With a crown of hair ringing her head and an unquenchable love for music, entrepreneur Muthoni Ndonga—better known by her stage name Muthoni the Drummer Queen (MDQ)—is every bit the bausslady.
She founded Kenya’s top music and art festival, Blankets & Wine in 2008 and is a chart-topping Hip Hop femcee. MDQ continues to hold her own in high-powered musical collaborations such as with Fugees member,.
Muthoni dreams big. Blankets & Wine’s reach? Global. Her ultimate Hip-Hop producer? Timbaland.
Her recent inclusion in the 2016 Voice Of America’s Women Rock series shows that the world is already paying attention. “That feature affirmed my process. It enabled me to highlight the mental work that goes into my music,” she says.
For her first Hip Hop record MDQ worked with Swiss producers GR and Hook. Their teamwork has become increasingly cohesive and Muthoni now considers them as equal members of the “MDQ idea”. Their high standards have brought finesse to her creativity.
It has also birthed innovative ideas such as the MDQ Music Card. “Music, like any other commodity, should be paid for. The card enables ease of distribution and guarantees return for the creative output,” she says.
The card ‘puts music into people’s pocket’ in a similar way as a CD. However, through the card, Muthoni is able to customise compilations for a more targeted audience and performance. “This is something a hard copy CD does not give,” she says.
When Blankets & Wine made its return this April after a year’s sabbatical, a new business new entity emerged: GoodTimes Africa. Backed by a global group of investors, the festival has created this pan-African platform in order to stage thrilling live events across the region including Africa Dance Party, Africa Nouveau and Live in Concert.
If the turnout and exciting post-event buzz are anything to go by, then MDQ’s plan to provide global cross-cutting solutions for entertainment and culture will certainly come to pass.
“I think you need to find the thing that’s truly really you and be stubborn about that thing, and build excellence into it,” she says.