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From shy girl to award winning artist: Charity began at home

After putting everything behind to pursue a gospel music career, there are no regrets for Charity TAJEU, who says that it brings her great joy to see people being blessed by her songs. Beverline Timanoi reports

For Charity Nashipae Tajeu, a mother of two, there was little to think about the moment she realized that composing and singing music was her calling. She quickly turned her back on her career as an ECD teacher to pursue her dream.

Her journey to become a songstress had started way back as a child in primary school, when she sang at choirs and Sunday school. At that time, she did not know that she could both compose and sing just as easily. In fact, when she was chosen to sing in school, it initially felt like a punishment from her teachers.

As the leading choir leader in church, she improved her skill in praise and worship, eventually releasing her first album, Enkai Oosiraeli, in 2009. Having composed and written all 10 songs for her album, she had no idea how to produce the songs professionally. “When I was watching video CDs in my house I found contacts of a video producer, Paul Mukoma of Prince Cam Media, whom I called. I did not know that I was supposed to first produce an audio before going for video production.”

Mukoma directed her to the late John Nyika, who produced the audio for her at a cost of more than Ksh80,000. At that time, it cost Ksh8,000 per song for a good quality audio.

After spending that much on just the audio part, she could no longer afford to produce the video with Mukoma as she did not have the money. “I didn’t know that music could cost that much and therefore I had to seek a discounted production. I found Collo Nalepo Letoire of Nalepo Productions, with whom I did my first video CD. Despite not having very good quality, the feedback from the public was great.

While producing her second album, she met Emmy Kosgei, who became her role model and mentor to date. At this time, she could afford to produce good quality audio and video music. She was also knowledgeable about the production and marketing process. She produced her second album comfortably with Prince Cam Media Productions, and the feedback was also great.

In 2014, she did her third album, Eripoto Enkai, which won the Grove Awards for Rift Valley Song of the Year. She also did a song with Sanino Mayiana, “Esinyatisho,” which led to her being named Best Worship Artist by Maranatha Awards.

“Financial challenge and lack of knowledge and guidance from established artists is the main hindrance to many upcoming Maa artists. The media will only promote your music if it is of good quality. Even after struggling to get through unavailability of resources, getting returns from the music is hard due to piracy and also the digital move, where most people no longer buy CDs and even when they download the music online, the returns go to the sources on the internet,” she says.

Charity’s main motivation is to reach out to as many souls as possible through her music. She says that it brings her great joy to see people being blessed by her songs. “I have performed in many countries such as Rwanda, Nigeria and Ghana in the Maa language, and seeing people sink into my worship songs even without understanding the lyrics gives me utmost satisfaction that my music is a blessing to many people.”

Her advice to upcoming gospel artists is that they need to have a spiritual umbrella — a spiritual home where they are raised and moulded. “Charity begins at home. Get involved in your home church and God will raise you to serve the nations.”

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