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Photo: Mucyo H Gasana | @dailyinteractions.

Interview: Kenya's Xenia Manasseh Has Arrived

We talk to the fast-rising Kenyan artist about her debut EP, Fallin' Apart, being chosen for Mr Eazi's emPawa program and her two latest singles.

I meet Xenia Manasseh at a café as she apologetically explains that she needs to send off some songs, "you don't have WeTransfer do you?" It's about 4:20 in the afternoon and she recaps how her day has been going so far. "I haven't eaten all day. I've been trying to find a personal assistant." I ask her if things have gotten busier since her debut EP, Fallin' Apart, dropped in October, she looks up, pauses, and simply nods in relief as she finally manages to send off the tracks.

In the last year, Xenia moved to Nairobi from Atlanta. She completed and released her EP, was chosen to be part of Mr Eazi's emPawa program this year, opened for Rema's Nairobi show, recorded with Extra Soul Perception and performed on the same stage as Blinky Bill and GoldLink. As she recaps the year, you begin to realise that her stories are all rooted in meeting the right people, manifesting what she wants and gratitude.

The vulnerable-yet-soulful presence you come to know on her EP is a contrast to the bubbly and funny 23-year-old at the beginning of a promising music career. Signed as a songwriter with the Atlanta-based The UpperClassmen Music Group, she recalls taking a songwriting class at Berklee College of Music, "I couldn't write a single song, all those assignments never happened." She credits her place burning down in Boston to breaking her seven-year writing hiatus, and her subsequent move to Atlanta allowed her the change of environment she needed to continue writing.

This fast-rising Kenyan artist sat down with OkayAfrica to speak about her EP, her powers of manifestation and her two latest singles.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Faiza. Image courtesy of Faiza Hersi.

Meet Faiza Hersi, the Young Concert Producer Bringing R&B to Kenya

We talk to the Nairobi R&B founder about her journey to becoming an event producer and the importance of mental health.

It's safe to say that Faiza Hersi has caught the attention of many people in the past years.

A story of the path less travelled, this law graduate turned artist manager, restaurant owner, concert producer and philanthropist has her eyes set on the East African music landscape and is ready to usher in R&B music as the next sound to come out of the continent.

Her brand Nairobi R&B has hosted the likes of Masego, KAMAUU and Will Gittens in Nairobi just in the last year, with plans to create similar R&B hubs across Africa. Her work has earned her a South African Star QT award nomination for Best Media Personality and three recent Kenya's Top Women in Business award nominations.

We met with Faiza to discuss her vision of music, connectedness and production of these top tier R&B experiences.

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