Opening for UB40 at last years Stanbic Music Festival was the highlight of my performance calendar. This year I got to open for Boyz II Men and once again the festival was my favourite gig of the year – so far anyway.

I can honestly say that last year I wasn’t quite prepared for the scale of the event, I wasn’t sure what to play or what sort of crowd it would be but everything worked out and I had an absolute party on stage. This year I was so excited when I got the call again and couldn’t wait to put together a killer set for it. I’m a 90s kid and had the best time spending hours going through 90s hits deciding which to learn to throw into my set as a little surprise nostalgic trip for the audience, they seemed to love it! Hearing thousands of people singing as loud as they could made me feel like the songs were my own. Speaking of my own songs though, it was pretty special to play a little teaser for my home crowd of an unreleased original I’ve been working on. The track didn’t even have a title yet at the festival, its since been named ‘La Prima’.

Negative online comments don’t bug me as much these days as they used to. I still sort of take a deep breath before reading anything but have learnt to read between the lines a little better and all the love and positivity I receive daily definitely outshines the negative stuff. It still wasn’t easy the day before the festival to see posts questioning the decision to make me the curtain raiser, questioning what place I had at the festival being a violinist and not an R&B artist – even questioning if I could be considered a local Zambian artist (because the opening lineup is all local). It was silly and I knew it was just a few people out of thousands but I got on stage feeling like everyone had already decided I sucked. I’ve never had to have such absolute confidence in myself as I did that first night. I don’t know why I ever doubted a Zambian crowd to be anything but supportive of me, they were incredible. I got off stage feeling totally empowered and ready to read all the online comments anyone cared to throw my way because I knew I’d done my best and made a lot of people proud.

The reviews that did come in were all pretty amazing and I had a follow up interview with Lusaka Times too.

I can’t end this post without talking about my outfits. On both nights I wore local designer pieces. The first you might recognize from my Something just like this video – by Mangishi Doll. On the second night I wore an amazing dress by Esnoko – I’d seen it shared on Instagram and needed it in my life. I couldn’t have been complimented on it more.

Oh what a couple of nights – there’s no place like a home-stage.