SANAIPEI TANDE : THE SONG WRITER WITH A DIFFERENCE
SANAIPEI TANDE: THE SONG WRITER WITH A DIFFERENCE
Majority of Kenyans know her as a singer, song writer, actress, and karaoke host and radio personality.Sanaipei Tande popularly known as ‘Sana’ rose into the limelight with her hit song ‘Najuta’
Nitamwambia aje eti kuwa mimi nampeza…
Nitamweleza aje eti bila yeye na ugua
Nitamwonyesha aje kuwa eti roho yangu y aumia…
Kuachana naye mimi najuta…
This chorus ruled and reigned in local radio stations in Kenya in 2014 from the voice of a female artist born and raised in Mombasa Likoni area.
Sanaipei touched the hearts of many Kenya music lovers as her music was loaded with a message that touches on openness on relationships and forgiveness.
From her debut song, she is not afraid to speak her mind.
During her tender age, Sanaipei lived in Mombasa with her family before moving to Nairobi at the age of 11 years.
Sanapei used to stand at a coffee table as a stage to sing to Mariah Carey tunes, who she says influenced her in the way of singing.
She started her primary education at Loreto Convent in Mombasa before joining St. Lucy Kiriri Girls School in Nairobi as well us Mama Ngina Girls and later Aga Khan High school in Mombasa.
When we were set for the interview she immediately started a friendly conversation and I felt like I was a long lost friend, how she was awake until 2 am, for the shooting of the new Swahili AZIZA series.
She was quick to excuse herself for her husky voice saying she had spent half the night shooting.
To date she is a big fun of the late American rapper and actor - Tupac Amaru Shakur - considered by many to be one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time.
She says Marshall Bruce Mathers, professionally known as Eminem is however her mentor in her style of writing music on how she break down words into music it was much inspired by him.
‘And the fact that Eminem has overcome drug addiction everything is possible in life ’. She added.
According to Sanapei the way she got into music almost by accident. It was a routine for her to sing in the car as they went to church with her mother. She eventually made the school choir.
‘I knew I could sing but it wasn’t something I took seriously.’
Her elder brother encouraged her to enroll for the Pop Idols Audition, but Sanaipei says she felt too shy and skipped the event.
’’ I remember the day my brother came home and told me about the auditions and asked me to try, but I decided to go to the city center until late in the evening as an excuse to evade the event’’, she added.
The big brother was on her case again when the Coca-cola Pop Stars came up in 2004, only that his approach was different this time. He informed their parents about the Coca-Cola pop stars competition and stated that he would like Sanapei to register as a participant.
It was at this juncture that Sanapei agreed to join the audition. She went to the auditions carrying her college uniform (Kenya Medical Training where she was a pharmacy student) with the hope of attending her classes thereafter.
‘I stood in the queue thinking after the auditions I should rush and get back to my double biology class’ she added.
When the results were announced, she emerged the winner to her surprise and made it through to the finals in South Africa for a period of two months. Her classes had to be on hold.
“Coca-Cola pop star was a good and tough experience’’, she said during the interview beaming with joy.
Later she teamed up with friends to form a singing group of three called SEMA. This comprised Sanaipei , Kevin Waweru and Pamela Waithaka.
They released four songs; Letawimbo, Leo , and a 17 track song album. After a month of the release of the album the group split.
From then Sanaipei decided to pursue a solo career.
In 2007 she went to Capital FM studios for a job interview. A new magazine had been launched.
Mr. Chris Kirubi, the proprietor of the media house, saw her and requested her to join his growing radio team. She seized the opportunity. She used to sit in with Eve D’ Souza one of Kenya’s most prolific showbiz personalities during her radio show at Capital FM.
‘I was trained for three months, hoping I will be employed after words I was told I didn’t sound like a Capital FM presenter ‘’. She added.
A month later she received a call from Shafi Weru, a radio presenter at Nairobi’s Kiss 100 asking her if she was still interested in working for radio. She said yes and went in for a Saturday show called “keep it Kenyan.’’
At Kiss FM she was trained by Caroline Mutoko also a radio presenter and the then Marketing Manager with Radio Africa Group. She trained her in live show broadcasting and many more.
‘’She used to handle so many things a microphone on this side mixer, mouse at the same time talking, and I used to question myself how I can handle all this, ‘’. She added.
And later another colleague by the name Angela trained her on how to record links, calls and editing. One day after reporting to work she was surprised to be told she will be doing the show alone in the studio.
" I have never panicked so much in my life. I started sweating. I was so used doing the show with Angela.”
She added, during her show Sanaipei accidently cursed the radio while on air and she thought she would be fired.
Her boss summoned her to the office and told her she had been hired officially as a radio presenter. She narrated to her how some presenters had moments on radio where they made mistakes. Some presenters, she said, had forgotten to switch off the microphone while on mobile phones talking personal things.
“… and its okay that means you are natural,’ she was told.
That marked the beginning of her career as a radio presenter in 2007 up until 2012 when she resigned.
She then joined Easy FM where she worked until 2015 before she was retrenched alongside the other staff members.