Judith Nyambura Mwangi (born 30 April 1986), better known by her mononym Avril, is a Kenyan singer-songwriter, actress and entertainer. She was formerly signed to Ogopa Deejays, one of the leading music production and record labels in Kenya. As a singer, she is popularly known for her singles “Mama”, “Kitu Kimoja”, “Chokoza” and “Hakuna Yule”. As an actress, she is best known for playing Miss B’Have on Shuga: Love, Sex, Money (2012). Avril’s contribution to the Kenyan Entertainment Industry has earned her one Nzumari Award, one Kisima Music Award, one Golden Mic Award and two Chaguo La Teeniez Awards.
Biography and music career
Avril was born and raised in Nakuru, the former capital of the Rift Valley Province. She was very active in drama and music festivals whilst in high school. She later relocated to Nairobi to pursue an undergraduate education. In 2005, she partook in the Jaza Lorry initiative and met talent manager Emmanuel Banda of Ogopa Deejays Production. Although Banda tried convincing her to venture into music, Avril remained hesitant at the time. She enrolled at the University of Nairobi in 2006 and studied design. During her second year at UoN, she changed her mind about music and recorded her first single (“Mama”) after signing a record deal with Ogopa. The song was released in 2009 and sent to radio stations across Kenya. Avril was later featured on Colonel Mustapha’s “Mtaani dot com” (sometimes stylised as “mtaani.com”). The music video for “Mtaani dot com” was released and uploaded onto YouTube on 15 October 2009.
Avril began to gain prominence following her collaboration with A.Y on his 2010 single “Leo” (Remix). Her collaborative single with Sudanese singer Lam, titled “Changes”, was released in Sudan. In November 2010, she was featured on Marya’s breakthrough single “Chokoza”; the song was released to critical acclaim and received numerous radio airplay. On 31 January 2012, Avril released her single “Kitu Kimoja”. The music video for the song was shot at a resort on the Kenyan coast line. In February 2013, Avril released “Hakuna Yule”. The music video for the single was uploaded onto YouTube on 15 February 2013. In January 2014, Avril debunked rumours regarding her exit from Ogopa Deejays and said that the relationship she has with Ogopa executives was built on understanding. In March 2014, Avril was featured on the chorus of Boomba Boyz’s 2014 single “Piga Kengele”. In July 2014, Avril performed at the Tusker Meru 7 after party.
2011–12:Shuga: Love, Sex, Money
Avril made her acting debut in the second season of the television soap opera, Shuga. She played the character Miss B’Have, a vicenarian celebrity singer who is a firm believer in monogamous relationships. She also played Belinda, a minor character. She was offered the roles after auditioning for the producers of the show. In a 2012 interview with Capital Lifestyle, Avril said that playing both characters was therapeutic. She also said that starring in the series was an emotional rollcoaster due to the feelings she developed for her co-star Nick Mutuma. Moreover, she said that starring in the series reminded her about the dangers of HIV/AIDS. 2013–14:Noose of Gold (Season 5)
In February 2013, Laura Walubengo of Africa Magic reported that Avril joined the cast of M-Net’s Noose of Gold. She played the role of Corrine, a drug trafficker. Musical influences and humanitarian work
Avril has cited Amani, Blu 3, Tiwa Savage, Liquideep, Alicia Keys and Beyoncé as musicians who inspired her. She also cited Michael Jackson, Kenny Rogers, Alicia keys and Beyoncé as her favourite artists. Her inspiration to write and record music stems from her life experiences, as well as from the experiences of her love ones. Avril has been involved in several humanitarian campaigns, including the Chagua Amani Peace Campaign and Kenya Land Alliance. In February 2015, she became one of East Africa’s ambassadors for Oriflame Sweden, and AMREF’s Save an African Mother Campaign.