SEATTLE WA: After her performance at Abbey Arts Center fall, PR Assistant Tommy Pham caught up with singer/songwriter Naomi Wachira on her role as a musician in our society. [Interview by Tommy Pham. Published 2/14/17]
Tommy Pham: How has your process for creating evolved since your career began to expand?
Naomi Wachira: I think the word intentionality comes to mind, because I think I understand what type of artist I want to be — which is one that talks about issues that are happening in society. I think I’ve become more intentional about writing music that applies to people from all kinds of backgrounds. I think that is really the whole idea, just being honest — honesty without shaming people, or without undermining another person’s experience. I try to be as inclusive as I can in whatever I talk about.
TP: During the start of your career or journey, was there anything in particular that inspired you to keep pushing forward?
NW: Yeah, the music community in Seattle. It’s very instrumental. I met a lot of musicians when I first started and I just got such good feedback from them — and these were very talented people, and then there was little ole me, and I’m like ‘Oh, okay, I guess I do have something to offer.’ So that was really cool, just meeting someone like Damien Jurado who produced by my first album — someone who’s had the career that he’s had, coming alongside me and telling me how much he believed in what I was doing was such a huge boost. So, yeah I’d say the music community in Seattle and specifically, Damien Jurado.
TP: What kind of music are you listening to nowadays?
NW: Oh God, I don’t listen to music, well I guess I can’t say that I’m don’t. I do listen to the radio a lot. Most of the time I’m so busy being a mother so most of the time I get to hear music in the car, and we listen to pop music! My daughter loves it, and it’s a really good bonding moment for us because we get to sing together.
TP: Any favorite songs you and your daughter love to sing?
NW: Yeah, we love Justin Bieber. We love Alessia Cara, pretty much anything Top 40.
TP: Yeah I love, Alessia Cara as well. She has an amazing voice! You think your next project will be influenced by any of this music?
NW: I don’t know, (laughs) maybe my next album will be a love album.
TP: Since you said music is your calling, was there specific moment when you knew you’d pursue music as a full time career?
NW: When I was five years old, I guess that was when I discovered that music was supposed to be a part of my life. When I was about twelve or thirteen, I knew that I wanted to be performing, but my parents told me I needed to finish school. However, I think it was still something that I always carried with me throughout life, and it wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I realized that maybe this was something that I should pursue. Everything I tried, I was really miserable at, I could do other things but internally things became very chaotic, and then I started doing music and I realized this is what I was always meant to be doing.
TP: Do you have any recommendations for anybody who may have a late start in this industry?
NW: Yeah, listen to your gut. I’m a big believer of stepping out on faith. If this is what you’re meant to do the universe will respond. You’ll find opportunities and people who will take you from one step to another. But I’d definitely say, listening to your gut is the first thing you wanna do. Just give it a shot and if it doesn’t work out, you’ll know you tried it out at least. There are so many unknowns jumping into something like this but life is short and you have to take a chance.
TP: Thank you Naomi.