Grace Wachira @yaa_grace
Briefly, describe Kanjii in few words?
He is fun to be with, a great dad to our children Selah Mbugua (11) and Benga Mbugua (nine), and a good friend. He is the life of the party. Also, his love for God is evident in his life.
How did the two of you meet?
Well, we have known each other for 16 years now. We met in 2002 in the US and became instant friends. I was on a tour with a youth group called Love for Christ and he was studying music at a Biola University.
It was not love at first sight, but it was definitely friendship at first sight. I remember we could have six to seven hour conversations on phone. Gradually, we fell in love.
At some point, you had a long distance relationship. What was it like?
Actually, for the three years we dated, three quarters of it was long distance relationship. We made lemonade with our challenge and our relationship was strengthened. We learnt to communicate, talk, share everything verbally or written. It helped because now we have a wonderful relationship.
How have you supported his music journey?
(Kanjii responds) Mwendie is the most encouraging person in my life.
She is a ‘you can do it type of person’ and throughout my musical journey and my relationship with her, she has been a rock for me.
Always believing that I can do and become more and has supported me through prayer and friendship. She is also incredibly talented, so everything I do I run by her and I always appreciate her incredible feedback.
Were you prepared for the attention that comes with being married to a celebrity?
It is something that I still struggle with. We are private people. We do not share what we do as a family on social media, such as holidays, among others.
The attention is something I have struggled with, but I have learnt to take it as part of life and part of the gig. Now, it is not a big deal. Our children laugh and joke about how strangers approach us and always want to talk to their dad.
What sacrifices has he made for your marriage to work?
The greatest sacrifice is time. Kanjii always comes up with ideas on how we would spend more time together. I know our marriage is a priority to him as it is for me.
Tell us about starting and running Kijiji Agency together.
It is now called Maishaskills.com. At Maisha Skills we offer short online courses that equip people on matters of life. We have had an amazing journey being able to be in business together.
Obviously, seeing each other several times a day or throughout was a challenge that we have learnt to overcome. But now, we wouldn’t choose a better partner to be with. We have been through ups and downs together, but have loved the freedom that being in business together has given us.
He is one of the top gospel artistes and vocalists in Kenya’s gospel scene. What keeps him fueled and what are some of his biggest challenges yet?
Well, the biggest challenge he faces is remaining relevant and keeping an edge. He has to keep on moving forward because it is easy to remain in a comfort zone. This keeps him going because he looks at the world as his oyster and his service is to the world.
What is your husband’s most weird habit?
We keep laughing about this. We say he does not have an indoor voice and he speaks loudly. It is something we as a family find amazing and enjoy.
Who is that person who has influenced him the most?
Kanjii has been intentional in looking for mentors. He has been influenced by musicians such as, Pete Odera, Jack Odongo, Steve Waweru and Mwaniki Mageria.
They influenced him in his early years and he has been keen to go back and say thank you to them. Currently, Aaron Rimbui and Eric Wainaina are his mentors and they challenge each other. He is also keen on learning as much as he can from others as well.
What genre can’t he stand to listen to?
NeoSol. He hates the fact that at some point, people thought himself as a NeoSol artiste.
If he wasn’t singing or running Maishaskills.com, what would Kanjii be doing?
He’d probably be in a creative business somewhere.
What can we expect from him going forward?
He is working on a new live worship album that he is going to be recording in the US in March next year.