The winner of Groove Awards Female Artiste of the year, Loise Kim (Loise Njeri Githuku) says she has had a difficult life. She got pregnant at 19 and is now divorced. Despite all the odds, she is among the best gospel singers in the country
Tell us about yourself…
I was born and raised in Mwimuto in Kiambu County. I am the first born in a family of eight. My parents are David Githuku and Pastor Felistus Njambi. I studied at Lower Kabete Primary School then to Muslim Girls and I finally went to Temple College.
Are you married?
No, I am not married. I am separated from my husband of seven years.
Is divorce not against your Christian beliefs?
No one is perfect.
Being a gospel artiste and a Christian, separated from your husband and living life as a single woman, what is the public reaction?
I have received a lot of negative comments. Some people went to the extent of saying I had taken drugs to kill myself because my husband left me for a white woman. That is when he was in London for some time.
What were you doing before you ventured into the music industry?
I had a business at Gikomba Market in Nairobi. I also had a matatu I bought on loan, but the business was hard because the crew was not honest.
What did you want to be come when you grew up?
I didn’t have any career in particular, but my mother wanted me to be a teacher. I didn’t like the idea because I didn’t think I could make it as a teacher. I had passion for music and I used to secretly watch people perform secular and gospel music. Music was in me, but I had not realised it.
When did you start singing?
In the Christian Union in high school. I was the chairperson for three years and I used to lead the praise and worship team. Unfortunately, after high school I got pregnant and life became difficult. Thank God for my uncle who knew my passion and took me to a studio.
Which was your first recorded song?
Ndi Ihinyiani (I am in the race) was the first song I did in 2006.
Which are your best songs?
Ndiguikara Hemaini Cia Kunyarario, which means I will not focus on what people think about me.
How many albums do you have?
I have done eight albums and I am currently working on another one.
The market right now is flooded with gospel musicians, how do you ensure you stand out from the crowd?
I am old in the industry. I started in 2008 and I make sure I have an album out every year to keep my fans.
What are the challenges in the industry?
These days, you can hardly make it by selling CDs. You have to include live concerts among other things. The other challenge is few artistes are paid royalties by the Music and Copyright Society of Kenya, who also control the money generated from Safaricom’ Skiza codes. I have heard many artistes complain.
What else do you do besides music?
I run Loise Kim Foundation. The idea came after I visited two children homes in 2008. The children were starving and I decided I had to do something. That is how I started mobilising friends and fans to send food and other contributions to the homes.
Now, I offer that help through my foundation that also mobilises support for people with disability and widows. The foundation is run by five directors, who coordinate fundraising. We also have road and music shows. We are looking for partners from the private sector and government.
What’s your secret for staying relevant in the industry?
I am almost on all social media platforms; YouTube to Facebook and WhatsApp. I also get invited to perform at functions.
Why did you decide to do your songs in Kikuyu?
Not many people understand English. In addition, I feel like sometimes the message is lost in translation. An artiste makes better impact in a language they are comfortable with and the audience relates to. I did an album in Kilio, and most of my fans did not understand it.
What has kept you this pretty at your age?
(She laughs) Water does wonders. I drink four glasses of water in the morning before anything else because I have never settled for the gymnasium.
What don’t people know about you?
I love chips. I get lonely at times and I cry too.
What is your message to pregnant teenagers battling with decisions of how to make it in life?
I got my first child when I was 19. I would tell them not to abort because everyone makes a mistake. Furthermore children are a blessing from God. However, my message now is abstain for premature sex.