The Multi-Talented Liz Ogumbo
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Liz Ogumbo, is a model, cum designer, cum singer and much more, roles which she is able to interweave so beautifully to define herself. Coming from a vocally talented household it’s not a wonder that she processes such an amazing musical talent. But that’s not all, Liz is also a very talented fashion designer, owner of “House of Imani”, and a part-time model. Liz Ogumbo, stays close to her African roots and it’s what she says she celebrates everyday.
She has just launched her album ‘KENSOUL’ which can be described as rhythmic African poetry, organized a fashion and beauty event (FAB) in Kenya, and her designs under “house of Imani” are doing quite well. Jamati got the chance to chat with this beautiful and hardworking lady on her projects and achievements.
Jamati Online: You wear very many caps which makes it hard to define you. Tell us who is Liz Ogumbo?
I am a Strong Beautiful African creative entity!
Jamati Online: You actually hold a degree in computer science; do you consider it helpful in your career now?
I only went to school for Computer Science because it was the right thing to do based on my family requirements at the time. Despite the fact that it sounded more of an accomplishment when compared to fashion or music for that matter back in the days, every bit of my knowledge has always come in handy.
Jamati Online: How/When did you discover you could sing?
Music is my lifestyle as I was brought up in a musical family. Besides inheriting my name from my great grandmother who grew rich just performing beautiful music, my dad taught me many songs including the hit song, “Maro pamore” on my album ‘KenSoul’, and my mum ensured we sang every evening for prayer……
Jamati Online: How would you describe the kind of music that you sing?
My debut album, ‘KenSoul’, is a playful energy that passionately expresses a soul journey whose musical roots are anchored in my Luo tradition and branch out to Swahili -chakacha sounds carried by earthy vocals; percussive-inspired sounds and coastal beats and lyrics–humid, sensuous, and unforgettable.
Jamati Online: You have just recently released your album ‘KenSoul’, tell us about it.
I recorded ‘KenSoul’, my debut album within the month of June 2010 and was out in stores in Oct 2010 along with tours and new platforms that came my way so I could share my musical stories live to audiences from all over the world. In life, we have seasons for everything and I believe this is a season for me to share creativity through my music.
‘KenSoul’ is the title of my album as well as the genre of my music in this album. My love for music is too diverse; I had to create a new genre that would cover everything beautiful about
beautiful music. ‘KenSoul’ represents my ancestors through who I have learnt what I know and celebrate about my roots and culture; my Luo culture and African heritage.‘KenSoul’ is that avenue through which I can still allow myself to be influence by the beautiful sounds exploding from the globe and still create a sound that is still so distinct; deeply rooted to my Kenya Soul and heritage!
‘KenSoul’ is the stories my father narrated to me as a child growing up with such strong morals and values brought out creatively with such delicate detail, I can only sing it to! ‘KenSoul’ is my land of Kenya that sings and dances day and night allowing me to be a part of a phenomenal lifestyle; my music and dance! ‘KenSoul’ is my Luo culture, Swahili culture and everything Kenyan that I am constantly and tastefully creating and recreating! ‘KenSoul’ is my lifestyle expressed through my fashion and music.
I am that Kenyan soul who has spread my wings like a little butterfly and travelled lots into different spaces, allowing myself to be influenced and still not losing my roots and heritage.
My heart bleeds for my lovely country, My album is KenSoul, my passion for Fashion is KenSoul, my music is KenSoul, my Kenyan soul bleeds for this beautiful rich country that
birthed me and raised into this beautiful piece of art!! Cut me! I am KenSoul!
Jamati Online: One of the artist featured in your album is the legendary SA hip-hop star, Zubz. How did you end up working together?
I met Zubz through one of my brothers out here and it as a pleasant surprise. We met in the studio for the collaboration and in a few minutes, he wrote, he dropped the rhymes and we were done and excited. That was a fantastic collaboration with a fantastic artist.
Jamati Online: Which other artists have you featured in your album?
R. J. Benjamin (who was also producer), MXO and Tumi.
Jamati Online: How has the reception of ‘KenSoul’ being?
Very welcoming and lots of interest and hype. Thanks to my followers.
Jamati Online: You are also a Designer –and own House of Imani designs and model management. Tell us about that.
