Love her or loathe her, but surely you cannot ignore her. Wendy â€˜Sizzlaâ€™ Harawa stands as probably Malawiâ€™s best female dancehall artist.
She has captured the hearts of music lovers in Malawi and beyond with her sexy dancing antics.
Wendy, who has collaborated with more musicians locally and beyond the border than most local female artists, offers a welcome antidote and stands out as an epitome of girl power in the Malawian secular music echelons.
â€œI do what I do because I love what I do. Music is my life,â€ says the dancehall queen.
Fame, for Wendy, has an expensive price tag.
In recent years, she has made headlines for the wrong reasons than for her talent.
Is Wendy a victim of bad media hype? Or is it just a matter of bad luck?
Whatever the answer, the truth is Wendy is a gifted songstress with an exceptional vocal range and an unassailable swagger.
She came to the limelight in 2001 with her first solo album Nowa Kusowa which had hits like Ndakana.
This was followed by Hero in 2003, which had the popular Unalonjeza.
But in 2010, the media was awash with reports that she had been heavily battered by Zambian singer of Fendela Fenduze fame, Petersen, who was alleged to be her love. Petersen was arrested by Zambian police and charged with assault.
Later, Wendy was reported to have been beaten up by her Malawian boyfriend, a Gwedeza.
And as if this were not enough bad publicity, Wendy and her one-time close friend Memory Ngâ€™oma reportedly fought over a visiting Zambian musician, Baska Baska of Nafuti Nafuti fame.
Grown up Wendy
But Wendy says she has put the past behind her, adding she is now grown up and what might have happened was part of the growing process.
â€œLet the sleeping dogs lie,â€ she says adding: â€œMost of these stories are rubbish; I just donâ€™t want to talk about it because thereâ€™s no iota of truth in [the stories].â€
She says she is not proud of everything that happened to her in the past.
â€œI know there are a lot of things I could have changed if I delved back into my past but the past is there for us learn and build a future from,â€ she says.
Wendy says her baby Nalliah, who is now five years, is the best thing that ever happened to her and that she took a break from her music to give her undivided attention.
Wendy last album Africa, was released in 2007, the year her daughter was born.
â€œMy baby has given me all the reasons to smile and look at life in a positive way. She has made me grow up and look at life differently.
â€œIn my career, I have so many highs and lows but I count them both as blessings,â€ she states.
Born at Blantyre Day Adventist Hospital, 33-year-old Wendy reveals she wanted to be a musician all her life.
â€œWhen I started music, my family never liked it, for obvious reasons that our society stereotypes girls who are in music as immoral. However, after realising that it is what I wanted to do, my family became supportive. They understood my passion since I started singing at a very tender age,â€ she says.
Wendy is grateful to her father for encouraging her to be educated because education has equipped her with knowledge.
â€œI urge young girls who want to pursue a career in music to first work hard in school. For one to survive in this industry, one needs education,â€ says the songstress, who started her music career with music maestro Lucius Banda.
â€œI am grateful to Lucius for believing in me. In this business, you need an entry point and old hands to guide you through but youâ€™ll have to show that youâ€™re ready and up for it,â€ she says.
Wendy says on the local scene, she admires a lot of artists but topping the bill is Malawiâ€™s living legend, Paul Banda.
â€œPaul Banda is my favourite local musician of all time. He is a symbol and beacon of Malawi music,â€ she says.
Wendy is every inch a world class performer. But does she have the moral fibre to be a role model?
â€œIâ€™m all grown up now and I know most girls look up to me, including my daughter. My fourth album will show Malawians that I am now a grown up artist and thereâ€™s going to be fire in it. Iâ€™ve matured, so has my music,â€ says Wendy.