She had always dreamed of making it big and being the star in her family so when things did not go as planned, Afropop singer, Zakia Kunge, was naturally disappointed but her sadness spiraled into depression and she became suicidal.
Thankfully, in her moments of despair, Zakia who is also a radio host and currently on 3FM found solace in music and she credits it for saving her life.
“I used to be so depressed and I tried to kill myself but music and my mother’s love got me through. My ambition to become a successful singer so I can provide a better life for my family literally saved my life. It made me want to go on living and keep trying,” she told Showbiz in an interview.
“Music allows me to express myself and show the full range of all my emotions. I am true to who I am, very blunt and that’s exactly what my songs are about. I sing about love, sex, pain and all the other things that make up life.”
The 31-year-old’s challenges and triumph are what motivated her latest single, Winner, produced by Martinokeys.
Sung in English, Winner admonishes people not to give up as there is always a silver lining in every dark situation.
“Winner is my motivational anthem and a testimony to anyone who is also struggling that they too can win. It is never too late to achieve the things you want in life.
It sums up all my struggles in life, I have been around for long, I have done a lot of things to get to that point of gaining prominence but it is always one story or the other from people who actually promised to be of help but today I am here,” Zakia said.
The realisation of her strength as a musician started in Russia when she needed money to take care of herself after she gained a scholarship to study Political Science for both her Bachelor’s and Masters Degrees.
“When I got to Russia, I was left to my fate and I needed to fend for myself. I knew no one there so I decided to try singing.
Honestly, there is a big market for musicians in Russia and I began performing at gatherings among others. Eventually, music became the love of my life.”
Having stayed in Russia for so long, she has had the opportunity to perform on some of the biggest stages in Russia and extensively toured countries in Eastern Europe including Latvia, Ukraine, Finland and Belarus, with her university’s theatre group.
She won the Miss People’s Friendship, a prestigious pageant in her University in 2008, the second black girl in the school’s history to win that crown.
In Ghana, she was a Top Five finalist in Vodafone Icons in 2013 and second runner-up in Miss Universe 2012. With an interest in media as well, she hosted Tym Out on Viasat1 in 2014 and has also worked with Pluzz FM and Hitz FM.
For Zakia, a native of Sawla in the Northern Region, keeping quiet about her struggles will certainly not help others in similar situations, hence her speaking up.
“I believe in using my talent to encourage and inspire others,” she said.