Lydia Ndwiga is a Kenyan singer, performer, voice coach, life mentor, music teacher, and a gospel minister. She has worked with dozens of singers as a voice coach including two of Kenya’s current high-flyers Sauti Sol and Nyashinski.
She talked with Pulse magazine about the Kenyan gospel industry, voice coaching in Kenya as a career, and more.
This being the ego industry, are stars easy to work with?
Yes, they are. However, their schedules are not easy to work with. We may schedule for a class but they get called for a concert. Sometimes this happens (at the) last minute. So one’s patience levels need to be at?100 percent.
Who are some of the known names that have learnt while seated at your humble feet?
I have coached Wahu as well as Nyashinski and Sauti Sol for their Live and Die in Africa album launch. I have also coached Elani, The Band Beca, Bahati, Pascal Tokodi and Nasizu Múrúme from Meru.
Those are big names right there; do you get awestruck?
No. I thought I would when I was hoping to meet them, but when I did, I was more awed by how they made it. Their stories are an encouragement.
Other than coaching, what other projects have you been on?
I have done background vocals for Coming Home, Inspire Me and Oh Why, Nyashinski’s Mungu Pekee, Sauti Sol’s Kuliko Jana and Dollar Dollar, and Size 8’s Afadhali Yesu. I also lent my vocals on a song with Maximum Melodies.
There are not many voice coaches of note in Kenya…
Yes, there are not as many that I know of. Most trained musicians are either teaching theory or playing instruments. Plus, many singers are not aware that having a voice coach is vital for their careers. Hence, the demand for us is not as high.
Do you make a living from this?
That is what’s paying my bills at the moment. I would love to do it as a charity since there are so many guys out there who are passionate about sounding better but cannot afford the classes. So I sometimes find myself doing a few free classes at my own time or I offer to mentor some singers.
What is the highlight of your music journey so far?
Coming out as a solo artiste and doing ministry. I had always wanted to share my heart with the world, but somehow that didn’t happen until recently. The day I released my debut single, Monday to Monday, remains my happiest day in music.
As a born-again Christian, how do you balance between the ministry and coaching gospel artistes, some with questionable characters?
One thing I do is ministry. Ministry is about making disciples for Jesus. So I will make sure that apart from singing better than they did before, they will also have gained some pointers in life. With that, I will not see a questionable character. I will seek to teach everyone the ways of God. Truth be told, I am not perfect either. I am learning to be a better Christian.
Very diplomatic. Still, if you had a chance to change something in the gospel industry, what would it be?
That every gospel artiste will seek God in truth and in spirit. That we seek after God’s perfection and read and fully study his word. Also, we need to stop seeing a money-mint in the industry. That it no longer be seen as an industry, but a ministry.
You are working on a debut album…
Yes; it might be two albums in one… (Winks) and will feature productions by Yo Alex and Saint P, with visuals from Davy Barbz of Qwetu Elements. The album is mainly about my walk with God and I can’t wait to share once it’s done.
You are also a CEO
Yes. Of Dynasty Music, a one-stop shop for everything music. It is a company that we started with my fellow CEO and co-founder, Moses Karanja.
What’s your relationship status?
Jesus is my first…then he brought me someone that stole my heart and gets me blushing whenever I am asked about him. I also have a strong relationship with my parents and my three beautiful sisters.
I am the Master’s servant.