La talentueuse Patricia Kazadi
EM: Tell us about your background ?
PK: My name is Patricia Tshilanda Kazadi. I was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland. My father is from Lubumbashi, raised in Kinshasa. That's how I got my african roots. My ethnicity has been always very vibrant in me so when Tina Lobondi reached out to me, inviting me to be on the cover of ESIMBI I didn't think twice! I am so happy to talk closer to my compatriots. My career in the entertainment world started very early. My Mom always jokes that I was dancing before I even started to walk. She isn't far from the truth as I booked my first role at the early age of 2. I was at a department store with her and she was trying out some shoes she wanted to buy, I got bored and started performing in front of a fitting room mirror. My dancing was so intense and animated that it attracted the attention of a theatre director that was also shopping in that store. She approached me and my Mom and invited me to my first ever audition. I won and booked my first role in a music video. Since that day, for the past 10 years I worked really hard but couldn't get my real break. It all changed when I turned 15 and booked my first leading role in a tv series. it was a turning point in my career, I finally found my place in showbusiness and have been pursuing my dreams, constantly evolving ever since.
EM: You are now a singer, dancer and presenter for TV show XFactor, Which one is your favourite?
PK: This is is such a hard question as I love ALL my jobs and I am extremely grateful that I have the opportunity to do what I love for so long. But if I have to be fully honest, music is what I wouldn't be able to live without. Music is in everything I do, if I don't sing - I write, if I don't listen to music - I dance. It's the essence of who I am and what I represent. It also was the root of what I do, my whole career was based on music. My biggest inspiration and idols in life were Michael Jackson and Papa Wemba - two musicians whose music and energy to their audience was out of this world. I could name so many of their songs that got me through my hardest times, for example "Awa Y'okeyi". That's also why performing that song with Papa Wemba in Kinshasa couple years ago - was so far the best day in my life and to me the highlight of my career. To stand on stage in the country of my roots and perform with the artist whose work had an immense impact on my career was overwhelming as well as the love I received at that moment from my fellow Congolese. Papa Wemba was an inspiration, an incredible human being, classy definition of a real Star - just everything I imagined him to be. I am so thankful I got to meet him before he passed.
EM: Is being a TV présenter a career you want to pursue?
PK: Yes, I definitely have plans to evolve in that field. I want to create shows that give viewers the opportunity to learn more, see the world, expand their horizons and most importantly bring them some happiness. There is so much misery in the world so if I can make people forget about their problems even for an hour, that would be all I could ask for. So one day, I would love to have my own day or night show, to follow the paths of such brilliant hosts as Ellen Degeneres or Jimmy Fallon. Maybe one day, we will see. :) This year I made the decision to take my TV career a step further and dip my toes into the production world. I'm developing two travel shows, one will be on air this June. This is really exciting as I will not only host, produce but also write the show.
EM: How was your transition to the big screen?
PK: I felt like the transition to the big screen came naturally. I've been acting in many TV series throughout the years both as a leading and supporting actress. Getting on to the big screen was a major dream come true for me. Mainly because throught my career, I was told "NO" so many times. I've heard that as a woman of colour in Poland, I will never be able to act in movies as a leading lady, that because I'm black. I won't be able to be on magazine covers or host prime time shows. I proved all those people wrong and to me that's the biggest achievement. The knowledge that I was the first to do it and that I led the way for other mixed kids and hopefully made it easier for them to fulfill their dreams with no prejudice.
EM: Could you tell us about your most challenging job?
PK: My most challenging but at the same time the most fascinating role so far was the role of Reri in the movie "BODO". I not only had to act but also perform, dance, sing in a manner very different to what I was used to. The movie was based on the real story of a 1930's Hollywood star with roots from Tahiti. I had to learn to mimic her movements, accent, the way she smiled and walked. It was the most amazing adventure! The preparation for this role took 3 months. If I could do it all over again I would, no doubt. Roles like this is why I got into this business in the first place. To grow, learn and push myself to be better with every project I take. My next goal is to create a movie about Congo. I really want to give our beautiful country and culture more exposure. We have so much to share with the world. I want everyone to see it!
EM: Tell us about your time at « YouCanDance ».
