Former Citizen TV and Hot 96 FM presenter, Liz Anyango, can be described as one of those remarkably strong women who look a challenge in the eye and give it a cheeky wink.
Her tale embodies what it takes to make it to the very top, with seemingly insurmountable hurdles along the way.
Speaking exclusively to Kenyans.co.ke, the free-spirited professional emcee, opened up on her struggles to leave a mark on the world.
Unknown to most, Liz was a straight-A student during her high school days at Huruma Girls, and once she aced her KCSE, Kenyatta University invited her to join its bio-Chemistry program.
However, she rejected the offer. "I loved sciences and was pretty good at it, but a career in a lab just wasn't for me," she told this writer.
During her high school days, she fell in love with being an entertainer as an active member of the drama club, where she honed her skills.
It was during this same period that she first met Radio Citizen presenter, Vincent Ateya, as he used to take the girls through their various choral verse presentations.
"He really helped me master my voice because he kept barking out 'Toa sauti kwa tumbo (you need to channel your voice from your gut),' she stated.
This stuck with her and brewed her love affair with broadcast media. It was this passion that led her to enroll at Daystar University for a double major in electronic media and public relations, despite having no clue where she'd get her fees.
However, Liz channeled her industrious nature and offered to work as an English tutor at the campus for a 30 per cent discount on her fees.
She then got a job at a telco call centre where she used to make Ksh13,000 a month. However, with her rent in Umoja Estate set at Ksh 5,000, she needed to find another source of income if she was to make it to her final year.
It was during this period in her life that she fell into a career that would come to redefine her future.
Veteran DJ, Karezz, discovered her voice and decided to take her under his wing for a karaoke project he was hosting once a month at the prestigious Outspan Hotel in Nyeri.
She was an instant hit, going on to host karaoke nights all across Nairobi's joints such as Tropez, City Space and later on Natives, as well as Whiskey River.
"I used to report to the call center along Mombasa Road at 7.30 a.m. to 5 p.m, go for the 5.30 p.m. class running until 8:30 p.m., then I'd be off to host karaoke shows until around 1 a.m." she explained.
She maintained this crazy schedule for four years, going on to graduate with flying colours.
As fate would have it, the energetic media personality ran into her future employer as she was auditioning for a karaoke host gig at Rafikiz Bar.
"That's where I met David -who turned out to be my future employer. He was impressed by not just my articulation and command on the mic, but by my little extra tidbits that I always add during my karaoke show," she reminisced.
He offered her a job at Royal Media Services, where she went on to work as a news presenter at Hot 96 FM and part of the editorial team at Citizen TV, a position she went on to serve for five years.
During this entire time, she maintained her crazy schedule as she just couldn't get away from her love for hosting karaoke shows.
She then decided to walk out of her media career to rekindle her energy and love for the game.
"Working in the editorial department can be draining and it eventually takes a toll on your energy levels. This is especially so if you are constantly covering heartbreaking news," she narrated.
Liz is now a fully-fledged emcee and currently hosts karaoke night every Wednesday at Halycon Lounge in Kitengela and several other spots in Nairobi, with #thevoiceofyourevent as her tagline.
On February 8, she was acknowledged as the best emcee corporate social and karaoke shows in 2020 during the Talent-Preneur Award Gala held at the Nairobi Film Center on February 8.
She is also currently working on setting up a mentorship program with Nairobi Women Rep Esther Passaris in Umoja and Kayole estates in Nairobi.
"It's important for anyone coming up to know that your success is not dependent on where you come from but rather your mindset and willingness to put in the work," she quipped.
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