5 Mins With Vanessa Mdee


We chat to Vanessa Mdee, a Tanzanian recording artist, songwriter, youth activist, TV radio host and the first ever Tanzanian MTV VJ about her MAMA nomination for best female singer.


Congrats for your nomination. How are you feeling?

Thank you so much. I feel blessed.

What does this nomination mean for you?

It means all these sleepless nights aren’t in vain. It means recognition on a pan-African level. I’m representing for the women of East Africa, which is pretty major.

If you win, what would the award mean for your career?

That we are just getting started and there’s definitely more attention on everything Vee.

Please describe your music.

I call it Progressive Bongo Flava. Bongo Flava is popular Swahili, it’s derived from various genres and borrows from Tanzanian folk music, and is most popularly performed in Swahili.


Did you study music?

I do now, every day as I create. However, I studied Law.

Where do you draw your inspiration?

Life and everyday circumstances.

You’re a great performer, what goes into preparing for that?

My dancers and I meet at least three times a week. Other than that, I have an amazing vocal coach and do 30 minutes on the treadmill every day. The rest is just the mere fact that when I’m performing I’m in a trance – we belong to the music!

Any SA artist you’d like to collaborate with?

My latest single features SA Hip Hop megacy, K.O. It’s called Nobody But Me, please check it out.

Let’s talk about your style, what’s the inspiration behind it?

I really just like to be me, I don’t care much for popular brands or trends. I love to accessorise though, so some dope shoes, glasses and statement accessories and we’re good to go.

Any style tips for our readers?

  • Layering is THE TRUTH!
  • When in doubt, choose black!
  • If you paid good money for it, it better look good.
  • Ladies, accentuate, accentuate, accentuate the curves.