Emmy Kosgei Madubuko’s appearance in ways leaves a lasting impression moment you come across her. Firstly, her diction is delightful and typical of East African flavour. Secondly, her shade of good looks is a million times stunning more than just being an African beauty. Thirdly, the renowned gospel music diva is endowed with mellifluous voice that often captivates her audience so much that leaves one angling for more, which no other person can tell better than her husband, Nigerian Apostle Anselm Madubuko of the Revival Assembly Church, whom she met in her country during a yearly gospel music concert. With many great awards to show for it, Emmy has graced many platforms in and outside the continent and contributing immensely to humanity through her craft. The proud Kenyan ambassador talks about her music, her peace project, life since moving to Nigeria and as a pastor’s wife in this encounter with Ferdinand Ekechukwu
You have often described yourself as a ‘village girl’. Why?
It’s majorly because of my upbringing. My upbringing has molded the person I am today in terms of character, career in music, what I do and singing in vernacular. And then appreciating my roots, you know my cultural values and what I believe that being a village girl having up grown from my village, there are attributes and there are things that have highly contributed to who I am today. My home village is called Baringo. Baringo is in Kenya. I come from the county of the athletes. And then being in that environment, made me appreciate so many things, so appreciating and embracing it has made me value, and I think molded my perspectives towards life and issues.
What has the experience been like since moving to Nigeria?
It’s amazing. Nigeria is a whole different kind of setup; culture, lifestyle. Our own lifestyle back in Kenya is so laid back and quiet. So, coming here is just experiencing a new culture, everything. But I’m enjoying it. I enjoy the variety of foods, music and how Nigerians uphold themselves, their aggressiveness, the need to work harder, the need to just go an extra mile, that energy that comes with it. Many people misunderstand Nigerians for their energy and maybe their attitude to life. But coming here has really made me understand that it’s for a reason. And it’s actually a very good aspect of every human being you must have a little percentage of Nigerian spirit.
You are a renowned gospel artiste. Take us through your musical journey?
Yeah I’m a gospel artiste. I started my music career 16 years ago. I’m pastors’ kid; my dad is a bishop, my mum is a reverend. I have been brought up in a Christian home. So music has been part of my life since my upbringing. But getting into professional kind of recording came many years later and I have ventured into African themes like afro-fusion kind of music part of gospel. In where I come from, it was a step of faith for one to sing in vernacular. And too, to sing from where I come from at a season where our country was going through very heavy clashes and during election periods, so tribalism was a major, major issue for all these differences. So, singing in vernacular was almost something … I dared. It wasn’t easy and I knew it was going to be hard. But I think I believe that if God has used my music to build bridges, to bring communities together and then having served for 15 years plus, I have come to realise that African music is very rich, is very unique, is the most sought after sound now in the world. And then from my country, singing this kind of music has given me a platform to build a pride for our heritage. I have done that for many years now. Because most of my fans don’t even understand what I sing (language wise) but they loved it. That tells you it has really played a major role to what I am today. It’s also through music that I met my husband (laughs out loud). It’s on that platform that I got invited to Nigeria to minister and when I sang in Azusa I was invited four years later. I was invited to Nigeria to sing in Azusa Conference that’s in our church way before I got married five years later. Music, you see, has introduced me to many platforms. I have met so many great people. I have worked with very, very dignified people.
Your career paths have crossed with a lot of great people across continents. How impactful has that been to your music?
It’s impactful for one it shows me that I’m doing something great. Two, I have learnt that it’s good to be different and to be unique. Maintain that, and then excellence. And then believe in God. God is the giver of all these platforms. If I look back and I have seen what I have done I never even thought it would happen like that. But I think it attributes to God. And then put in work to be able to bring out that African sound to the world.
Tell us what are you currently working on at the moment? An album… singles…
I think that’s one of the biggest challenges that I would say. I have not been able to release an album because my calendar is so tight and every time I am thinking ‘okay this is the season’, my other programmes just come up that I must attend to. But I have been working on singles, that I have already finished with now. I have compiled the project it’s remaining like two videos or three that I must do before March next year which is when I want to release my sixth album. This album is unique because it’s in that season that I moved to Nigeria trying to adjust to Nigerian market at the same time maintained my Kenyan and global market. So I have very interesting songs in the air that I have collaborated with artistes in Kenya and then in West Africa. I have done a song with Sinach that is yet to come out. I have done a song with Mercy Chinwo that is coming out probably January or February next year. We have already recorded, they are in mixing stage. I also did a song Taai. Taai is the title of this album. Taai is my dialect meaning moving forward. This album has some touch of Igbo, pidgin and then I introduce some artiste from this part of the world so I’m so looking forward to it. Then I did a song with Onos that I released early this year titled Champion. Champion is an upbeat song. It’s a groovy song I recorded with a Nigerian producer. It’s a celebration song. It’s about the African story of our champions. I sang it in English and a little bit of my dialect. It talks about champions.
Your album is coming out next year March, which you said was about the same time you moved to Nigeria. Is it a sort of anniversary piece?
