Nation caught up with Brick (Nyanda) of the Brick & Lace ‘one-hit-wonder’ group, as she shared her experiences on motherhood, music and why Africa is so important to her solo career.
Buzz: You have a very ‘African sounding’ first name. What does it mean and where did it come from?
Brick: Oh my, it means an ‘African princess’. At least that’s what my parents told me.
Buzz: That’s new. How was the experience being in a group with your sister as Brick & Lace?
Brick: Amazing. We started something special and created a sound that was unique. No matter what we do in our solo careers, Brick & Lace will always be our foundation.
Buzz: Despite the great run you had with singles like ‘Love is Wicked’, ‘Never Never’ and ‘Bad To Di Bone’ there are those who believed you were never going to last. What do you have to say about that?
Brick: Time will tell. It was probably the same people who thought my solo career would not take off. But guess what, I just toured Africa and I’m about to tour Europe!
Buzz: Apparently there were three of you in Brick & Lace. What brought about the gradual split and eventual break up?
Brick: Tasha was an original member of Brick & Lace. She wanted to pursue other things. However, she was still an integral part of the team (co-writing ‘Love is Wicked’, ‘Slippery When Wet’ and ‘Sax’). Nailah and I also reached a point where we wanted to explore our individuality. There will definitely be another Brick & Lace album.
Buzz: Are you still signed to Akon’s Konvict Music label?
Brick: No. I started my own label, Pink Scorpion, and have partnered with major companies like MTech (from Kenya) for marketing and distribution.
Buzz: Has it been difficult finding your footing as a solo artiste?
Brick: It hasn’t been easy because when you are about to do anything great it can be scary. However, I’ve got a great team behind me: my manager Chez, my production team, my creative director Black Lion, Tasha, Talent Africa and MTech to name a few. I trust God to guide my steps. The rest just falls into place.
Buzz: How do you strike a balance between the demands of an intense career as a musician and your relatively new role as a mother?
Brick: It’s tough being a working mom, as any working mom will tell you. But these are the sacrifices we make for the best interests of our kids and their future. I keep balance by spending quality time with them when I am home. That’s why it was important for me to partner with organisations such as Reach And Hand, and It Takes Two to educate young women on issues facing early pregnancy.
Buzz: Your single ‘Slippery When Wet’ has been well received not just here in Kenya but across Africa. How does it feel to have achieved such instant success in your solo career?
Brick: It feels great. The team has put a lot of hard work into this project and we’ve been blessed to see it paying off.
Buzz: How is your solo music different from your work with Brick & Lace?
Brick: The biggest difference is that I no longer have to compromise on my ideas. I can fully put all of me into each record.
Buzz: You did some projects with DJ Fresh from South Africa and Fally Ipupa from Congo in 2013, tell us more about these.
Brick: Yes, we teamed up with Euphonik and Fresh for one of the biggest records in South Africa last year, ‘Cool & Deadly’. It was amazing working with them. I’ve got two other singles coming with Muss from Ivory Coast and Barbara Kanam from Congo. I’m also featured on a single with Ugandan stars Ray Signature, GNL, Irene Ntale, Bigg Trill and Maurice Hassa. It’s called ‘Your Ways’.
Buzz: Last time you performed in Kenya it was as Brick & Lace at Redsan’s album launch and a collaboration was supposed to follow soon after. We’re still waiting…
Brick: Who knows what may happen in the future. Redsan is a good friend and we love what he’s doing.
Buzz: How about your performance in Uganda just recently; how did that go?
Brick: I was part of an all female line-up celebrating Women’s Day and the launch of the ‘It Takes Two’ campaign in Uganda. It was great.
Buzz: There’s been talk that you’re also scheduled for a performance in Kenya soon, how true is this?
Brick: I’ve also heard rumours…
Buzz: Tell us more about your ‘lucrative deal’ with Kenyan distribution company MTech.
Brick: It’s still in the early stages. However, my distributor Tropic Electric and I are excited about the partnership. Paul Opipi from MTech sought us out and showed that he believed in our vision. We have confidence in the team.
Buzz: You seem to have a very keen interest to interact with Africa through your music. Why?
Brick: I love Africa! From my first visit to Nigeria in 2007 till now every country has impacted my life in a special way: from the people, to the food to the culture. I’m now a Goodwill Ambassador for several campaigns so it’s not just about music anymore. It’s also about giving back and making a difference in people’s lives.