Today on Mics and Beats we feature Linda Band. Linda is a Kenyan all-girl group composed of three vocally gifted queens with the ability to entertain and wow the crowd. The three ladies, Raych, Beryl and Alexis began their journey on the 1st of January 2017. Since the birth of the group, they have released 5 cover videos and 1 original song.
Derived from Swahili to preserve or protect, German for soft or tender, Spanish and Portuguese for beautiful, Linda seeks to represent all these aspects. Aside from their uniqueness in being a modern day En Vogue all-girl band, these ladies who have been in the industry for over 6 months now are a real force to reckon with in the Kenyan music industry.
What amazes me most about them is the fact they are not just singers, but they are also exploring different public speaking avenues as they intend to be social transformers and motivational thought leaders in the society.
Some of their most known songs are Penzi Tamu, Changamsha and Bahari Iwe Kavu, all of which blow you away with some of the sensual words picked from the symphonies. Their songs live to tell of a generation that did not shy away from exposing their hearts to them. We were able to catch up with them as they told us more about how their music aims to continue delivering authentic and heartfelt music to the industry.
When and why did you start playing/singing? Which instruments do you play?
Raych – I started singing at a very young age in church and I would participate in talent shows, music festivals etc. I started singing professionally in 2010 when I started writing my own music. I play a little bit of piano but I am still learning. I am also learning how to play the guitar.
Beryl – I also started singing when I was very young. I participated in music festivals and talent shows, then I got deeper into it in high school where I started writing songs.
Alexis – I started singing at a young age in church and at school. After high school I started writing my own songs too and I was also doing BGVs for artists like Cece Sagini.
Do you have a formal musical education?
Individually we do not, but when we came together as LINDA, we underwent vocal training at Sauti Academy that really helped us blend our voices.
Thinking back to early childhood what was your first experience with music for the first time like. What song do you remember most as a child?
Beryl – For me it was when I sang in front of the school parade. I had super crazy stage fright, but I got used to it.
Raych – I first sung in church and it got me so scared because it was the first time I had performed in front of such a crowd. It was a huge church. I actually cried after.
Alexis – My first time was kind of exciting. I was very young, like 6 years old I think. It was in church and having people appreciate and love it was super exciting for me.
What musical influences did you have a child?
Alexis – I grew up listening to music that my mom and aunties were listening to, the likes of Gidi Gidi Maji Maji, a lot of soul, RnB and blues.
Beryl – My mom was crazy about soul and my relatives listened to a lot of rhumba and lingala. I naturally loved ol’skool rap and hip hop so I am still stuck on that.
Raych – My Dad loved country music so I grew up listening to Dolly Parton, she was actually my first music role model. My brother introduced me to soul, RnB, and reggae whereas my sister introduced me to rock music.
How is the music different from what you listen to now?
Back then music had so much feeling and there was a lot of originality. These days music sounds so much alike and it has sort of lost the feeling we look for.
Our music is heartfelt and passionate and in all honesty, most music produced these days isn’t. Most songs produced nowadays are just for the fame, money and recognition. We aim to produce only quality music for our audience!
What made you first realize that you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Raych – When I sang in high school the hall went silent and everyone was keen to listen to who was singing which was scary at first but then I realized that I was able to make people listen; that’s when I decided to pursue music.
Beryl – Singing is my number one passion. I just realized that I would be better and I would achieve a lot in life by focusing on my passion.
Alexis – When I was a young I loved to sing for people. I actually forced my family members to sit in the living room and listen to me sing. Over the years I have received compliments and encouragement from friends and family and so I felt the need to go for it.
Who are your favorite musicians now? Groups? CD’s?
Oh my! They are very many, but among them are Ella Mai, Dolly Parton, Sanaipei Tande, Melanie Fiona, Emeli Sande, Tiwa Savage, Harmonize, Elani, Jill Scott, Cece Sagini and H_art the band.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
One thing we always tell ourselves is that the show must go on even if there is a hitch during a performance. We are still learning about professional back up techniques in case mistakes occur but so far so good. The most important thing is that we strive not to repeat the mistakes in the subsequent performances
What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Being nervous is okay. It is very natural but for you to explore your potential fully, you must learn how to face your fears and not show your fans that you are nervous.
