I first came across Naomisia on ‘Mishe’, her debut single featuring Tanzanian rap sensation Brian Simba. Suffice it to say, I was hooked by her angelic vocals and honest lyrics. The Tanzanian R&B and Bongo Flava singer is part of a generation of artists spurring the evolution of the country’s music scene, and that of East Africa at large. Despite not having a multitude of solo music out yet, Naomisia has been making a name for herself within the music industry through her features.
With a debut project on the horizon, Naomisia is on her way to becoming a household name in Tanzania’s music scene.
How did you get into music and when did you start making music?
I’d like to think that I was always very musical. I used to watch American Idol and I loved how they could stand sing in front of everyone. I would always sing around school all the way up to high school and I had a friend, you might know her, Turunesh? Yeah, she was the first person that was like, “oh, so you can sing!” and I was like yeah. She was doing an event called Alternative Nights and enlisted me to do it so that’s how.
What or who have been your greatest inspirations so far?
Internationally, I grew up listening to Toni Braxton, Michael Jackson and Destiny’s Child, a whole lot of Beyonce. But within Tanzania I’d like to say Lady Jaydee and Vanessa Mdee.
My introduction to you was on “Mishe” with Brian Simba and I was like, “Wow, she can really sing”. What was the first song you put out and you were like, yeah, I’m ready to give this singing thing a go?
I discovered SoundCloud at 16 and around that time Brian Simba had put out his first mixtape ‘Masaki Theory’. And I was like how can I become like him (haha). I put out my first cover “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, and that was dreadful, it was horrible! But since then I’ve been very experimental and trying to put out more work.
What has been your most favourite/memorable moment in your career so far?
Wow, theres so many!
I think being able to have solid conversations with people that I look up to you know. The Grace Mathatha’s, the Fid Q’s. I was in Fid Q’s living room just hanging out. 10 year old Naomi would have died (haha). So yeah, it’s things like that. Just being able to recieve wisdom from them, and having them give me a nod.
Out of the music you have out so far, is any of them your favourite?
No (haha), none of them is my favourite! My favourite isn’t even out yet. Hopefully by the end of this year we should have it out.
That leads on to my next question which is are you working on a project that we should be excited for?
Yes! I’m going to be putting out an EP in June, if not hopefully July. It’s going to be roughly five tracks. Yeah, I’m really excited. I’m excited to see what people think and how they’ll receive it. And it gives me a chance to show off my skill set. I’m not just a singer, like a recording artist. I also do live performances so I’ll be doing more shows.
So what’s your creative process?
It really, really depends but I stick to the pen and paper approach, always. I think that’s where my best ideas come from. When writing a song, I listen to the beat first and then whatever comes to my mind at that point I’ll just put down on paper. If it’s horrible, I’ll scrap it. If it’s not, I’ll just build off of it. It takes a couple of days to fully complete a song but sometimes, if I’m lucky, just a few days or hours.
What are your future aspirations? Where are you hoping to be in the next five years?
I’m 20 now, so hopefully by the time I’m 25 I will have…. Wow, this is a hard question. I want to be a household name in the music industry within Africa and internationally as well. I would also like to have started my own record label hopefully.
Who are your top 5 artists currently?
I love, love, love Teni. I think she’s the coolest out there. I love Halsey cause she’s just so badass. Brian Simba, for obvious reasons. I think he, he doesn’t try to change for anyone although he’s now a mainstream artist, he still sticks to what he thinks is cool for him. Rihanna!
Yeah, of course (haha). I like how versatile she is. And lastly...Beyonce because she’s probably the most hardworking musician ever.
What are your top five favourite albums?
The 1975 - The 1975
Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Ariana Grande - Sweetener
Wakazi - Kisimani
Drake - Nothing Was The Same
Who’s your dream collaboration?
Sho Madjozi. She’s all sorts of dope. Also knowing that she lived in Tanzania for a while and is friends with a lot of people that I know, it’s like oh, that’s cool.
Lastly, when people listen to your music, what are you hoping that they’re getting from it?
I really hope that I’m tugging at their heartstrings. I want my music to help them not only get through the tough times but I want them to feel like they’re not alone. When I’m writing, it’s therapy for me as well so I can only hope that when someone listens to me they get some strength from it.