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How top gospel musician got back her groove

The Groove Awards best female gospel artiste says she has had to fight many personal battles to get to the top.

And although Loise Njeri Githuku aka Loise Kim has faced storms of life, battled rumours about her personal life and all — her top-charting singles have encouraged many.

She tries hard to fight the ghosts of her past throughout the interview, and she is hesitant when asked about her past marriage and her participation in the 2013 political campaigns.

Her life story revolves around pregnancy in her teenage years, trying her hand at businesses that collapsed and how she finally found her footing in gospel music.

She spoke to Sunday Nation three days after she beat Size 8, Eunice Njeri, Janet Otieno, Evelyne Wanjiru and Lady Bee to be crowned the best gospel artist at the 10th edition of the Groove Awards.

The 42-year-old joins past winners like Emmy Kosgei, Gloria Muliro, Sarah Kiarie and Alice Kamande.

Her win at the Safaricom Indoor Arena in Kasarani came as a surprise to many given that she mostly sings in Kikuyu. She attributes her triumph to her strong fan base that saw her receive the most number of votes cast via SMS.

Receiving her award from Arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, an emotional Loise attributed her win to God.

“As I went to pick my trophy, I remembered that 10 years ago I was a second-hand clothes seller in Gikomba. It shows that God is alive and He is with his people,” she said.

SUCCESS IN LIFE

She says her victory was a “unique manifestation of God”.

From a woman struggling to stay financially afloat in 2005 to living large in 2015, Loise Kim says gospel music is the only investment that ever succeeded in her life.

She got pregnant aged 18 while she was a student at Muslim Girls.

“I was in denial. It is at such a point that you realise the warnings from your parents are real,” said Loise, a first born in a family of six.

She gave birth to her first born son in 1992, a year after she sat her Form Four examinations. Her parents took her to Temple College for a secretarial course, which she didn’t complete. She later enrolled for a computer course.

After college, she tried her hand in entrepreneurship and her first venture was selling second hand clothes.

“A few months into the business at Kangemi market in 1998, my stock was destroyed in a fire incident and I was back to zero. I later secured a stall at the Gikomba market,” she said.

She also had a go at matatu business but would later sell her two 14-seater vans because “they were a headache to manage”.

She also tried her hand at women’s saving schemes that gave out loans. One of them, she says, went under with her Sh350,000 savings.

FIRST ALBUM

She was married between 1995 and 2000, but was unwilling to reveal details of how the marriage ended.

Asked whether she would consider remarrying, she replied: “I am still thinking about it. I don’t know what I want.”

Her music career started in 2006 when her uncle Daniel Gichuhi, also a singer, sponsored the recording of her first album.

“It is my uncle who scouted my talent and introduced me to producer James Wanyoike,” she said.

Her first time in a recording studio was in March 2006, when she recorded her first album Ndi Ihenya-ine (I’m in a race to the finish line), which had songs like Wi Mutheru (You are holy) and Mujiari (God bless you parents).

The songs would become a hit and soon received plenty of airplay from local FM stations.

“Afterwards, it was like the doors to my problems were closed and my life was transformed,” she recalls.

She has eight albums to her name, the latest being Queen that she says she spent over Sh500,000 to produce.

In her music career, one of the worst rumours she has faced is that she had tried to take her life because of problems in her marriage.

MUSIC RIVAL

“The rumour spread when my former husband was returning from Britain, and I was becoming a household name in the gospel industry.

“A fellow singer came to me saying she had heard reports of me taking rat poison because my husband had left me for a white woman. I was shocked because he had not even returned to Kenya,” she said.

She says she later came to learn that the rumour was started by her music rivals. She would also plunge into a controversy over a male politician for whom she was campaigning for a few years ago.

“The problem with being a female artiste is that, when people see you working they conclude that you are having an affair. But I have put that behind me now,” she says.

“There are just so many things you hear out there when one is a public figure. That sometimes makes one become very lonely. There are moments I get lonely; very lonely.”

She says she cannot turn down an offer to participate in a political campaign if she is happy with the deal.

“I can’t turn down work because I have children to feed and bills to pay,” she said.

“When I am part of someone’s campaign team, I don’t go singing anyone’s music but mine. I go as the Loise Kim brand.”

When not doing music, Loise spends her time attending to her two children and helping needy children and elders through the Loise Kim Foundation.