Esther Chungu is one of the most recognisable gospel artists in Zambia. She has released hits such as Paka Paka, Jehovah and Runaway Child.
She has shared the stage with greats such as Joe Thomas and Brain McKnight at the Stanbic Music Festival, and recently she was honoured at the bank’s Anakazi Women of the Year Awards for her contribution to music.
Anakadzi Banking was introduced by Stanbic Bank in 2017 and focuses on both increased access to finance and capacity building activities for women entrepreneurs.
This year they sponsored the Anakazi Women of the Year awards, a ceremony that celebrates exceptional women across various fields from agriculture to mining to media.
“The Anakazi Women of the Year Awards were a celebration of exceptional women. We hope that through our recognition of exceptional women we continue to inspire women to do great things in our society,” said Chanda Katongo, Stanbic Bank Head of PR and Communications.
“The Woman of the Year Award was my first award, and to be a part of such a great movement for women encouraged me to work harder. It felt like a game changer for me,” said Ms Chungu.
She comes from a musical family; her late father used to lead his church choir and play the guitar, while her mother also sings.
“I grew up around music because my parents were very actively musically, and I feel that has influenced my love for music and the message I want to spread through my music.”
Ms Chungu first discovered her talent for music when she noticed how happy people became when she sang. Although she was talented, she did not always want to be an artist. She grew up aspiring to be a lawyer, and even enrolled for the law programme at the University of Lusaka but dropped out after she decided to pursue a music career full time.
“I have always had a love and passion for music, but it was not my first career choice, however I decided to take it seriously as I career when I saw the joy I brought people when I sang.”
For Ms Chungu, music is more than just making people happy. She uses her music to minister the Christian word of God.
“I grew up in a Christian home and I got saved really young. I use my music to spread the word of God and I hope it brings people closer to God.”
Ms Chungu joined the popular poetry and music slum group Bittersweet in 2014 where she released some singles and gave impressive performances at their Bittersweet poetry nights.
After Bittersweet she impressed the music executives at the record label Brave Only, which is home to other big artists such as Mag44. They signed her, and in 2016 she released her first studio album: Mubanga. Mubanga was a huge hit and made Ms Chungu one of the most sought-after gospel artists in the country.
She has since gone on to perform to sold-out crowds around the country. One of her proudest moments as an artist in taking the stage at the Stanbic Music Festival.
“I really enjoyed myself at the Stanbic Music Festival it was such an honour to perform there I hope to perform there again,” she said.
Ms Chungu has many plans for her career going forward. She would like to tour extensively around Africa and the world.
“I really want to tour the world but mostly Africa. I want to learn as much I can about our continent and spread the word of God across the continent,” she explained.
Ms Chungu recently released a single called Mama to celebrate women, ad going forward she will keep making music and hopes her music will continue to make people happy and spread the word of God.