Why restrict her to one talent when she can do more?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 09:38 | By
Mother daughter moment: Zaria Njeri and Michelle Waweru. PD/MILLIAM MURIGI

Zaria Njeri was only three years old when she started showing interest in music. Her mother, Michelle Waweru — popularly known as Mish — knew how to nurture the budding talent. 

 She started to encourage Zaria to sing more at school and church at Sunday School. Teachers also noticed her talent and confidence, so she would be picked for different roles such as leading the National Anthemdiromg assembly, offer her music prowess during school plays among others.

“Zaria started by mimicking big musicians such as Whitney Houston. She would also sing nursery rhymes and Sunday school songs for us in the house. However, I thought this was a childhood passion she would outgrow it,” the mother of two recalls.

Jack of all trade 

Mish was proven wrong, however. By the time Zaria was 10 years old, she began to write her own songs. That’s when she realised her daughter was serious. 

“One day, she came and told me, ‘Mummy let’s go to the studio. I want to release a song.’ But I felt she was still too young to venture into music professionally. However, I urged her to continue writing, so that one day she would record and release those songs,” Mish shares.

What Mish didn’t know is that Zaria was multipotentialite (a person with many different interests and creative pursuits in life) and before she knew it, her daughter ventured into sports, acting, and painting. Today, apart from singing, she is also a sprinter, swimmer, footballer, actress and painter. 

“Music brought her to the limelight, but apart from singing, she’s also a sprinter. She’s the fastest runner in her grade. She is also a fast swimmer. Academically, last term she was awarded as  the Best Academic excellent student. She also does acting gigs for her school not forgetting she is the forward in football. She’s the one who scores. She is also a painter and works well with canvas and her family and friends have benefited a lot from this gift. All this has earned her medals and trophies,” she says.

Finding balance

Mish shares how upon discovering that her 12-year-old daughter is multipotentialite, instead of telling her to stick to one talent, she has instead encouraged, supported, and exposed her to as many fields of interest as possible. She also gives her the freedom to switch interests and explore. She decided to do this because, over time, her daughter will be independent enough to make choices for herself. 

However, she says that despite the many talents her daughter has, she has taught her that education should always come first and she must attain good grades at all times. She is in Grade Seven. Only after her studies is she allowed to do the rest. Mostly, this is during holidays and weekends.

She also makes sure she interacts with other children by letting her play with them. Her playful nature is important in helping her balance her spiritual, social and emotional health.

“At first, I wanted her to stick to one talent, which is music. But later, I realised that having several talents was something that I didn’t have to be ashamed of. The reason is, this unique skill set is usually developed with constant exposure to different things,” she shares.

Her debut song is, I Can Do It All. It is a song of thanksgiving, as she thanks God for her many talents and having discovered them early enough. 

Since the song was released in December 2022, it has become an instant hit both in social and mainstream media and earning her a lot of media interviews.

Despite being in the limelight, Mish says Zaria doesn’t consider herself a celebrity because she thinks that she’s just doing music for God and that people are only appreciating her music. 

However, like any other person, Mish is bound to face challenges. Her mother says that students have been bullying her at school since she is in a multicultural school where some people may not understand the virtue of her music. She was also once bullied online, but she chose to ignore because she doesn’t believe in fighting fire with fire. 

“I came to know about those incidents way later. Some people had left nasty comments on her social media page. But Zaria believes those who bully others have issues they’re going through themselves and are just deflecting on what is inside them on others and I like that approach. She’s a pretty strong-willed,” Mish shares.

However, despite all this, she never stopped doing what she likes most. When she is troubled, she always prays and talks to those close to her, something that gives her relief.

“Whenever she has too much pressure, I help her relax. We walk together, we pray together, and so forth. She’s also close to her grandmother. They read the bible and pray together. She too has been a big part of her journey,” Mish says.

Zaria plans to keep singing, performing, and praising God until He shows her another direction to take. She would like to join the acting world too. Currently, she is recording her first album and she hopes to release more songs this year. She also plans not to give up on her other interests; instead she is analysing them closely to see how she can proactively pursue them to better her situation.

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