Mohombi Nzasi Moupondo, popularly known as as Mohombi, is a Swedish-Congolese singer-songwriter and dancer who grew up in Kista near Stockholm. He was RedOne’s first signing to 2101 Records in a joint venture with Universal Music Group. From 2000 to 2008 Mohombi was part of the Swedish Hiphop group called Avalon with his brother Dj Moupondo. Mohombi released his debut solo single “Bumpy Ride” in August 2010. The single became a worldwide Hit, sold gold & platinum and charted top-ten in several countries, and was followed by his debut studio album, Move Meant in February 2011. He was in Kenya recently for a media tour, did a special performance at the B-club and hosted a VIP Pool Party at the Best Western Hotel. I caught up with him to know about his personal life, educational background, musical prowess and this is what he had to say:
How was it growing up in Congo and Sweden?
It was like growing up in Mars and Jupiter. What I mean by that is like its two different worlds. It was challenging, it was fun. I learned a lot and I feel at home in Congo just as much as I feel at home in Sweden, I can call myself 100% bi-cultural.
When did you make your debut in the music Industry?
I made my debut in 1998. I was not even a teenager yet, but I was still standing onstage, and I had a lot of fans enjoying my performances.
I hear you have a degree in music and song. Tell me more about that?
When I finished high school, music was the only thing on my mind. I wanted to learn as much as possible so I applied to the number one music school in Sweden, The Conservatory of Stockholm, and I was admitted and those were the best three years of my life.
How did your parents react when you told them about pursuing a music career?
Well, my parents as any other African traditional parents really took it hard, but I made a promise that I would pursue my studies and still have a college degree. In my family everybody has gone to college or university so I was going to be the one who had a musical career and a university degree.
Do you face any challenges in your career?
Everyday is a challenge. Every single day when an artist wakes up, he will face challenges, difficult choices and that’s the beauty of the show business, to make right calls at the right time.
Do you still perform with your DJ brother? Are your other siblings in music or the Entertainment Industry?
My brother is my manager, as well as a manager to other different artistes that we have on our label. He is also my business partner as this is a family business and no, I’m the only one who was crazy enough to get myself into the show business.
How is life in LA?
Well, when I’m in LA, life is good but I’m a world citizen. So this means that I’m not home so often. Los Angeles is the capital of show business.
Are you single?
I am not single. I believe that if you truly believe in love, you need to prove it at some point not to the world but prove it to yourself. Reason why, I’m luckily married with two beautiful boys.
If it weren’t for music, what other career path would you have taken?
I have no idea.
Are you planning on collaborating with any Kenyan artist apart from STL?
Definitely. I would love to work with different people. I believe that collaborating is a way of evolving. Collaboration is evolution and I would love to get to know other Kenyan artists in order to make some smashing hits together.
Any last words or advice to the youth?
Never give up. Africa Unite. Be a generation without complex. Stand up for your rights. God Bless!