Musician with a passion for sexual reproductive health and rights
For years, Salma Queen has kept many entertained with her smooth melodies and positive vibes. However, as her producer and top deejay fiancé Alvin Henry reveals, she is also a rights activist and a great family woman.
Jasmine Atieno @sparkleMine
For an industry with so much competition, it is always amazing to see an artiste take her fair space and set the pace through time, not just for her, but also for the upcoming artistes.
Salma Queen also known as Salima Wanjiru Murakaru is a music entertainer who has been in the music industry for a decade.
She has collaborated with different artistes including Zakaa from Ukoo Flani Maumau, Skeleton man, High Priest, K47, Gael, Aly Baba among others.
The 34-year-old, who used to call herself Lady Shee, says she has loved music for a lifetime, but little did she know she would make a career out of it. Her greatest supporter has been her producer and top Deejay fiancé, Alvin Henry.
She had met Alvin in 2016, when Sojourners Reggae Band, which she was a member of, curtain raised for Jamaican, reggae group, Wailing Souls.
“The event was organised by Umojah Sound System, which I am a part of.
I was multi-tasking taking pictures, deejaying and making sure the attendees were comfortable.
A friend signaled me to check her out — she was seated alone and I decided to approach her. I introduced myself, asked if she was fine and continued on with the night.
When her band performed, I realised how powerful her vocals were,” Henry shares.
Once the event was over, their mutual friend, DJ Heartical Murigi approached Henry and requested him to give Salma a lift home as they were all heading the same direction. That was the beginning of their beautiful love story.
“What drew us together was how we were able to understand, comfort and even solve issues and challenges we faced,” he reveals.
Alvin took up full management of his fianceé’s musical career in 2020 when she had her first official track collaborating with Gael from Norway, and the video was featured on Reggaeville, one of the biggest reggae channels in the world.
“I opted to do it myself as I felt she has great talent. Not having so much experience in the music industry, I decided that I shall learn on the job and also just be her number one supporter and provide that firm foundation to be able to get her music out there.
The experience has been amazing as I have learnt so much in regards to music.
Most importantly, I have got to understand her more as she has become more confident in herself and it’s clearly noticeable in her latest releases,” he shares.
Salma’s music journey had kicked off in 2012 as a member of Sojourners band.
At that time however, she was not writing songs and concentrated on being a vocalist for the band.
In 2013, she got a chance to enroll in an exchange programme called Communication for Change in Norway.
She lived and studied at Sunmore Folk High School, which allows people to fully develop their talents and career choices before joining university or whichever path they would choose.
While there, she learnt about music, intercultural studies and leadership. She also met Maressa, a Brazilian artiste.
She would later record her first soft rock music titled Dancing In The Rain.
In May 2014, Salma returned to Kenya and concentrated on her work as a gender-based violence activist and a branch assistant coordinator working for the rights of women and men under the umbrella of Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Kenya.
Her focus was on youth empowerment, youth advocacy and sexual reproductive health and rights while also pursuing her degree in psychology and sociology at the University of Nairobi.
On the side, the mother of one would look for small gigs and host karaoke events and co-operate events just to be able to support her family.
By the time the singer met Henry in 2016, she had made a decision to go solo, rebranding herself separately from Sojourners band (as Salma Queen).
She felt she needed to grow and be recognised as an individual and not just a back-up singer.
Henry and Salma have since learnt how to look out for each other, especially in a world where there is always someone trying to take advantage of an artiste and a kind-hearted giver such as her.
Challenges have been there, but together and with always committing their family to God, they overcome each as they come.
“We learnt how to be there for each other and protect each other, give each other advice and in turn, we have avoided so many problems.
Another thing is that we have learnt to keep our personal challenges to ourselves as many are not happy seeing couples happy and are always looking for something to talk about.
We learnt that the best people to solve challenges or issues are the same people who have the issues!
To listen to each other and to find a way to express how we feel in a manner we can come up with a solution and move on.
We have learnt that trust is a major pillar in work and a steady relationship as without that, one will have challenges committing their 100 per cent,” he intimates about their relationship.
As a female MC at Umojah Sound System, she spreads positive and uplifting vibes and got the opportunity to perform prestigious East African festivals such as the Kilifi New Year and Nyege Nyege festivals.
She holds Umojah and Sojourners close to heart as they paved her way to be a female reggae artiste.
There is only so much Henry loves about Salma on top of the list being her dedication to work and family and her cooking skills. She is also God fearing and wakes him up every morning for prayers.
“She is fun to be with and always filled with positive energy. We love to spend time with each other as we discover ourselves deeper each day.
She is supportive and understanding even when I have to work for long hours. Most of all, she is down to earth and humble,” he says.
As a mum, Salma is a dedicated mentor. “Most importantl, she has instilled discipline, respect and responsibility upon our son at a tender age. Let us not forget her amazing skill in the kitchen!
I always look forward to going home as the food is just heavenly. My colleagues and friends are surprised that I have not yet added weight,” he laughs.