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Nimco Happy: The woman behind the TikTok sensation

Posted By : PrimenewsKenya
Nimco Happy: The woman behind the TikTok sensation
Nimco Happy: The woman behind the TikTok sensation

Nimco Happy’s name is now known and loved by millions of people around the world. But only a month ago, very few outside East Africa had heard of her.

Hers is a very 21st Century story.

Her song Isii Nafta, which is known in English as I Love You More Than My Life, recorded in 2017, was popular among Somalis and often played at weddings.

In October, a British-Somali TikTok influencer, Akafi Ali, posted a video of himself dancing to Isii Nafta at a wedding.

Something about the catchy song caught the imagination of his followers, and in a day the video had a million views.

Now there are more than 100,000 videos online of fans throwing shapes and singing along to Nimco’s song.

Celebrities have got in on the act, including US rapper Cardi B, South African comedian Trevor Noah, and British-Somali Olympic athlete Mo Farah.

It’s the biggest thing since Jerusalema, the South African song by a relatively unknown artist, Master KG, which took the world by storm a year or so ago.

The song has brought joy to all kinds of people, but especially Somalis, who are proud to be associated with something so positive and celebratory.

And what about Nimco herself? How has she reacted to her new found fame?

She hasn’t given many interviews, but with help from the BBC’s Mohamud Abdisamed in Mogadishu, where Nimco lives, we got to speak to her.

She began by telling us what it was like discovering she’d become a viral sensation:

"I was at home. I was sent a clip of a YouTuber saying that my song had the largest number of views on his platform. I told my husband. He said: 'Your song has become a huge hit.' I said: 'I don’t understand. How come...?' It was a shock to me, a dream-like surprise. I couldn’t believe it!

"I’ve always been ambitious, but I never thought a song of mine which had been around for years would become a massive hit like this.”

Nimco Happy was born in Mogadishu, but grew up in Hargeisa and Kenya's capital, Nairobi

She comes from an artistic family, most of whom are poets.

She became a full-time musician in 2015, and was a member of Fan-dhis Band in Nairobi, along with her uncle, Bushaawi.

One day, in 2017, she was asked to come to record a TV show as part of the Eid festivities.

"They asked me to sing this love song. I loved it straightaway, especially the chorus lines with mixed languages. it was new for Somalis to mix languages together like this.”

Isii Nafta includes English, Swahili and Arabic phrases, which has surely added to its appeal.

“The song has some good beats. It became an instant hit in our show.”

So what does Nimco Happy make of all the video of people dancing to her song?

"I am very delighted with them. I enjoy seeing happy people and I spend time watching their clips. I even try some of their dance moves and copy them when I really like their dance. I like to challenge myself with some of their hilarious dance moves!

A lot has changed in my life. Everyone likes me and respects me and welcomes me. I am wrapped in the Somali flag and everyone tells me that that they are proud of me and the fame that I have brought to the Somali nation. I have always loved Somalia. I believe that I am carrying the Somali name on my head and shoulders.”

So what is next for Nimco Happy? She has been signed by Polydor records, part of the Universal group:

"Insha Allah, I have plans. I will be singing in Somali and aiming for the international audience.“

"To my international fans thank you so much for putting me on this great stage.“

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BBC