East Africa Today: An interview with Vanessa Mdee
In episode 11, East Africa Today visits the Clouds Entertainment studios and offices of 102.5 Choice FM to speak with Ms. Vanessa Mdee, host of 'The Hitlist' on Choice FM that runs every weekday from 7 to 10pm. She is also a presenter on MTV Base. Ms. Mdee joins us on the podcast after a rollercoaster few weeks that include releasing her new single 'Closer.' She speaks to us about the challenges of entering the music industry in East Africa and how she strikes the balance of promoting local artists while simultaneously meeting the demands of her listeners who usually want to hear music from beyond the region. In the podcast we explore Ms. Mdee's thoughts on East Africa's music identity and as she discusses her experiences as a UNAIDS Youth Ambassador we question whether or not Africa has become more complacent in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Ms. Mdee made her debut appearance onto Africa's entertainment stage in 2007 when she won the MTV Base video jockey (VJ) search at the age of 19. She was Tanzania's first VJ. Her continental presence also translated to the national airwaves when she joined 102.5 Choice FM as a radio host of 'The Hitlist.' Ms. Mdee is very active in promoting key issues affecting the youth in Tanzania and Africa. In 2008, she worked with the Staying Alive Foundation, where she was able to visit the Uwanja wa Fisi with American singer and artist Ms. Kelly Rowland. She has remained engaged with youth groups in promoting positive change through music, dance and skits. Other projects that Ms. Mdee was involved in include the Z!nduka Campaign promoted by Malaria No More (MNM), an organization that is dedicated to ending malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. Your East Africa Today host also had a run in with Malaria No More a long time ago.
As a UNAIDS Youth Ambassador, Ms. Mdee is highly involved in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS. She writes extensively about issues relating to HIV/AIDS on her blog 'Dynamite's Mission.' Ms. Mdee was MTV's voice at the 2011 UNAIDS Mali Youth Summit that sought to revolutionize the AIDS response.
No matter what she does Ms. Mdee has been described as an astute student of music and someone who is armed with the confidence of a veteran.
You can follow Ms. Mdee on Twitter: @vanessamdee
Photo: Vanessa Mdee (via Bongo5)