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Designer backing vocalist’s double delight

By Trust Khosa

Fashion designer Felistus Chipendo says crooner Mbeu made her discover her hidden talent as a backing vocalist at a wedding ceremony in 2017.

Felistus Chipendo a.k.a Feli Nandi
Felistus Chipendo a.k.a Feli Nandi

Better known as Feli Nandi in both fashion and music circles, the stylish backing vocalist is now part of of Mhodzi Tribe after she passed the ‘quickest’ singing auditions three years ago.

Although used to sing in church, Nandi said she never imagined herself doubling as a singer since fashion designing has been her first love.

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She opened up to H-Metro on Wednesday as she celebrated her 28th birthday and popularity of her clothing line, Feli Nandi Apparel.

“I attended a wedding ceremony in Norton in 2017 where Mbeu was performing.

“It was also my first time to watch Mbeu perform live and I didn’t know him them.

“I was shocked when he invited me on stage to sing along with him and the guests were awe-struck,” she said.

Nandi said she was further shocked when Mbeu’s manager Eugine Museredza took her details.

“It happened so fast that I was a bit confused that I would become a backing vocalist for Mbeu’s Mhodzi Tribe.

“Mbeu sent me some songs to rehearse alone and the next week I found myself being part of Mhodzi Tribe.

“Mbeu kept on encouraging me to sing and today I am happy to be celebrating my birthday with the guys,” she said.

Nandi who has since released her new single titled Ndega Ndada, which has an accompanying video said she was discovering herself more.

“To date, I now have six singles to my name and Ndega Ndada is my latest and it has a video.

“Other singles that I have released comprise Woman dedicated to my mother, Mbeu cover of Hazvinei, Ndibateiwo among others.

“I have been recording these singles with the help of Mbeu and his team,” she said.

On her birthday message to female designers and backing vocalists, she said:

“We need to be strong, innovative and think outside the box.

“Overall, we need to enjoy what we are doing to be able to perform better. Nothing beats passion and dedication in whatever we are doing.”

She also called for professionalism among backing vocalists, especially those working with males.

“People will respect you depending on how you carry yourself around and in my case, I now consider Mbeu’s outfit as family.

“We drink and wine together after shows which has also made me feel part of the group.

“The boys treats me like one of their own and that’s why you see that there is chemistry among us on stage wherever I perform.

“It’s hard to convince people that I have been singing for the past three years but that is the reality of the matter,” said.

The mother of two boys – aged seven and four years respectively – said fashion designing was her fall back plan.

She said she has managed to win hearts of many through the designs she make.

The ever smiling Nandi hailed friends, Mbeu and family for making her birthday worthwhile.

It’s double delight for the diva who is celebrating her birthday and existence Feli Nandi Apparel. H-Metro

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