#Okay100Women

VANESSA MDEE

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

Vanessa Mdee or "Vee-Money" as she is known by her fans, is an East African pop star, songwriter, television and radio host. She was born in Arusha, Tanzania and has become a continent-wide influencer with over one million Instagram followers.




Within one month of launching her YouTube channel, all of her videos reach at least 1 million views. Although she began in entertainment as a media personality, it wasn’t until the passing of her father that she began to explore her musical options. In 2011, Mdee was invited to sing the anthem to the TUSKER CECAFA Cup. After her performance caught the interest of label execs, she was signed to BHitz Music Group Team as their first female artist.



Mdee sings over her upbeat dancefloor hits in both Swahili and English. She is best known for being the first Tanzanian MTV VJ, and the first female artist to have her first hit single,

"Closer", on the charts for over 13 weeks.

In October 2016, Mdee graced the stage in NYC as one of the openers at the Sauti Sol show presented by OkayAfrica at the Highline Ballroom.



-MB

Interview

Amadou & Mariam Forever

We talk to the legendary Malian duo about their rich past, songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities.

Amadou & Mariam don't require an introduction.

The couple has been making Afro-blues music for over 35 years, drawing inspiration from their home of Mali, for over 35 years.

Their 1999 albumSou Ni Tilé sold 100,000 copies. In 2005, their album Dimanche à Bamako won the French Victoire de la Musique prize for Best World Music Album of the year and the BBC Radio 3 Award for Africa. It also went platinum in France after selling over 300,000 copies. The duo have performed with U2, Coldplay, Blur and many others.

We caught up with them below for a conversation about their rich past, their songwriting process and their advice for young African artists with disabilities, ahead of the duo's performance at the upcoming London Jazz Festival 2021.

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