, organic and wholesome young woman, Valerie’s star is rising faster every day. With an active buzz around her name, she has been set up appropriately for the world to receive her talent.


A definite star to look out for!

Valerie Kimani, the quiet force!Valerie Kimani, the quiet force!Valerie Kimani, the quiet force!

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