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Rising stars: Alvina Gachungu's big break as she represents Kenya in Nigeria

By Caroline Nyanga | Monday, Mar 7th 2016 at 15:02
Alvin Gachungu            Photo:Courtesy

Kenya’s actress cum queen of auditions Alvina Gachungu 23, is set to leave for Nigerian where she will be representing Kenya. She describes this as a  big break

Q: Who is Alvina?

My real names are Alvina Gachugu also known as femme fatale who bares ambition as her middle name. I am a woman of many faces – a never - say die actress, singer, songwriter, presenter, voice over artist, emcee and single mother of one

Q: What does representing Kenya in Nigeria mean to you?

I see it as a big break in both my acting and music career. It’s true that I have had to put in a lot of effort to reach where I am today. Thanks to my never say die attitude.

Q: Tell us about your latest song Doradora and what makes it different?

Doradora is a native Kikuyu language meaning Look at me. It is a self empowerment song – dedicated to dreamers who work hard and see their dreams materializing before their eyes – step by step. No matter their past failures in various aspects of life… until those challenges say: If you can’t beat them – join them..

Q: What of its video?

Its video officially released in February this year – mainly in Youtube where it has managed to garner more than 100,000 likes. Its beautiful launch was however, at club Tribeka. 

Q: You are one person who has been through nearly all Kenyan auditions and it appears there is no stopping you soon?

Thanks to my never say die personality, my role models Tyra Banks and Ellen, my mother who supported me all through – not to mention my adorable son Doremy whose name stems from my love for music (notes). 

Q: What are you up to at the moment?

I am thinking of starting my own show, titled “The Audition(s)” considering the numerous musical and acting auditions I have been through in vain… but still not willing to give up.  

 

Q: Let us in more on the auditions?

My first audition aimed at joining the school choir in 2008 was rejected but despite this I never gave up. A year later I tried again in vain…. and that is when I decided to form my own choir dubbed The French Choir which performed during major French days and got tremendous support from fans.

During the time I also sang two solo songs during drama festivals which tuned out huge. Thanks to my dance trainer Patrick Ngere who believed in me and offered me the opportunity. 

Q:  What of your television appearances?

My first screen appearance was in 2011 as a “choir director” for Mitaani choir on Kiss TV due to my guitar skills and vocals that I studied at Kamata Music School.

As the group’s director our renditions of popular songs saw us win the sum of Sh1 million. We also shot a video Amani Nchini found on YouTube.

Q: Tell us about your experience with Hapa Kule show?

I joined the show in June 2015.  My roles are diverse depending on the content of the script. For instance I have played the role of a mad woman to a reporter besides featuring in throw back times just to name a few.

 

But one thing I must say is that it took close to six years for Abel Mutua to consider my application which I sent him in 2009 while still a Form Three student at Moi Girls Nairobi. However, in 2015 he finally decided to respond to my application.

Q: Apart from acting you also sing?

My single, The Deepest Love done in Rhythm and Blues style that featured my then Rwandese boyfriend Producer Gabzo was given immense airplay on One FM  among other local FM stations. Like Waiyaki and Nyambura at the bank of the river we were energized and our love was at its peak and this inspired us to come up with this tune.

Other songs include my first single, None Higher an inspirational reggae produced in 2012 which was not well received. But despite this I never lost hope and went ahead to record my second, Baybie with another producer that was equally a flop.

My third song Mama together with a video redone in 2013 with the help of Docta Eddie turned out well. 

Q: Tell us about your album in the making?

It’s titled Bon Appetit (A French term meaning good appetite usually told to someone having a meal). In this song I compare love to food. The same way food may turn out to be hot, cold, spicy and even salty so does love have its ups and downs. 

Produced by Rwandan producers in Dagoretti Corner, The album set to be out in December has a number of songs among them Niyirema, (a hype love song), The Deepest Love ft. Gabzo.

Q: You have also been to theatre?

I ventured in set books immediately after my high school that saw me through to the Kenya National Theatre auditions. However, our narrative with a friend Corinne did not make it past the second round (sob…. tear…. cry….). Luckily for me I later got a call requesting me replace one of the actors who failed to make it  due to her busy schedule.

With time I joined Next Level Production Company and we performed ballad operas at Alliance Francaise until I got a breakthrough to be on screen in 2014 as part of Mela’s House KBC then later on NTV Prankstars.

Q: You were the best French student in Kenya in 2011? 

I was sat for my French exam in 2010. It was DELF B2 Higher Diploma and I remember no one wanted to sit for that tough exam. But considering my love for the subject and the fact that that my mother had paid for it I had no choice but to do it. Luckily for me I emerged at the top of the exam winning me a fully paid trip to France by the Government for a month.

Q: Is it true you also tried writing a book?

Yeap. I published my first book; in memory of my French Class Teacher who passed on but with time my publishing determination diminished.

Q: What are working on at the moment?

I just featured in a Nigerian video shoot titled Ta Imajini! …. and waiting for its release.  Besides having auditioned for Mseto East Africa as a host, I am also trying my hands on the competition of the top 40 under 40 women. I believe this is one thing I truly deserve and God willing it shall come to pass.

Q: Tell us about your humble family background?

I hail from a humble family background in Nairobi's Eastlands estate where I still live to date with my parents and son… although I am working hard to live in a better place.

Q: What are your future plans as far as acting and music goes?

To go Hollywood……By this I mean more than just the physical location. I’m talking quality, considering that change starts from within. I’m here to change the art scene. Individual drops of water do make the ocean what it is.

Q: Which schools did you attend?

 

I attended Mountain View, Dayspring and Le Pic primary schools before moving on to Moi Girls’ High School Nairobi a.k.a Quabbz. I later joined University of Nairobi in 2011 and later transferred and joined St. Paul’s University in March 2012 where aside from studies I specialized in Mezzo Soprano.

Q: Your advice to aspiring musicians and actors?

There are no “handouts” or “connections.” Everything I got I had to sweat for; and I’m still sweating although I believe the best is yet to come. Keep doing what makes you happy and you won’t even smell the sweat.

Q: Are you dating?

Nope really. Let’s just say that I had had a few bad relationships. These days it is hard to find a guy who loves you for who you are as opposed to what you do. At the moment I want to concentrate on focusing on my careers.

Q: Last word

There is a saying in Kinyarwanda which goes, Zahabu ziva mucyondo, meaning gold is found in the mud. That is why I keep digging, hoping and believing that I am almost there.

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