How often and for how long do you practice?
We have very intense rehearsals and practice 4 days a week. We have developed a work plan for that where we rehearse just the 3 of us, mostly to get perfect harmonies, then we practice with a pianist alone and then we rehearse with our band.
Do you teach music?
Not yet. We are however still learning more aspects of music and we don’t mind sharing what we have so far. We keep noticing great improvements as we keep growing as a group.
How would you describe your music to somebody who has never heard you play before?
Our music is sensual as we focus on Swahili RnB/Soul with a touch of hip hop. We intend to create a nostalgic feeling across generations as we bring back that pure feeling that was experienced in ol’skool classics in our own language. We are here to protect our heritage/culture which is the Swahili language hence the name LINDA.
What can people expect to see at your live performance?
We promise our fans to bring back that pure feeling backed up by amazing vocals, great stage presence, and a very creative and entertaining set.
Out of the songs you have performed, which is your favorite song?
It’s very difficult to pick a favorite since we put so much heart and soul into our music, but we really loved working on Ushawahi (Hela Hela Hey).
What do you think your biggest break or greatest opportunity has been so far in your musical career?
LINDA is different in the sense that we do not do our music to become celebrities, we do it for the people; we are very interactive with our fan base on our online platforms. However, when we did an opening for Khaligraph at the Alchemist for his event KhaliDay, it was a great success. Many people loved our performance and that gave us a great push.
How much creative control do you have over what you play?
We have an entire professional team behind us from production to legal affairs to branding and packaging who contribute to making the LINDA brand what it is as per our mission, vision and core values. We don’t send our music to media outlets, and for the deejays who we send our music to, we don’t give it to them in 3-piece because our songs are more about the feeling.
If you had a chance to change something in the music industry what would it be?
There’s a lot that we feel needs to change. Mostly, we would change how the society tends to objectify women in the industry such that they end up feeling like they have to dress or dance in certain ways during performances which is very demeaning. We would like music to be about content and quality.
Did you sing or play for other bands before you started your own band? How was it?
We all started and had been solo artists until we met apart from Alexis who was a background vocal artist (BGV) for Cece Sagini and in a band called Urban Bliss. Being an upcoming solo artist with no support is very challenging, you need to be smart and grab opportunities as they come.
What are the lessons you have learnt being part of a band?
Teamwork and communication are very important because now we have to be mindful of each other. There will always be conflicts from time to time but when everyone has the same vision, conflict resolution is easy.
We are all lead vocalists working with a band and we all feel awesome about it. It has built our confidence immensely.
What is your favorite type of music and is it different from what you play now?
Beryl- I love ol’skool Rap/Hiphop and soul which is similar to what we sing now.
Raych- Rnb, House, Trap, Trance, Hip Hop, also similar to our music.
Alexis- Neo-Soul, House, Naija, Rhumba, Hip hop which is slightly different.
What keeps you going as musicians?
Our bond and commitment to each other. We are always there for each other. We are sisters.
Where would you like to see yourself within the next five years as an artist? What are your long term career goals?
We are still putting strategies in place and in 5 years we would like to see LINDA as a fully established brand and a force to reckon with. We intend to do this not only in music but also as great social transformers because we are working towards being thought leaders to motivate and inspire our fans.
If you were to perform with anybody/group in the world, either dead, alive who would it be? (You can name a couple of people)
Gosh! I think we would like to perform with all soul and RnB legends like Chaka Khan, Brandy, Whitney Houston and groups like Destiny’s Child and SWV.
What are your up to date performance plans? New releases? Tours? News
We’ve recently released our second original song called Mayoga on 3rd July. We also had a thrilling performance on the 9th of July at the Cafe Ngoma Social II event that was held at the Safaricom Michael Joseph center.
We’re also preparing for a full live performance because demand has really been building up so we promise our fans something very amazing coming soon. So keep it locked on our social media sites for the big news!