Kambua is charismatic, adorable and welcoming.
During the date set for interview, she finishes her morning appearance at Hot 96 FM and joins this writer for a thirty-minute profile interview to candidly reveal details about her life.
Dressed smartly in a brown sweater top, fetching pair of dark trousers, black boots and her natural hair well ponytailed, she tells it all.
EDAILY: Share a little bit of your experience growing up
KAMBUA: I was born and raised in Nairobi. I am the second born in a family of three – sandwiched between brothers. Growing up as the only girl was fantastic; though in several instances, I wished I had sisters. But then, my brothers made growing up such a great adventure – at some point I was like: ‘I am kind of glad I did not have sisters.’ I was a quite tomboy.
EDAILY: Being the only girl among your siblings, were you accorded preferential treatment by your parents?
KAMBUA: No, but I did have a special relationship with my dad. I think that goes without saying. But we have never known preferential treatment in our home, no.
EDAILY: Which schools did you attend?
KAMBUA: I went to Kianda Primary School, Lukenya Academy for high school. I remember my high school experience quite vividly. It was my first time to be in a boarding school, so it was a new experience. Kianda Primary School was an all-girls institution, and when I joined Lukenya, which was a mixed school, I had another experience. It was a good phase in my life, and it helped discover who I am and what I want to do.
EDAILY: Did you discover your music talent in high school?
KAMBUA: Not really. I started to sing when I was very little – I cannot lay a finger on the exact age, but all I can say is: I was very young when I discovered my music talent. High school maybe defined that a lot more for me. I started performing a lot more intentionally at school. Music has been such a huge part of my life because my parents were musical as well – my mum sings, my dad used to play the guitar.
EDAILY: How was it like being brought up in a Christian family?
KAMBUA: Growing up in such a family is one of the blessings that I count because it formed the foundation of who I am today. It was obviously a little difficult when I was becoming a teenager and I started to question a lot of things – why we do things a certain way, why we can’t go to certain places, listen to certain music? I probably struggled with my personality – and the home that I was being raised in. But when I was able to – thankfully – overcome that, I really appreciated having been brought up by Christian parents. My music ministry has a lot to do with my upbringing.
EDAILY: When did you get saved?
KAMBUA: I gave my life to Christ when I was in Standard Six. In high school is when I really understood what it meant to be a Christian – it is when I really started my relationship with God.
EDAILY: What challenges did you face leading a Christian life?
KAMBUA: There are constant challenges and temptations. Whereas before you are born again, you can do whatever you like without necessarily having repercussions; being a Christian means that you are saved – your spirit might be saved; but your body, thoughts and heart might not be saved. There’s always that struggle with the human nature. Being saved is very challenging, but it is also very rewarding! Choosing to be a Christian and walking with God, has been such a fulfilling experience for me such that I would not trade it for anything – even with the challenges that are involved.
EDAILY: Does being born again influence how you choose your friends?
KAMBUA: Absolutely (laughs)! They say that birds of a feather flock together. For me, it is important to have friends who share the same values as I do. Just so that we walk in the same direction; we don’t derail each other.
EDAILY: Do you have any regrets in life?
KAMBUA: I don’t have any regrets. No regrets. I feel that everything that has happened in my life – all the good and the bad – have worked wonderfully to make me the woman that I am. I feel that the things that have been especially difficult, I have built my character; built my strength; I would not take them back. I am thankful for the challenges. I equally don’t have embarrassing moments (laughs). It’s never that serious. I laugh about things and move on.
EDAILY: Who dresses you (fashion)?
KAMBUA: I dress myself. When I am making public appearances, I usually involve other designers – but I usually know what I want. One of the people that I love working with is Wambui Mukenyi. She understands my fashion and she gives it a little extra flare. Generally, I have always loved fashion; my mum is a very fashionable woman. She is in her sixties and she is still very gorgeous; I grew up trying to walk in her heels – she was a senior secretary. I found her so stylish. I grew up wanting to be an elegant lady, but also wanting to have my own sense of fashion.
EDAILY: Tell us something about you and flowers – your once upon a time trademark look.
