Nairobi News

LifeMust ReadNewsWhat's Hot

Avril: The evolution of a music icon and entrepreneur

Judith Nyambura, better known as Avril, has been a prominent figure in the music industry for almost 20 years. She is also an actress best known for her role as Miss B’Have in Shuga: Love, Sex, Money.

Formerly signed to Ogopa Deejays, one of Kenya’s leading music production and record labels, Avril captivated audiences with singles such as Mama, Kitu Kimoja, Chokoza and Hakuna Yule.

The mother of one studied design at the University of Nairobi but shifted her focus to music in her second year when she recorded her debut single, Mama.

1. When did you discover your talent for acting and how did the film industry receive you?
I stumbled into acting. Many years ago, the producers of Shuga were in Kenya doing auditions and my songs were topping the charts at the time. I approached them and asked if I could have my music in it. MTV’s Staying Alive show was a hit at the time and my dream was to have one of my songs on MTV. I went to the audition just to market my music, but as I was auditioning the producer said there was a musician character in the script and asked if I would like to audition for it. I did and got the part! That was my entry into acting.

Songbird Avril.
Songbird Avril. PHOTO| POOL

2. You have been away from the music scene for a while, what have you been up to?
I have been taking a backseat because of my company (My Everything) and other things I am focusing on right now. It is like my little baby. I am nurturing it, so I have to give it a lot of attention. My Everything is an organic cosmetics company that I started a few years ago. I started the company after facing challenges with acne and many other skin conditions. When I started learning about skin care, I became fascinated and decided to explore the field. So far so good.

Singer Avril launches new beauty products. PHOTO: COURTESY

3. How has motherhood affected your career? Why don’t you post pictures of your child online?
My son just turned six and motherhood is a very interesting balancing act. It is not easy. As a mother you are in charge of life and you are responsible for how the child will turn out and how they will relate to other people. And there is no manual, so you have to learn on the job. My son does not like the limelight and even if you take a picture he will tell you not to post it on social media. I also don’t want to have a conversation after 18 years where my child asks me why I put his pictures online. I want that to be his decision. That doesn’t mean he’s not on social media, he’s watching things on YouTube shorts and TikTok and he’s living a full life the way he wants to. I would like him to enjoy his childhood like a normal kid. If he wants to be in the limelight, I will support him in any way I can.

Singer Avril with her five-month -old son. PHOTO | COURTESY

4. What achievements are you most proud of?

I am surprised by the things I have done in my music career. I have performed as far as Lodwar, Nigeria and India. I have had such an amazing journey to be honest. I get emotional thinking about the things I have been able to do, the people I have met, the doors I have been able to open for myself and other people. Life has been beautiful and I love every bit of it. I have chosen this path and it has brought so much joy into my life right now and every experience has been so valuable in my life. I would like to be remembered as a resilient person. When you are resilient, you know what you want in your life and so you have the discipline to stick to it.

Singer Avril Nyambura. PHOTO| COURTESY

5. What did you study at school and how do you ensure your brand stays relevant?
I have a degree in product design from the University of Nairobi. I use it every day in my career as a musician and also for my business. You have to learn how to build your business and how to take your brand to the next level. I thank my parents for educating me because it is the most expensive thing you can give your child. I stay relevant by constantly rebranding. I tell the younger generation to always look at trends, technology and what is happening in the industry they are in. Don’t get too comfortable. Always know that there is someone out there trying to take the place you are occupying. If you are not constantly learning and re-learning the industry, you could end up fading away. For example, right now there is TikTok, do you have the app? We are in the age of AI, are you looking at how to apply it in your industry? It is always a game of evolution and you have to keep evolving.

Kenyan singer Judith Nyambura who is popularly known as Avril. PHOTO | SYLVANIA AMBANI

Read more