A Kenyan upcoming artist Mercy Atis has painfully narrated her experience of being jailed in a foreign country for 5 years and how she has tried to get back on her feet since she returned to the country.
The singer was forced to tell her story after facing criticism and endless troll over a song she released ‘I Don Wanna Know’ that went viral. In a detailed narration captured by Nationafrica, Atis recalls how she got an opportunity to travel to the USA not knowing of the woes that would befall her.
In 2005, Mercy landed a student’s visa that saw her travel to the USA under sponsorship by a local church from her home town Kisumu. According to her she was required to market Christian books of the church as well as enroll in a nursing course which she did and even started practicing.
Things took a different turn after she was arrested for arson and had to spend 5 years behind bars. It was at this point that she developed an interest and passion for music.
“In 2009, I was arrested for arson and jailed for five years. What do you do when you are arrested in a foreign country? No family visitations and you don’t know anybody? You start looking for solace. I turned to music. ” she stated
After serving her jail term, Mercy was also held at an immigration jail for nine months and she mentioned how she was on hunger strike for two of those months.It was in 2014 that she was deported and was very determined to be an accomplished musician.
“I returned aboard a military plane from California, the USA to Kenya dressed in a hospital gown. I was accompanied by eight people including a doctor and a therapist.
“There were no signs that coming back, a deportee, will make my life better as I had no money or assets to my name. However, on my way home, I have one resolve— to make it as a musician.” she stated
Upon her return, most of her family members did not want any connection with her and this forced her to stay with a friend.In the quest to earn a living, she resorted to menial jobs as well as hawking while in Kisumu before she luckily met an old friend who was willing to help her record her songs at an affordable rate.
Despite this effort, she did not have any breakthrough in her music career and she later relocated to Malindi.
Her recently released song ‘I Don’t Wanna’ Know’ is what should have marked as a breakthrough and victory but Mercy says that it has attracted more hate and criticism than earning her a fan base.
“When I shared my latest song titled “I don’t wanna know” on Facebook and YouTube through my stage name Mercy Atis, I didn’t expect to go viral…As an upcoming artist, this should have made me happy.
However, the first two nights were tough. I couldn’t sleep as I wondered why people were being so mean to me. ” she explained
Despite the overflowing trolls and the fact that she faces financial constraints that is slowing her music production process, Mercy says that she has over the years she has grown a thick skin and hope that things will eventually turn out better for her.
“The five years I was jailed taught me to be brave and persevere. We were encouraged to start a new life for ourselves. What I wasn’t prepared for, is that sometimes, the same people calling for your change will be the same one mocking the process.” she said
According to Mercy one of the best things that have happened since her song went viral is reconnecting with her Kenyan friend who lives in California USA after losing touch for eight years.