KAMBUA: (Laughs) there was a season when I loved flowers. I used to wear a lot of that. It might have had a little bit to do with Jill Scott (American singer, model and actress); I loved and still do love her – I think that her style influenced me a lot; so I had flowers of every colour and every size to go with every outfit. It became my signature style; and soon it was picked up by people – some friends would tell me: ‘I want the Kambua flower’. It was good for a season, but I moved on. I had to evolve.
EDAILY: Your lowest moment… It must be when you lost your dad…
KAMBUA: My lowest moment is when I lost my dad. I cannot say that I have come out of it; I won’t say I am at the place that I was before. It is such a difficult journey that no one prepares you for and I ask God to give me strength for every moment. It has now been two years, but there are times when I feel that ‘this is so difficult’ and I ask God to give me the strength for now. And God does. I have been taking each moment at a time – remembering the man that he was; the kind of woman that he’d want me to turn out to be; taking the things that he did really well and using them as a bar for myself; and also looking at the areas where he felt that he failed and learn from those lessons as well.
EDAILY: What kind of relationship would you advice men who have daughters to pursue?
KAMBUA: What I would say to every man who has a daughter is the importance of telling her that she is valuable. For me, my self esteem and who I am; my confidence, of course comes from God ultimately, but a good chunk of it came from my father telling me constantly that he believed in me; that I was valuable; that I was beautiful; that I was capable; that I was intelligent; and the fact that I knew my dad believed it did not matter what people thought; my dad taught me that it was okay to make mistakes and learn from them; he told me that if I don’t know something, it is okay to ask. He made the world such a place of all sorts of possibilities. Fathers who have daughters, you are our first love; and if daughters can get that affirmation from you, there is absolutely nothing that will stand in her way.
EDAILY: What do you think makes a successful marriage?
KAMBUA: Just looking at people who have been married for 10 or 20 years; I think that one of the things that comes out clearer to me is being friends with the person that you are married to. When you have that friendship, then you can work through just about everything – because the feelings of love and affection fade; when you have a friend, you can withstand the test of time and turbulence. Marriage is a gift from God and He is the one who sustains it.
EDAILY: What is your take on submission; and what does it mean to a modern day woman?
KAMBUA: Submission is just one of those things that I don’t know if everyone everywhere will agree on. The word of God talks clearly about women submitting to their husbands; and husbands loving their wives. Honestly, whether in traditional or modern times, it is such a difficult concept to understand. And for me, it is a daily lesson; I am far from mastering it because there are so many times when I find I want to have my way, I want to have my say, I disagree and I want to be heard and be vocal. I am learning to unlearn a lot of things that are probably picked up without knowing from society. I don’t think everyone fully masters submission – it is really difficult; but it is possible – God can teach a woman day by day.
EDAILY: What course did you pursue in college?
KAMBUA: I was at Africa Nazarene University for about a year and a half. I had enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in business before transferring to another Nazarene University in Canada to study music. Music is what I always wanted to do. I am currently enrolled at Daystar University doing a master’s degree in communication. I don’t believe there’s ever an end to learning. I suspect that somewhere along the line I will go back to finish the business degree that I left hanging. My father was an educationist; I have subconsciously picked that up.
EDAILY: Do you forebode that you will become a lecturer?
KAMBUA: I don’t know, but I think I will become a lecturer in the future. But my passion is in teaching children – I want to teach them music, I want to teach them the arts.
EDAILY: Speaking of children, how many kids do you desire to have?
KAMBUA: Only God knows as He is the giver of kids. That is one thing I have learnt in life – it is ultimately up to God. I will say that I desire to have children, and when that happens; I will let you know – whether it will be one, or three or four.
EDAILY: What inspires your music?
KAMBUA: God inspires my music, my faith in Him, my life experiences, the challenges that I have gone through, the success that I have experienced, the pain and struggle of other people, situations around me; life inspires what I sing about.
EDAILY: What next for Kambua?
KAMBUA: There’s so much. I feel like I have barely started. But basically: more music, more writing and whatever else that God brings my way.
EDAILY: What advice do you have for the youth?
KAMBUA: I am passionate about young girls because I have been a young girl myself. To every young girl, know yourself and find your identity in God and be unapologetic about who you are. It is our diversity that makes everything so beautiful; to every young person, it is okay being who you are and be the best person that you can be.