From NKECHI CHIMA, Abuja
Kenyan-born gospel musician, Emmy Kosgei Madubuko, is on the march again. With a career spanning over a decade, the wife of Apostle Anselm Madubuko, General Overseer, Revival Assembly Church, has five albums to her credit, including Sobei Cheiso, which is currently making waves across the globe.
Recently, the Kenyan government named Madubuko as the Global Tourism and Culture Ambassador. She is also an Ambassador of Peace for her numerous contributions to Kenyan culture through music.
In this interview, the gospel singer, who is popularly known as Ololo, opens
up on her career, marriage, and experiences in Nigeria among others. Enjoy:
Your music has touched and inspired many across the globe, how has life been
since you got married to Apostle Anselm Madubuko?
It’s not easy, because it’s entirely a different ball game in Nigeria.
But I believe it’s God’s divine connection.
I am married to a man who understands my music, he respects the people’s love for me and he has always supported me. And he has always given me the platform and opportunity to grow in my career, which has always been my desire.
I am very fortunate to be part of his world as a wife and mother of the church.
Are you saying your husband is not threatened by your fame and he supports
every move you make?
He is not threatened by my fame in music, because he is also a celebrated Apostle of God both locally and internationally.
He is a very kind and supportive man. Knowing that he loves me genuinely gives me reason to stay in love with him.
How did you meet your husband?
We met at one of Kenya’s biggest
conferences. I was invited to sing at the conference, while he delivered sermon and prayed for people. Fortunately, after watching us perform, he invited us for his annual church programme tagged ‘AZUSA’.
I was in the United Kingdom where I was honoured as the Best Kenya Gospel Artiste when his wife
passed on. When the sad event occurred, I sympathised with him.
Thereafter, we became friends since he admired my music. Later, he proposed to me. I had to confirm from God, and today, we are over three years old in marriage.
What was your parents’ reaction after telling them you wanted to marry a Nigerian pastor?
It wasn’t easy for them giving their consent. They thought I might not come home again because of the marriage. But my husband gave them his words to always bring me home, and that being married to him will not deprive me of my responsibilities as an ambassador in Kenya.
How have you been coping with your duties as a pastor’s wife and mother of the church?
(Laughter) It’s not easy for a young lady of my age to be controlling activities as pastor’s wife. I give God all the glory for placing me among members who love and support me. And my biggest duty is to love and support my husband.
How old are you?
You know, women don’t tell their age, but I will oblige you as a woman of God. I am 35-years-old (smiles).
Is your lovely hairstyle your trademark as a musician?
(Laughter) I love wearing short hair. I don’t like sitting for hairdo at the salon, and I don’t like artificial hairs, but natural hairstyle. I have been wearing this for five years now. However, it represents my brand in music. Anywhere I go people easily recognise me with my (short) hair and traditional long gown.
You have a beautiful complexion, how do you keep your skin healthy?
Black is beautiful! I love my dark complexion as a true African woman. You don’t need to tone or bleach your skin because it makes you look older than your age. As a Christian, I don’t drink alcohol, which helps me live a healthy life.
Your husband is a very busy man, how do you cope with his absence from home
Luckily, he takes me along whenever he is travelling to minister. And whenever I am travelling for a concert, he also makes out time to go with me, except if he is engaged.
What has life denied you as a pastor’s wife?
I have always controlled stardom as a gospel artiste in Kenya. Honestly, it’s a huge task. Sometimes, I have to wear sunglasses and cover my hair to almost my face to avoid the crowd. But whenever I am outside Kenya, it’s like a prisoner released from cell. And being the wife of an Apostle is quite different from musical fame, and I am enjoying every bit of it regardless of the cultural differences.
How are you handling the cultural differences in your marriage?
As a lover of African culture, I am trying my best to learn and understand my husband’s language, which is Igbo. And I am learning gradually through Igbo music. I love the way Nigerians praise and worship God. And being close to my husband, a man of prayer, draws me closer to God and I love his humility.
What is your favourite Nigerian food?
I love Jollof rice, and Egusi soup (laughter).
I love your songs, though I don’t understand Kenyan language, could you tell us
more about your genre of music?
Basically, it’s gospel music recorded with lots of traditional flavours. I sing in
Kenya’s dialect to promote my culture with a bit of Afro fusion, which I enjoy playing and everyone loves the beat. Of course, music is the food to our soul, so you don’t need to understand the language to dance to the beat. I must commend my band, Team Emmy, for their support.
We have gotten recognition locally and internationally.
How many awards do you have to date?
I have received many awards. I have received awards in the United Kingdom including the Black
Entertainment Television Fashion Award. I also received awards in the United States last year and
many more in Kenya. Honestly, it’s just about inspiring other musicians; you don’t have to be like another
person to accomplish your target as a singer. Africa is a unique continent, so we need to do our best to
sell our culture, just as Nigeria is doing its best to sell its culture through movies. However, it’s a powerful
way to showcase talents and cultures through music.
Honestly, not many will believe you are from Kenya because your music sounds more like that of Miriam Makeba of South Africa?
(Laughter) I love South African style of music, which actually inspires my kind of music. The feeling
is spiritual, singing with a fusion of South African beat. Though, I have performed alongside some
South African top gospel artistes.
Apart from music and being a pastor’s wife, what else do you do?
I also run a school in Kenya, where we educate the young ones. We also provide food, and most importantly, empowering children who cannot afford basic education in my region. I am equally the CEO of
Emmy House of Design in Kenya, where we design and make African wears, beads and accessories with
Which is your favourite among your songs?
I recorded eight songs on each album and they are amazing tracks. But my fans love Ololo, which also
fetched me a nickname from them. In fact, it’s the song that gave me global recognition. The incumbent
President of Kenya loves the song, which he danced to during his inauguration into office. I have performed at every function held in Kenya State House and I give God all the glory for a successful career.
Honestly, singing for kings and queens is an anointing from God that cannot be bought with money.
It’s a blessing for my hard work and talent, and I am humbled.
As an ambassador, how do you cope shuttling between Kenya and Nigeria?
Kenya is my place of birth and origin, while Nigeria is my home as a wife to a Nigerian husband.
So, I am always in Kenya with the support of my husband to carry out my duties as an ambassador
and also musician. We are working with the Nigerian government to promote good relationship in sport.
We are also planning a project with Nollywood, we want to explore Nigerian culture and impact it on our
industry in Kenya.
Who would you like to work with among Nigerian gospel artistes?
I love Frank Edwards and Midnight Crew. Hopefully, I will do a collabo with Frank Edwards soon.