By Prudence Minayo
Article updated on: 21/07/2021
Shiru Wa GP is a popular Kenyan gospel musician and songwriter who sings in the Agikuyu language. The popularity of this artist is undeniable if the views she garners on YouTube channel are anything to go by. And she does this effortlessly devoid of the theatrics Kenyan artists employ to attract viewers. Her latest music video ‘Mwaki’ has amassed over 400,000 views in just a week. ‘Irema’, a song she released two years ago has over 5 million views. Shiru Wa Gp’s official name is Mary Wanjiru and she hails from Ngegu, Kiambu county.
The gospel songwriter was born in 1983.
Mary Wanjiru attended Loreto Primary School in Turitu before moving to Githurai, Nairobi to live with her uncle.
Family and Early Life
Behind every successful person, there is a story. Some had it easy while others had very humble beginnings and the singer comes from the latter. To provide for her children, the musician’s mother would sell chang’aa (an illegal brew in Kenya). It was her job to keep watch so that she reports to her mother when the police came snooping around. In class five, she discovered her passion for music. One day, teachers called her at break time and asked her to perform a song which she did like a star and they were impressed. This filled her heart with great joy. After primary, she moved to Githurai and started seeing various gospel groups perform and this jump started her career as a musician. Upon returning to Kiambu, she joined the AP dancing group and they formed Kiambu Chosen Generation Dancers.
Around this time she also started attending service at the Independent Church which laid the foundation of her Christianity, even though she didn’t attend the church regularly. She gave her life to Christ. After going back to Nairobi, she started attending a Home Care fellowship in Kahawa under Rev. Anne Kamau.
When she went back to Kiambu, her mother was very disappointed about her salvation. This is because she could not perform her usual police spying duties. Food became a problem and her mother blamed her for that. Whenever, she inquired, she was told to go eat at the police station since the police had carried everything as there was no one to keep watch. One day, the mother followed her daughter to church and was also able to receive Christ.
While doing odd jobs and still being active in praise and worship, she fell in love with Thuo, a keyboard player. They wedded at Kiambu deliverance church. Her husband has been of great support to her music. He would play the piano as she practiced her songs.
For a very long time after the marriage, Shiru Wa GP was not able to give birth. Friends humiliated her until isolation became a solution. In an interview with Word Is, she said that she almost gave up but God remembered her after nine years. The singer was blessed with twins, a boy and girl, who were born prematurely. Unfortunately, after one and a half months, the boy passed away. This was a very heart breaking moment for the family. She was also admitted in the hospital due to a chest infection and her daughter was still in hospital. The bills accumulated and she was even hosted by Njogu wa Njoroge on Kamene FM, where over 4.5 million was raised to help foot the bill. Nonetheless, the singer went home with her bundle of joy whom she really thanked God for.
After her mother got saved, she stopped brewing illegal liquor which meant the family had no regular source of income. Mary Wanjiru did some odd jobs, and even worked as a house help to help the family earn a living. After getting married, she continued practicing her music but raising money to record her songs was a challenge. Therefore, she sought help from her pastor Mr. Hinga who organized a fundraiser and she was able to record her first song “Muoroto” at Big Heart Studios. This was followed by marketing of her music which got her pretty good sales. Her husband went to complete his education and she assumed the role of family provider. Two years later, she released a song called “Agiginyani” to motivate her not to give up even if they were going through challenges as a newly wedded couple. The song became a hit prompting her to resign from the Wilson Airport where she had been working at the time. This song opened so many doors, including a chance to perform in the United States of America. She stayed there for three months and visited over 10 states. From then on, the gospel singer has been releasing hit after hit. The songs have been a massive success and have helped her establish her name in the industry
In 2016, she turned down her groove award selection, seven days after the anticipated rundown turned out. She had been assigned in the Central counties song of the year class for the song “Ihinda Ria Kinya.” The declaration was made on her Facebook page:
“Goodbye, on the issue of Groove Awards. I have chosen to offer up and coming Craftsmen the chance to be named. I thank the Lord for your ceaseless help. Much appreciated,” she wrote.
In 2018, the celebrated Kikuyu singer was announced the winner of Central Counties Song of the Year during the Grove Awards. This was courtesy of her song “Irema” meaning scars. She wrote this song to encourage herself after the loss of one of her twins.
- Githima Kiama
- Nduri Wiki
- Mutugo Waku
- Ngoro Yakwa
- Nikuri Ngai
- Ngai Wa Etereri
- Uhoro Uyu
- Jana Imepita
- Itua Riega
- Amba Utige
- Ngai Ni Ngai
- Alpha Na Omega
Sets new YouTube Record
The artist’s YouTube channel has garnered 68 million plus views, the highest number ever recorded by a Kenyan female gospel musician. An elated Shiru wa GP took to social media to express her joy.
Ngaii Ngaiii Wakwa eee…. (Ooh my God) Glory and honour to God. Named the first female Kenyan gospel musician to have 68+ million views on Youtube. Thank you and congratulations to my team and my fans all over for this milestone of being a central Kikuyu gospel artist. I love y’all. I’m humbled.”
The video with the highest views is Mucamo with over 7.7 million views, Mucamo and Mwaki with 6.2 million and 5.5 million views respectively.