You just highlighted though it wasn’t on my mind. Okay I was just looking for time and I thought 2020 will be a proper year to do that and then 2020 I’m turning 40! Yeah I think to some extent, I would have stayed in my marriage more than five years. And then 2020 my PAMOJA Peace Project I have been doing for nine years now. It’s a project that I pioneered in Kenya. We do annual concerts to bring people from all walks of life. It’s a free concert to just appreciate diversity. We have pulled up to 40,000 people. And being the host of this project I’m really proud of it because we have done for nine years none stop. So, 2020, we will be 10years of pushing for peace. So it’s a major year for me. I think it’s a great year for me. So I would start off with the album because my fans have given me serious pressure.
Recall for us your most memorable musical performance experience?
I have had amazing experiences. One was when I was invited to do Master Peace Concert in Netherlands. They compiled musicians from all over the world from very farther places. I was so privileged to have been selected from the east Africa with another lady and we picked a song and then went ahead and rehearsed it. It was almost like a hundred orchestra playing my song I don’t know how they arranged it, fantastic. We sang at Zigodom, which is one of the biggest concert halls in that part of the world where big musicians do their concerts its over 50,000 sold out fully whites and we were doing African songs. Amazing! So that was one of the most memorable moments in my life.
Emmy wears many hats and juggles them accordingly. How do you manage all?
It’s a very interesting question that I often asked myself. When I got married and relocated to Nigeria that first year, I got appointed by the Kenya government as National Global Tourism and Culture Ambassador for Kenya. That means I was working on projects in Kenya and internationally for my country which I have been doing till date. I am married to one of the prominent preachers in this part of the world and globally. When I got here, he has a huge ministry which now I’m the first lady and I serve there as a pastor. There are rules that I must fulfill also in the ministry in different platforms. I have charities; I have a school in Kenya, I educate over 79 kids. I know that for sure everything that has happened in my life has been orchestrated by God. For a reason he has given me the grace and the strength, the wisdom and the ability to balance all of them and be able to be effective and productive at the same time.
Your status changed following your marriage to a minister of God. What personality difference exists between Emmy the gospel artiste and Emmy the First Lady Revival Assembly Church?
There is a huge difference. You know when you are just an artiste, there’s a perception, there’s a lifestyle, there’s how people take you, there’s how you behave you know. But being in this platform, in this state, it’s a whole platform with so many things that comes with it, it has changed a lot of things. You know music is just fans, yourself, God, like that. Now it is somebody, it’s a ministry, his followers and my followers and all that. So it has changed a lot of things about me. I think being responsible, being cautiously about my moves, about what I say, about what I do, I think my lifestyle has changed to some extent now I tie ‘gele’ (laughs). I have had to intentionally work my way in to be able to have his people that love him. So to be able to fit in there since I got married to him, my prayer life has changed. My spiritual level has actually gone up in a very big way. I have also grown mentally, socially, everything. I have gain new fan base, new friends, and new people. To be called a mother in a church that I have people that are even older than me is a privilege. It’s a blessing to have all that people look up to me to sometimes speak to them, to counsel them or preach to them you know or lead them so it’s a privilege. . . I think it’s a step that I took that I don’t regret about it. I look back and I appreciate and I’m actually happy that I said yes to him.
It’s interesting to note that your husband is your second romantic relationship ever. What do you love about him and how do you show love to him?
Okay I dated before. I was dating somebody in Kenya for about three years that was my first relationship. Then we broke up, I walked out. There were one, two, three things that were not okay with me and being a public figure, my most fond business is children, family base, my music is family base. I’m somebody that is really respected by my audience in Kenya and all over. So there are things that didn’t match what I stand for and when I got to know it, I just thought it’s not okay. So I waked out of it. And then I had stayed for a year, I was not dating, nothing. I just concentrated on ministering. When I was dating for those three years is when I went to sing in an event that Apostle has been going there for many years in Kenya. It was his nineth year of going there, it was my first. That’s how he got to see me. So he invited me because the music we did he said he has never heard gospel music, African music in that dimension. So he invited us to Lagos to our church now to do Azusa Conference and we came here like four years continuously. I was dating then and he was married. So there was no relationship any kind of. When I left my relationship for that one year, he was still married. So when his late wife passed on I was single.
But it was part coincidence, I don’t know maybe a good coincidence, I don’t know. But it was that a year later or whatever after his wife passed on he was single again. And you see the reason why I opposed for almost three months was because I could not connect the two. One, I respected him, I used to see him, I know him. He’s somebody that I could not even say ‘hello’, like that you know. And having been to Revival Assembly for close to four years before she passed on and I have met her but we were not close but I had met her so to reconcile all those things was much for me. But I am happy that I said yes (laughing). I love him. He is a humble man, he loves God. I think nothing beats a man or a woman that loves God. If you are privileged to be connected to such a person, it is a blessing. So he loves God, he’s very humble, he’s a simple man, he’s big. I have travelled with him to Europe and places where he goes to preach and huge numbers I mean I have not seen something like that. I asked him how do you remain humble and simple and be the pastor who you are without blowing anything up. Simplicity is his life style. And I have gone with him to a lot of places. I love him for that, that he is not proud at all. He believes in African value but he has loved me, respects me even at my age and then supported me. I have seen his heart that he truly loves me. He told me ‘even if you say no to me, I will still like you. You know why I think you are a good person’. So he loves me for it and then I´m his queen. So I love him for everything. He reflects everything any part of me would need in my man.