PK: "YOU CAN DANCE" has been so far the most fun I've had in my life. I will always look back on that times with a huge smile on my face. I was definitely a bit nervous but I jumped in, took that opportunity with no questions asked. Hosting a prime time show at this young age was a huge responsability and a lot of pressure. The level of entertainment, controlling the crowd and the jury pannel, making sure that the whole script is delivered correctly, all of that in hands of one person. I don't think I realised it at the time. I just was having fun! My hosting was raw, natural and real. I think that's what got me the support and sympathy of the viewers. The fact that I was just being myself, fully and trully. It was something different. My work has been recognized by the creators of the show from UK and the States. It led to other amazing hosting opportunities. I even got a letter congratulating me as it turned out I became the youngest host of the show worldwide. We traveled the world, worked 18 hours a day and never complained. I was never tired, the best times EVER!
EM: You love fashion and received nominations twice, how was your reaction when you receive the news?
PK: I don't see myself that way. It's a huge compliment and I really appreciate it. I loved fashion since I was little. I love to try different things, outfits, make up, hair styles. To me nothing is off limit. It started very early, even as a little girl before going to school the evening before, I was already planning what I am going to wear. The colours had to match, every outfit was accessorized accordingly. There was no place for coincidence. (haha) Now, I have a more loose approach. Sometimes, I just wear the first piece of garment I find in the closet but I still really enjoy styling and playing with it. If I wasn't in this business, I would probably style others, like actors or football/basketball players.
EM: You have your own designs with the brand ANSWEAR. Was being a designer something you thought about?
PK: I always dreamt of expanding my brand. To create something that I could leave behind after I'm gone. Being a fashion designer or having my own clothing line is definitely something that I have plans for the near future. Right now, I'm focusing on finishing my beauty line which will be available by the end of this year. We have been working really hard to make sure the quality is exceptional. I hope the products I am working on will also appeal to my beautiful Congolese girls and women! The colours are bright, fresh and the intensity of pigments will blow your mind. I can't wait for you all to see and try them.
EM: What was your inspiration for your designs?
PK: My inspiration derives from everything around me. From the food I eat, people I surround myself with, music I listen to, even the nature. I draw from each and every piece of life. Of course I am fashion conscious, I observe many fashion designers, bloggers, fashionistas. If I physically can't attend Fashion week, I always do my press homework afterwards. But I am not a fashion victim either. I observe the trends but I love to blend them with everyday life. My style is a fusion of classic vintage with street style with a little infliction of my ethnic roots. I take new, fancy items and put them together with clothes that I found in my Mother's or Grandmother's closet. Nothing better than taking from each era something special and creating magic with it. Most importantly I have a loose approach towards fashion designing, putting outfits together. One can't forget that it should be most and foremost, FUN!
EM: Your last album was back in 2015, "Dark Pop". Are you working on some new music?
PK: Yes, I am currently working in the studio on my third album. This record is going to be a little less dark than my previous one, I want to make sure I give my Congolese people some amazing songs to dance to. I want to blend my pop songwriting with a little bit more soul and live instrumentalisation. The premiere date is set to be in the beginning of 2019 but we will release a single before that. I had a three year break in touring so I cannot wait to get back on stage and connect with people who love music as much as I do. Hopefully this time around I will get to perform in Congo and the rest of Africa as well. That would be amazing!
EM: What is your next project?
PK: This year is going to be very busy for me which makes me really happy. I don’t like when my days are becoming a routine, I constantly love to come up with new ideas. I am working on several projects at the moment. Two movies that I have been a part of are having their premieres later this year. I’m still doing the voice over for Bliss the new “Powerpuff Girl” on Cartoon Network and last but not least, in a couple of months I’m making my big return to the theatre. In May, the audience in Poland will be able to see me in a fun comedy role. I haven't been on theatrical stage since I was a little girl, so this is extremely terrifying (haha) but I feel like this is going to be a deliberating experience that will help me overcome my timidness and fears. Some people find it hard to believe but I am a very shy person and performing in front of an audience has been an on going everyday battle for me, so I am really looking forward to testing and pushing my limits!
EM: What advice would you give to your Congolese fans?
PK: At this moment of my life, the advice I could give is to not take yourself too seriously. Take every day as a chance to make it the best day of your life. Enjoy it! Dream and make your dreams reality. You think you dream big? Dream bigger! Trust me I know it's difficult because life has been hard on me, but giving up on dreams or on yourself and who you are destined to be is not an option. I know a lot of Congolese people are going through hard times, everyday struggles can drag you down but try to think positive. Every day, there is always at least one thing you can be happy about and grateful for. Life is just your journey, it's not your destination. Be a good human being to others but most importantly to yourself. You can't help others if you are not fulfilled with joy inside first. Surround yourself with people who inpsire and elevate you then build together. The future of this country and the world is in YOUR hands, use your power!