I believe less is more when you ooze confidence. I have minimized fuss and accented the beauty of our individuality as beautiful women TODAY. My philosophy through what we wear is that every day should be celebrated as an opportunity to make our mark.
My clothing and jewelery collections are a must-have for the modern, fashion-savvy woman. These pieces of bold, elegant, timeless and endless pieces invite women to embrace self-
definition through sleek cuts, simple-yet-provocative designs and attitude that comes from the inside.
My pieces feature crochet tiered dresses, Square-neck doll dresses, vintage inspired maxis and minis with sparkling empire-lines, Blazers, Jackets, coats, 6”waist hugging belts, KenSoul tees and bold hand-made accessories. The LizOgumbO Imani design aesthetic conceives the “free-spirited,” fashion-savvy. It is now available in South Africa.
Jamati Online: What inspires your designs?
Like my music, everyday has some inspiration drawn into my fashion. From the time I get out of bed, something has to inspire me; it could be a fabric, it could be someone’s skirt, or a piece of jewelry, could be a wise/hilarious statement, ‘big a** in the blue jeans,’ the season etc.
Jamati Online: How has the reception to your collections being so far?
Exciting with lots of interest. Now spending more time to look for more buyers from all over….
Jamati Online: You are also a model! How is the experience?
I am only modeling with exceptions.
Jamati Online: Being an established designer do you do showcase/model for other designers?
No. I used to before I got into my own fashion design story and journey but I had to stop and focus on my own clothing until further notice.
Jamati Online: You also authored a book: ‘The Modeling Industry‘; who is the ideal model? Tell us about it. What inspired it?
Media has always exposed the good and glamorous side of the modeling industry, but not much is really covered on the bad and the ugly reality.
This is not your ‘top ten tips on how to stay thin’ handbook neither is it your guarantee to success within your hectic modeling career!
‘Who is the ideal model?’ brings out a general approach on how to believe in ourselves and trust that we are ‘ideal’ in whatever we set out to pursue. No one told me what to expect in
this vicious industry about 13 years ago when I just realized that I was slowly attracting the runways besides the boys. When all is said and done, I have been inspired to write this book
hoping that it will inspire and help build self-esteem within many young girls in general along with everyone else who feel like they do not belong; those in pursuit of finding themselves.
Pressure and more pressure resorting to drugs, sex, racism, anorexia/ bulimia, size & age factor, and on and the challenges came one after the other.
I share some of my laughs and cries in the industry and how they affect me today, my spiritual approach to life, and the steps I take to be the change. My heart bleeds, when I see the wave getting bigger by the day, as the world continues to rotate on routine. The clock keeps ticking tick-tock as time declines to stop and wait on the ‘anorexics’ to recover. The time that has no second chance; not even for the crack-heads to make their way to rehab. The rain hits hard when it does, and when the dry season comes around, the green land dries up no matter what you did last summer!
This book has not been written exclusively for the models but for each and every big-thinking individual who may feel like their hope is gone after a big fall; you may be in the storm, but you don’t have to be affected by it….weave through it and let your light shine!
Jamati Online: How do you balance your multiple careers and manage to remain so glamorous?
Thank you for the compliment. I don’t really think about how to stay glammed-up, however I try to make it on time make it to the spa as often as I can for some pampering and all that is crowned by a lovely team behind me.
Jamati Online: What have been the highlights and challenges that you have faced so far in your line of works?
There are so many challenges on a daily basis, that I refuse to focus on them, but instead I put more effort on how I get over them to allow me to move to the next hurdle! Life is a gift and a challenge in itself and as long as you are a winner, you will win, win, and win no matter what!
Jamati Online: Being Kenyan, you currently reside in South Africa, any particular reason for that?
I got an opportunity in SA that I did not have anywhere else, so I came to pursue it. I believe in following and chasing dreams and opportunity.
Jamati Online: Apart from singing, designing, modeling and writing is there anything else you do?
I do a lot more with my hands such as cook. Call me if you hear of any glamorous cooking show looking for me! Lol!
Jamati Online: What can we hope from Liz Ogumbo in future?
Jamati Online: What would you tell your fans out there, aspiring models & or designers?
You are beautiful, whole and complete, lacking nothing! Go on and get yours and don’t let anything stop you!