For eight weeks last year, Tusker Project Fame Season 6 kept us hooked on TV sets.
All the contestants had exceptional talent and for Uganda, Daisy Ejang stood out. She is the only female who made it to the final night and all our hopes were in her.
Although she did not win the KShs 5 million (about Shs 150m), East Africa will always remember Daisy for her vocal ability, beauty and a high sense of fashion.
Ejang’s talent was and is still being nurtured in church. “I can’t leave church,” she says, displaying a picture of her first choir at Nakawa Baptist church with a little girl in the front. The little girl is five-year-old Daisy.
She then went to Rock of Deliverance church at Fido Dido, along Kampala road. Three years ago, she moved to the Oasis mall-based Mavuno church, where she serves the Lord as the worship team leader.
She describes it as the best church for letting her go for the competition and head straight back to the pulpit upon her return. Previously, she also had a stint at Band Aroma before deciding to concentrate on church and her music career.
The twenty-year-old, whose parents died in 2008, draws inspiration from her foster parents, Donald and Cherry Lupul.
They have supported her for the last 16 years through Compassion International, a Christian-based NGO that sponsors orphans. She is grateful to her father, Lupul, for reminding her to go for TPF auditions after procrastinating.
Her former band mates Brian Minge and Nathan Iverson of Band Aroma also played a profound role in inspiring and nurturing her talent, she says.
Ejang went to Naguru Katale and Kiswa primary schools before joining Kololo Secondary School for her O and A-level studies. She did not continue because of financial constraints. But she plans to attain a degree in Law or Mass Communication soon.
When she is afraid, Ejang says she looks up to God for strength. “Looking at how far I have come, I have seen God’s work; so, I always take my fears back to God,” she says. For that reason, she draws strength from the notion that “this, too, shall pass”.
Her go-to part of the Bible is the entire Psalms 91, whose first verse reads: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Aside from spiritual fears, Ejang has a phobia for snakes; she will run at the sight of a snake.
Ejang is also a fashion-conscious person who will not leave the house if she does not feel smart enough for the day.
“On stage, I like to feel extremely hot. When I am going on stage, I need to be on point,” says Ejang.
She is not particular about designer labels but all she needs is the look that makes her feel like a diva. She is also comfortable and loves high heels. She cares so much about fashion that she even gave TPF6’s official stylist Silvia Njoki extra work when it came to dressing her up for the live shows.
She also likes Sylvia Owori’s designs, but is not keen on wearing make-up except for a video, photo shoot and stage. Otherwise, a little lip balm will do, and no nail-polish for her nails.
“My time in the academy was fun, challenging and stressful. But it was great,” she replies when asked about her time at the Tusker Fame Project Academy.
Ejang found the academy in Nairobi difficult because the contestants were locked up and under watch. They were only let out to go shopping or for studio sessions, which she had to adjust to because she treasures her independence.
The academy was all about work and no play, sharing a closed space with fellow contestants. Being in close proximity with contestants, who were also strangers made her forge friendships.
Ejang, who has taken on Daisy as stage name, confesses to having grown closer to Kenya’s Fess Kamau than other contestants; she describes him as her “favourite” in the academy. Since she is single, those who followed the show think it was more than just friendship but she denies it.
Ejang explains that she gets closer to men than women because she grew up with boys. She was also closer to Sitenda Kisakye, who is also a member of the Mavuno church choir.
The academy also brought out the naughty in Ejang. For example, the naughtiest thing the she did with the girls was eating all the food after the boys won a challenge, and going for a movie and refusing to take them as dates.
After TPF, Ejang is slowly adjusting to life back home but some things have changed. She is no longer the church girl who used to walk the street. She now turns more heads and people stop her for a picture opportunity.
“Sometimes, I forget that I am a public figure till I meet people. My freedom of walking has been limited a bit,” she says.
As one of the finalists, she got a chance to record a song and shoot a music video, courtesy of the academy. Her first song Lady was written and produced by Tim Rimbui. And since her return, Ejang has recorded four songs, such as Teko, which means strength in Lango.
Teko is her first written song that was released early last week. The song is a prayer for someone going through a difficult time, which is typical of Ejang’s gospel roots.
The groovy, upbeat tune produced by D-King is likely to receive a lot of airplay even in the secular music circles. She has been approached for collabos and recording houses, especially in Kenya, are willing to sign her.
Ejang is serious about her career and plans to be “the next best thing out of Africa, musically.” Well, we will be watching!
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