Vanessa Mdee, or as she is also known by ‘Vee Money’, is an award-winning pop star and tv personality. Not only is Vanessa a household name in East Africa, the artist is also a philanthropist who wants to see young African women become empowered.
The Tanzanian has recently unveiled latest single ‘That’s For Me’, her debut international release. LOCK spoke to the influential artist about the new track, signing to Afroforce1 / Universal Music, and her career.
Hi Vanessa, thanks for speaking with us.
It’s a pleasure, thanks!
Your international debut single ‘That’s For Me’ is out now.
Available on all platforms, it is a really exciting time for me!
What was it like working with Distruction Boyz, Dj Tira, and Prince Bulo on ‘That’s For Me’? The video looked like a lot of fun to shoot!
We had the best time shooting in Durban, South Africa. The home of the Qgom sound. The energy was incredible. Dj Tira, Distruction Boyz, Prince Bulo and the Rude Boyz were all on set with me which is rare, shows you the unifying power of music.
You are already a household name in Africa, so how excited are you to break into new territory with the help of Afroforce1 / Universal music?
Music is my passport, I’m excited to get as many stamps in my book on this journey. It has been a dream to expand what has been an already beautiful journey.
For people who don’t know you yet, how would you describe yourself and how would you describe your sound?
I’m a Global Flame, I am passionate about music and culture and positive vibration. My sound is progressive bongo flava ( Swahili Pop ).
If you were not in the music and entertainment industry, what do you think you would be doing career-wise?
I would probably be an educator.
As a strong advocate of female empowerment, do you believe Tanzania and East Africa as a whole, is making progress with giving young African women equality in career opportunities and the music industry?
I believe there have been strides in favour of women in the past decade but there still is a lot to be done for equal opportunities. I for one have had to wear big boy pants throughout my career and go head to head with male peers. I’ve always found this a pleasant challenge.
Dream music collaboration?
Lauryn Hill or a renaissance artist like Pharrell Williams
You got your first big break back in 2007 when you won the chance to become a video jockey for MTV Tanzania. Can you recall how you felt on the day of audition/competition?
I remember everything vividly. I was super confident in myself and I remember losing strength in my feet and falling down to the ground when they called out my name as the winner.
What advice would you offer to young women across the world that want to pursue a career in the music and entertainment industry?
I would say hone your craft, believe in yourself, put in the hours, there are no shortcuts, get good representation and a team that loves you more than the cheque. Go forth fearlessly and be yourself unapologetically.
Biggest musical inspirations genre wise ?
Female 90’s R&B and Pop.
Any personal career highlights so far?
Plenty … this release is another one.
Finally, what is next for Vee Money in 2019?
More global releases and touring the world, doing what I love… and the album.
Stay up-to-date with Vanessa Mdee:
Featured image credited to Vanessa Mdee.