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Vanessa Mdee. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Vanessa Mdee: "It's Tough to Be a Female Artist, You Have to Work Five Times Harder Than the Men"

The Tanzanian star opens up about the inner workings of the music industry, her desire to push East African music, looking up to Miriam Makeba and much more in this exclusive interview.

In July of 2018, Universal Music Group (UMG) announced that Tanzanian star Vanessa Mdee would be joining its global artist family. She was joining the music giant alongside her top African talents Mr Eazi (Nigeria), Stonebwoy (Ghana), and Tekno (Nigeria).

Fast forward to 2019, the fruits of the mega deal have begun to show. Under the label, she recently released her maiden international single "That's For Me" featuring South African duo Distruction Boyz. This is a major step not only for her but for the East African music industry as a whole.

Vee Money has been riding high with that single, which followed after a successful series of hits last year, including "Bambino" featuring Reekado Banks and "Wet" featuring GNako."Wet" had over 2 million views while "Bambino" raked over 1 million views on YouTube. Her fandom has also risen, as she recently hit 4 million followers on Instagram.

Vanessa has defined herself as the East African queen of music, with her accolades adding up to her stellar career.

We sat down with the bongo flava star to talk about her latest jam, never before known facts about her and of course addressed some of the hard issues hitting the East African music industry.

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Vanessa Mdee. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The 8 Best East African Songs of the Month

Featuring Khaligraph Jones, Mbosso, Amaal, RIMON, Vanessa Mdee, and more.

These are the tracks shaking up East Africa right now.

Here is our selection of the best East African songs of January featuring Mbosso, Vanessa Mdee, Otile Brown, RIMON and more.

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The Best East African Music Videos of 2018

Here are the best music videos out of East Africa this year featuring Rayvanny, Diamond Platnumz, and Sauti Sol amongst others.

East African artists really stepped it up with their visuals this year.

With acts like Rayvanny, Mbosso and Diamond Platnumz, the WCB Wasafi imprint stayed ahead of the game with their incredible big budget productions. Kenyan artists like Victoria Kimani and Sauti Sol have also been consistent with dishing out high-quality visual treatments that can compete with the rest of the continent.

Without further ado, here are our picks for the best East African music videos of 2018.

See our Best of 2018 coverage here.

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