From having musicians around her, to having good music play in the house all the time, Ruth Kulaisi-Chikoleka always liked singing.
“My mother was my first music teacher and my father bought me all the good music from Ron Kenoly to Kirk Franklin. Both my parents sang a lot when they were younger and so music has always been part of my life,” says Kulaisi-Chikoleka.
She grew up in a home full of music. Inevitably, she has built a passion for music and no wonder; she ends up as a musician.
Earlier this month, the singer emerged as the country’s winner in the second season of Airtel Trace Music Star competition, the biggest pan-African talent search outfit to be finalised in Nigeria later this year.
She carted home a prize of K10 million.
As winner, she is expected to travel to Lagos Nigeria, at the finals, where she will represent the country, competing with winners from Nigeria (the host country), Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and Zambia—-the newest African territory to enter the competition.
If she emerges winner at the continental show in Lagos, the 26-year-old will have the experience of her lifetime being mentored by the multi-award winning American singer and songwriter, Keri Hilson in Atlanta.
She also stands an opportunity to record a duet with the “Knock you Down” songstress and also receive a signed contract with a major music label and worldwide media exposure through various trace’s platforms.
The star says having the opportunity to represent the country at the Airtel Trace Music Star Competition in Lagos, is an awesome opportunity and honour.
“I didn’t think I would win, but I am so thankful that I have been entrusted with this. I cannot wait to go to Nigeria and rock on and share my love for music,” she says.
Chikoleka plans to hold concerts in the country to enable her to interact with her fans.
“I would like to interact with the people that have been so awesome supporting me and encouraging me. But as of now, my eyes are on Nigeria, which means rehearsals and song selections,” she says.
Having gotten married barely a week before her big win (April 30 2016), the singer was probably right to describe her win as an incredible marriage gift.
She is married to one of the country’s well-known artists, Noel Chikoleka, commonly known as Phyzix
Her parents, who she also describes as her closest friends lives in Lilongwe where her mother is running a business and is also in politics.
Her father on the other hand, leads the Hope International team in the country and is also a lay Pastor at Calvary Family Church (CFC).
“My parents are my role models. They have traits that I long to have. I really admire them. God has graced me with awesome people around me that love Him,” she says.
She was born in Mzuzu at Saint John’s Hospital, the first of three siblings. Her sister is Vicky and brother Precious.
Kulaisi-Chikoleka went to Kamuzu Academy for her high school studies and did Christian ministry at Global Heart Leadership College in Perth, Australia. Aside from that, she has pursued nursing and mass communication studies.
She is also a television presenter for Zodiak Television Station.
“My entertainment programme, ‘Fresh on Zodiak’ has given me the opportunity to have fun and work at the same time. Seeing as I love music, I go to all the big shows, which is even more fun,” says Kulaisi-Chikoleka, who comes from Ntcheu.
Her simple advice to a young girl who would like to become a singer: “I’d say go for it. Listen to different genres of music to have an even better feel of music and sound. The important thing is for you to remember that you are enough.
“Don’t go losing your integrity or becoming something you are not in music. If this circle rejects what you have to give, it is alright. Someone else needs what you have to give,” she says.
Her mother is one of the people that encouraged her most to join the Airtel Trace Music Star competition and even though she was busy with wedding preparations, she says her mother kept on reminding her to audition.
“I got to a point where I just had to do it and here I am now,” she says.
With 2.3 million calls made in its previous season, the Airtel Trace Music Star (ATMS) talent search is the biggest music competition to ever take place in Africa, according to the Trace TV website.
It won the “Best Pan-African Initiative” accolade at the prestigious AfricaCom Awards held in Capetown, South Africa.