Xenia Manasseh

Kenya’s R&B sensation, Xenia Manasseh, is Spotify’s EQUAL Africa ambassador for the month of February. She takes over from Yemi Alade who was the programme’s ambassador for January.

The R&B singer-songwriter released her debut EP “Fallin’ Apart” in 2019, and has also racked up an impressive CV of writing credits and features with other artists, including work on projects by Teyana Taylor, Sauti Sol, Mr Eazi, Tay Iwar and Burna Boy.

Speaking about her inclusion in the programmes Xenia said, “Being a part of the EQUAL programme is an honour. I'm honoured to be recognized for my input and for my voice, especially in a male-dominated industry. I'm honoured to be a part of any programme that is built on inclusivity. Navigating this industry would be more difficult without platforms like these that seek to highlight that great art is great art no matter the source.”

The role comes as a highlight of Xenia’s understated career, a path she says she realised was her passion in 2019.

“I didn’t realise making music was a part of my purpose until around 2019. After spending six months in Atlanta writing music almost every day, it became clearer and clearer. My why is because it is my purest form of self-expression. Our gifts are given to us for free and I believe the most important thing we can do is to lean into that wholeheartedly,” she said.

Manasseh also gives credit to some Kenyan musicians like Nameless and Nazizi as well as other African artists. She further added that her passion for music also comes from her family’s love for great music.

“Growing up I listened to African artists from all over thanks to my family’s love for music. The list is endless but to name a few we have the likes of Nameless, Nazizi, Khadja Nin, Brenda Fassie, Lady Jaydee, Youssou N’dour, Mzee Ngala, Oliver Mtukudzi… writing it down makes me realise how I’ve been exposed to all kinds of music my entire life.”

Speaking about her appointment Phiona Okumu, Spotify’s head of music for Sub-Saharan Africa, “Xenia is a rising star - and not just in her home country.  The EQUAL programme looks to support talent just like hers and give women the tools and the platforms to grow their audiences and advance their careers in the music industry.”

Xenia joins other Kenyan artists who have previously been Equal ambassadors including Nikita Kering’, Muthoni The Drummer Queen and Sylvia Ssaru.

Listen to her latest song with Hook, “A Little Thing Called Love” on Spotify.

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