There’s a certain level of control artists try to maintain over their identity and music – for Pety Nila, this meant relying on her intuition to guide her into the right spaces.
Kenya is known for being one of the countries where artists are born, among those is the talented singer and songwriter, Pety Nila. Petronila Stephen known by her stage name, ‘Pety Nila’ was born and raised in Kitui county where she developed a passion for music at a young age. She started singing, performing, and dancing at primary school, Sunday school, and community events.
She is a mother of 4 and married in Germany where she has received professional voice training, creating for herself a very broad and electric selection of songs ranging from classical Italian love songs to opera arias to pop songs and spirituals.
Today Plugged had an exclusive Interview with Pety Nila, a fast-rising Germany-based Kenyan artist who is making waves on radio and tv stations with her latest release ‘Unanidai’ which was released a month ago.
In this interview, Pety Nila talks about her music career and her latest release Unanidai which is her 14th single since she started releasing music.
QUESTION: Kindly Introduce yourself who is Pety Nila?
PETY NILA: Pety Nila is a Kenyan singer, living in Germany. I have loved singing my whole life. I love to perform for other people.
QUESTION: Tell us about how you got started as an artist. Do you remember when you discovered that you could sing?
PETY NILA: Quite a while ago, when I was a kid, I loved to sing. Later I took lessons with a well-known classical singer in Germany who trained me for several years.
QUESTION: What story are you trying to convey as a new artist? What makes you unique?
PETY NILA: I think Music is a connecting, a unifying power. I like songs with meaning, with honesty and I LOVE many styles of music, modern, pop and I also sing old Italian love songs.
QUESTION: When you decide it’s time to make a new record, is that more exciting or stressful?
PETY NILA: If you want to make a hit song, a good song, many people and many things have to come together to make it happen. Of course, it is an intense experience, but also very exciting, joyful, and often quite funny.
QUESTION: For our readers who have never heard of your music, explain your sound in 5 words?
PETY NILA: Beautiful, honest, strong, loving, heartfelt
QUESTION: When you’re making art and something doesn’t work, do you stay open, and reassess and re-approach?
PETY NILA: Of course, making art is a creative process where other people are involved as well. But at some point, in this process I know beyond any doubt when a song is ready, is perfect, is right-on.
QUESTION: You’re so raw and real in your music and on social media. What gives you the confidence to be that vulnerable with fans and the whole world?
PETY NILA: I know who I am. I know what I want, and I make music for people to feel understood and supported by what I sing.
QUESTION: When in the studio, on average, how long is the process for you to complete a song?
PETY NILA: 2 to 4 hours
QUESTION: With the present-day industry so focused on just creating an instant hit, do you feel that there is still a need for artist development?
PETY NILA: Of course, there is that need. Otherwise, music can be produced solely by a computer. I am a human being singing for human beings. So, my own evolution keeps my music fresh.
QUESTION: Is there a song that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?
PETY NILA: My songs are like my children. I love them equally, the first one, Holiday, as much as the last one, Unanidai.
QUESTION: What can you tell us about your new song “Unanidai”?
PETY NILA: The story behind the song is about a woman who is enjoying her life. A man appears, offers to buy her something to drink little did she know that the man wanted something in return. She narrates her story. She has paid her rent, she doesn’t have any debt to anyone. Despite of that, people still keep on bad-mouthing her. She is tired of all that nonsense and declares herself as “Boss Matata”.
Women often have been victims because they can’t defend themselves. It’s a wake-up call for both genders to treat each other with respect. We should respect each other’s boundaries. We can offer people something without expectations.
Let’s enjoy life.
She believes in herself, she enjoys her life, she has freedom.
QUESTION: Do you think you’d ever pursue musicals or being in movies? When you think of evolving as an artist and taking your career to the next level, what do you see?
PETY NILA: I am an artist, so I have to be open to what is happening. This is a process. I like singing but also performing. And performing has many aspects, of course, movies and musicals as well.
QUESTION: How has your creative process changed or evolved as we’ve ebbed and flowed from total lockdown to reentering the world?
PETY NILA: Not really. Several performances were canceled, of course, which I did regret. But my creative process has not been interrupted as not every country went into total lockdown.
QUESTION: What other ways did you see yourself creatively elevate or change during the lockdown?
PETY NILA: I was able to create and produce several great hit songs, so my career has actually been sped up during this time now.
QUESTION: How’s the music scene in your locale?
PETY NILA: Somehow different. Artists are supported by the government/the public as people here feel art, singing, performing is a major part of human life.
QUESTION: If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist who would it be and why?
PETY NILA: Every artist is unique and I respect their work. You know, I go with the flow.
QUESTION: Who are some of your icons or inspirations musically?
PETY NILA: I like Sia. And like Whitney Houston’s powerful voice. And coming back to Africa I like Otile Brown, I like his work. I am a fan of Diamond.
QUESTION: When you’re not recording and performing, what other hobbies make you tick?
PETY NILA: I have a full life: I have children, little children, we all love to travel and see beautiful places.
QUESTION: How do you balance your music with other obligations?
PETY NILLA: We have a house of music and dance. My family is a singing and dancing family. So it is not so much a question of balance. They LOVE my music.
QUESTION: How do you approach body positivity in general?
PETY NILA: Isn’t the body our vehicle for everything in life? I need my body to perform, so I keep fit and I love the feeling of being alive and I love my African body. Of course!
QUESTION: What’s your motto or the advice you live by?
PETY NILA: Always, always, always think the best of yourself.
QUESTION: Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to sing as a career or just advice about careers in general?
PETY NILA: Believe in yourself! Follow your heart and never, never, never give up!
QUESTION: When your career is finished, what’s the legacy you’d like to leave in the music industry?
PETY NILA: My career is not finished. I never have thoughts like this.
QUESTION: Any last words?
PETY NILA: Visit my YouTube channel, now and enjoy.