Avril : I love my life


The beat to ‘No Stress’ does not sound like anything you have done before

I wrote the song a long time ago, then shelved it because I didn’t know what to do with it. That beat was in my head and it couldn’t go away. I kept telling people, ‘this song needs an old school and modern vibe to it’. So I went to Cedo at Pacho Records, he visualised it and gave me the track. I knew people would expect something old school in terms of the video, so I twisted it.

What did AY think when he first heard it?

I gave this song to a deejay friend of mine and after listening to it he said, ‘imagine if AY came in with his tongue twisters,’ and I thought that was such a good idea, because when it came to the bridge it was empty. When AY heard it, he didn’t call me for a week. Oh Lord, I was so anxious. It turned out he was a perfect match for the song.

Your image has gradually changed over the years from the girl-next-door to sexy; are you comfortable in that skin and how are you handling the male admirers, or team mafisi on social media?

What has helped me the most when it comes to my image is how I was raised, because every time I do something I know my mom is going to watch it because she is my biggest fan. That’s what has helped me not to make such drastic moves in my branding and image. At the end of the day, I want my brand to appeal to a vast generation. I like to keep it sexy but not too provocative that people will ask, what did she just do?

Does she have a say in what you wear?

No, she doesn’t; she trusts my judgment, and at times she makes fun of it. There was a time I was performing in Nakuru and I passed by her place. She wanted me to get out of the car to see what I was wearing, but I refused. She sees me in the newspapers and she comes for performances and she’s open minded. She’s such a cool mum.

What frustrates you in life as Nyambura?

My expectations of other people; people not giving me what I expect from them. For instance, if I say I’m going to do something, I like to keep my word. So when I don’t see that from people who I feel we are on the same wavelength, I get very disappointed. I don’t like liars and I don’t like unfulfilled promises.

Given a second to be vain, which part of your body do you love the most?

My eyes, because I can play around with them with make-up. I have big eyes and I can dramatise them. If I could change anything about my body though, maybe liposuction (laughs). Of course the first thing would be clearing my acne completely, there are times when my face is clear then at times I wake up in the morning and I have a cluster of things on my face, and it happens before shoots. I don’t understand why, maybe it’s because of stress and pressure.

How many times do you go to the gym?

About three to four times a week; I do my cardio and I tone. If I could change something, it’s this tummy; if I could just have abs from heaven!

Do you have weight issues?

Of course I do; sometimes I wake up and look at my face and I look bloated. When I gain weight, it goes to three places — my face, my derriere and my hips. My first ever interview was here, at the Nation. If you look at those pictures, I didn’t have hips, and then all of a sudden I blew up from nowhere. I’ve been a tomboy all my life but I’ve grown to embrace my femininity and sexuality.

You worked with rapper MI in Coke Studio, who comes off as cheeky. Did he ever hit on you?

MI is such a cool dude. We had the most amazing chemistry and people even comment about it on YouTube. Our chemistry was genuine. In fact, his mom, or is it the dad, is a pastor and my mom is a pastor as well. From that point we just connected. Most of the conversations we had were partly music oriented, but also very personal. That’s why we worked so well together.

On your bad days, what do you binge on?

Funny thing, I don’t have a sweet tooth; my spouse is into ice cream and oreos. Whenever he’s around, he will indulge in them but I never have any interest. My weakness is potato chips and crisps; I like them salted, especially those sold in traffic (laughs). Those are the ones I like.

Why did you stop posting pictures of yourself with your fiancee?

Because people were so snoopy. He would be somewhere by himself and, when people suspect it’s him, they would go to my Instagram page just to confirm. And some would be so loud he would hear them. It irritates him more since he’s not in the limelight, though I’m used to it. I want to respect his privacy.

Doesn’t that put a damper on things when you want to take him to events, or just out?

We have managed to find places where we wouldn’t draw attention; we know where to hide. When I’m going for an event, he comes a little bit later so that people will not give him that much attention.

Have you set a wedding date?

We are still planning. Very many weddings don’t lead to fruitful marriages and that’s the unfortunate bit. I’ve heard people say I’ve taken too much time but those are their opinions. We are learning each other’s cultures and what we are getting ourselves into.

What songs do you listen to when you are feeling mushy?

Can I tell you something funny? I watch television more than I listen to music, so when I feel mushy I watch old romantic movies. But the first song would be ‘He Heals Me’ by Indie.Arie, ‘Don’t Wait’ by Mapei and ‘Always Be My Baby’ by Mariah Carey.

How does a normal day look like for you?

I wake up at 6am or 7am. Weekdays are mostly laid-back and I’ll be working in the studio or doing proposals. The weekends are crazy, because I never really have a schedule. Sometimes I have shows during the day and at night that involve a lot of travelling, performing, sound checks and rehearsals. If I’m shooting, it means I’m on set from 6am to 7pm, and that’s probably the schedule for three months, then all of a sudden I have nothing to do and it’s back to the studio.

Which are some of the endorsement deals you have landed?

Oriflame has been the biggest this year. I have also done Coke Studio, a project with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. I did something with Amref and I was part of the First Lady’s half marathon as an influencer. This year has been quite interesting.