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About Vanessa Mdee

Singer, songwriter, and TV personality Vanessa Mdee mixes her affectionate R&B with hip-hop, effervescent Afro-pop, and the Bongo Flava rhythms of her native Tanzania. Known as the first Tanzanian VJ on MTV, she found fame as host of TV series including Epiq Bongo Star Search before launching her singing career in 2012. Following some successful collaborations, she made her solo debut with "Closer" in 2013. Her full-length and Universal debut, Money Mondays, saw release in 2018.
Born Vanessa Hau Mdee in Arusha, Tanzania, she spent parts of her childhood in Arusha, Nairobi, Paris, and New York before attending the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2007, a 19-year-old Mdee auditioned in Dar es Salaam to be an MTV VJ. Her on-air resumé grew to include not only MTV but programs in countries elsewhere in Africa. She hosted the red-carpet segment of the MTV Africa Music Awards three years in a row. As host of a radio show called The Hitlist in the early 2010s, she interviewed the likes of Kelly Rowland, Mac Miller, and Ludacris, and in 2012, she presented the Kili Music Awards (aka the Tanzania Music Awards) as well as the TV talent show Epiq Bongo Star Search. That year, she also signed with B'Hits Music Group, leading to collaborations with Ommy Dimpoz ("Me and You") and rapper A.Y. ("Money"). "Me and You" was voted Song of the Year at the 2013 Kili Music Awards.
That year, Mdee released her first solo single, "Closer." It won R&B Song of the Year at the Kili Awards in 2014. In the meantime, she continued to work on television, interviewing artists including Miguel and Trey Songz for MTV in South Africa as she toured and played festivals in Tanzania and beyond. Mdee won multiple Kili Awards in 2015, including female artist of the year.
She spent much of the next couple years touring and working on her first album. Featuring hits like "Kisela" with Mr. P, her full-length debut, Money Mondays, arrived on Universal in January 2018. It became the year's best-selling album in East Africa. She kicked off 2019 with the hit song "That's for Me" featuring Distruction Boyz, DJ Tira, and Prince Bulo. That year, she also joined the judges' panel of the inaugural season of TV's East Africa's Got Talent. ~ Marcy Donelson

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