Kanda Junior: Dancing is the love of my life
Lingala music has gained popularity in the country with Congolese artistes making a kill from their performances. Artistes such as Kanda Bongoman and Fally Ipupa are just some of the names that are common to lingala fans.
In Kenya, there is one name that is associated with this kind of music. Kanda Junior aka Anthony Ndirangu. He is one of the few Kenyans who have mastered his skills to the extent of being mistaken for being Congolese.
His small body, blonde hair and pierced ears are some of the features that hide his true identity. He talked to NairobiNews about his journey as a singer and a dancer.
Please explain your transition from Anthony Ndirangu to Kanda Junior?
It was a transition I made with the help of many people; my father who was my biggest mentor and Kanda King, who was his friend. My dad was an acrobat and being around him meant I was always around music.
That is how I developed my love for it and I remember dancing on tables when I was as young as five years old. Only after I met Kanda King did I start focusing on lingala.
He taught me everything from the dance moves to singing in the lingala language and that is when I started calling myself Kanda Junior since he is the one who built the foundation of my career.
Do people always assume you are from DRC?
All the time! I am a Kikuyu born in Nyahururu but people do not see the Kikuyu in me. Sometimes my Kikuyu fans discuss me in the language thinking I can’t understand what they are saying. This shows how good I am at what I do, that I am able to morph into something without anyone telling the difference.
Did you anticipate the kind of success you have right now, at only 25 years of age?
I did. This is because I learnt from the best in the industry, and also because of the passion I have for it. I believe that if you love what you are doing then there is nothing to stop you from being victorious.
What do you do to make sure that you remain fresh to your audience?
It is not easy because fans always want something new and fresh or else you lose them to your competitors. I have learned that to please them I must put them first and listen to their criticism or praise after a show.
What else do you do apart from dancing?
I live and breathe dancing. It is what puts food on my table. I don’t do anything to supplement my dance income. I would like to do a marketing course in the future since I already have a diploma in mass communication. I believe that with marketing skills I can promote myself both locally and internationally.
Any challenges so far?
Well only one; being undermined by some artistes just because I am a dancer. But what they should know is that this is a job to me and they should not judge any dancer because if we are able to eat and dress from it, why the discrimination?
If your father were here right now what would you say to him?
Thank you for being there for me and seeing my future even before I knew right from wrong. You are the reason that I am who I am now and I never would have made it without your guidance.