Singer and actress Angie ‘Shinde’ Mwandanda talks about her journey in arts
Angie “Shinde” Mwandanda is a former member of music trio Tattuu known for songs such as Teso and Solophobia. She’s also an actress, currently on Maisha Magic East’s telenovela Selina as Katie. Mwangi Alberto chats with her about her creative entrepreneurship.
Tell us a brief history about yourself.
I was born in the USA, but I was raised in Nairobi. I enjoyed my childhood; I was playful and I believe I always had an interest in music and movies from a young age.
I was quite shy when I was young, but I always had an interest in anything TV or music related. At the time I did not even consider being an actress or an artiste.
I remember a time when I wanted to be a designer and an architect too. I did, however, study interior design in school.
Who inspired you to become a musician?
Most of the music from the 90s inspired my desire to sing. But mostly the likes of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Brandy, Monica and generally all the women musicians of that era were the ones I looked up to.
How did Tattuu come into being and why did you guys split?
We met at Phoenix Players, where it used to stage an annual musical and I joined in 1999.
Debbie Asila and Angela Ndambuki were there already and we formed a friendship.
We were friends for a long time, doing dancing gigs before we ventured into forming Tattuu.
After its success and many live performances and recordings, we began to gravitate towards our own individual interests and starting families (for Debbie and Angela).
As a result, we just weren’t on stage and in the media as much. But our friendship remains to date. Tattuu was a by-product of that friendship.
Has Tattuu ever thought of making a comeback?
This question comes up every year. If time allows and we are all available and interested in doing so, then we will make that comeback. We are still friends and that will always be the case.
Over the years, I have released my own music and collaborated with several artistes; Redsan in Unbreakable (2009), Juliani in Crossover (2012), Nameless, Big Pin and Pascal Tokodi in Presha (2019). Just last week, I released my single Do It For Me. I love to sing, so I will continue to do so for as long as I can.
Do It For Me is a superb gospel song. Is this your new musical direction?
My preference is not to be boxed into any category. I am a believer and I hope to do more music though. Let’s see how things go.
What else have you been up to?
I have worked in several corporate businesses, mostly in the area of marketing and business development.
More recently, I’ve found myself still gravitating towards the film and music business.
Right now I am spending more time both in front of the screen and also working on a few productions that will be ready for release in good time.
How did you find your footing in acting?
It all began at Phoenix Players before Tattuu came to be. Phoenix Players was great nurturing ground for many who wanted to pursue a career in media and the performing arts.
The then director James Falkland and George Mungai were my mentors who gave me several stage productions to be a part of, and it was there that I began to harness my craft in acting.
Did you audition for Selina or how did you land the role?
Yes, I auditioned for a role on Selina. I reached out to a friend of mine to let him know that I was interested in getting back into acting.
It just so happened that there were auditions that day, which I attended. There were quite a number of candidates in line and I am thankful that I made it and was cast for the role of Katie.
What other acting projects have you been involved in?
I have been in two other movies; Inner Beauty and Dear Mother, which are feature films, and New Beginnings—a series that was once on KTN. I have also done voice overs for an animation.
How have you been coping with the Covid-19 pandemic?
Honestly, I am grateful for this time, it has come with a lot of discomfort, but it has also given me the opportunity to get back into acting and to collaborate with other like-minded people to create content.
Performance arts have been hit hard by the pandemic, but what do you think should be done to revive it post-Covid?
The great thing about creatives is that we are always creating, researching or coming up with ideas for the next production or artwork.
Yes, an audience is needed to see the final product, but the process of creation is constant.
Yes, we’ve been hit hard just as any other industry has, but at the same time, it has forced us to be more innovative.
I believe at the end of this pandemic you will see some great work because creatives have been busy creating.
What should we expect from you in the days ahead?
More music, more acting and creating films for our local and global audience.