We all know her as the music icon who dropped some of the euphoric sounds we grew up listening to. The soundtracks of most people’s youth. The Kenyan music industry credits some of it’s success to the hardwork and hustle of Suzanne Gachukia among other industry greats.
Well, she has been on a musical hiatus and that is because she got married a Kenyan diplomat, Richard Opembe, the Kenyan Ambassador to Ireland.
So, how is life as a diplomat’s wife?
“It’s had its challenges. After being a self employed business woman, waking up and not having the studio to go to every morning was – different!” Suzanna told The Star’s Word Is.
Adding, “In many ways, it has similarities to the entertainment world – you always have to be aware that people are watching you and judging your brand – in this case Kenya – by your behavior.”
Suzanna has a new music project dubbed Zannaziki AllStars VOL I. set to be released on March 28.
She described is as “a retrospective album of songs I’d composed or co- composed/ arranged, sung by other artistes. I actually started it 5 years ago! I thought – this happens all the time in other countries. So why not start that culture here? So that we continue to bring good music to our audiences. I’d also love to do that with the music of other Kenyan composers e.g. Mzee Ngala, Kamaru, the late Habel Kifoto, among others.”
So, what does hubby think about this? Laughing she responded, “Let’s just say – he challenged me to finish this project.”
You have a cushy comfy life, why go back to hectic tour dates, interviews, hustling for air play the whole shebang? “Okay, so women who are married shouldn’t work? I’m not sure how to answer that question…,” Suzanna said.
Suzanna has already released Kondo Gakwa featuring Wyre to rave reviews.
“It’s a children’s game,” she described the single, “I found my auntie Jei teaching it to kindergarten kids where I was teaching music. It caused so much excitement with the kids, I went home and put the chant to music. I couldn’t get the lyrics to work, so I asked my friend, the late David Ohingo, to help me. He re- worked the lyrics to the verses in the original. Wyre also reworked the lyrics in his version. That’s one of the things I love about working with artistes – when they bring their individual flavor to a track.”
The album is full of remakes o popular songs by various artistes. Full of euphoric moments. Asked about this, the music star said, “Interesting you say that because I do want people to feel a sense of “where was I when this came out?” A young girl who interviewed Wyre and I at the video shoot said she remembers her grandmother singing Kondo Gakwa to her! That was priceless! Some of the songs though will feel like they’re new, because the artistes have taken them, and made them, their own. That’s really nice too!”
She concluded, “Hope to see everyone at the launch – we’ll have some great performances. So far confirmed – Hellen Mtawali, June Gachui, Chris Adwar, Abbi, Neema. It’s going to be an all star line up!”