Suzanna Owiyo
National Goodwill Ambassador - Kenya

Born in Kasaye village, Nyakach, near Kisumu, Suzanna Owiyo was introduced to music at a tender age by her grandfather, who was a prolific Nyatiti player. During her high school years, her talent enabled her to win many trophies for her school during the provincial and national music festivals.

In 1998, she joined a Nairobi based singer Sally Oyugi as a back up vocalist and two years later she joined a local band, Bora Bora Sound in Kisumu as a background vocalist. It was here that a young business entrepreneur with a keen ear for music spotted her talent and presented her with a guitar to start her solo career. She returned to Nairobi and undertook music lessons at the Kenya Conservatoire of Music with an aim of perfecting her guitar skills.

In 2002, Suzanna worked on her first album Kisumu 100 under the guidance of a Tedd Josiah, an exceptional Kenyan music producer. The album became a great success and she received a nomination in the Kora Music Awards 2002 in the “Most Promising Female Artist” category. She was also nominated and won the same category in the Kisima Awards of 2003.

In June 2003, she had the opportunity to perform in Paris and later on in August she represented East Africa at the Pan-African Music Festival in Brazzaville where she sang alongside Youssou N’dour from Senegal, Koffi Olomide from DRC Congo, and Rebecca Malope from South Africa among other prominent African artistes. Her last performance that year was at a festival in Djibouti.

In 2004 Suzanna also gave donations to Mama Ngina Orphanage in Kisumu. She also performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, other distinguished guests included Tom Cruise, Patti Labelle, Cindy Lauper, Oprah Winfrey among others. This was in honor of the late Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai.

In 2005, she performed at the annual Corporate Council on Africa Summit in Baltimore, the World Trade Expo in Japan and the Ziff Festival in Zanzibar; Jamuhuri Day fete in Washington D.C. where she performed and made a series of appearances in Maryland, Baltimore and New York.

In 2006, Suzanna participated in a one month summer intensive course on Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida where she was awarded a certificate of participation and applied the skills to patients at the Mater Hospital in Nairobi for one year. Later on in December she performed at the Street Festival at Calabar in Nigeria.

In 2007, she sang at World Social Forum held in Nairobi, She was involved in the Local Government Sponsored Anti-corruption Campaigns and recorded a theme song. She also composed a theme song highlighting Kenya as a tourist destination for Kenya Tourist Board.

She performed at MASA Festival in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Yara Prize Awards in Oslo, and the New Years Eve Concert held in Maputo, Mozambique.

In June 2008, she performed at the Nelson Mandela Concert in Hyde Park, London in honor of his 90th birthday and fundraiser for his Aids awareness campaign. She also performed at the prestigious World Music Expo WOMEX, in Seville, Spain.

She also managed to expand her social circles and had the privilege to rub shoulders with President Obama of the United States of America.

In 2009 she had a performance at the Regional Zain Annual conference at Port Ghalib, Egypt and the Territorios Festival in Seville Spain. She performed at Nelson Mandela Concert at the Radio City Hall in New York and attained recognition as the 46664 Ambassador, which is a Nelson Mandela global campaign that promotes human rights and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. The slogan for the campaign was "It's All In Our Hands".

In 2011, she and Youssou N’dour had a tour dubbed New African Voices in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Paris, Besancon, Brussels, London and a solo performance in Oslo. Later on after launching her latest album, My Roots she and Oliver Mtukudzi, a legendary artist from Zimbabwe travelled to Kampala, Uganda and performed at fundraiser concert in support of children with cancer. This was an initiative by Bless A Child Foundation, who give hope, life and love to children in Uganda. Suzanna takes time from her busy career by participating in various advocacy and awareness campaigns that affect the society. She participated in a women empowerment project that was initiated by the Kenya Women Political Caucus. She received the prestigious Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya Award 2011 (OGW) from His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, as a recognition for her global achievements and efforts through music.

2012 She participated in a fundraiser dinner to support the education program for an NGO (Miss Koch Kenya) which provides a platform for the youth in urban slums.

Suzanna mobilized prominent women in Kenya to participate in a mock boxing tournament fundraiser. The guest of honor was the wife of the Prime Minister. The fundraiser was in support of Conjestina, who is undergoing treatment.She is the first African woman to win an International Boxing Match and she is ranked 5th in the World.

She is currently involved with Plan International, a four year Global Campaign known as “Because I Am A Girl”. Their main aim is to support millions girls to get the education, skills and support needed to help them move from poverty to opportunity. It was officially launched on 11th October 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

One of her main goals is to set up an art center under Suzanna Owiyo Trust, in order to nurture and develop talent in Kenya.

Suzanna Owiyo Official Website