Tell us about yourself?
I am a music artist, collaborating with other artists in an effort to create content for the African music market. I am
a Pan-Africanist. I love nature, culture, people and family.
People in your field that you admire?
I admire, Hugh Masekela, Erick Wainaina, Suzanna Owiyo, Habib Koite, Olive Omutujju—the list is just
How do you incorporate creativity in your free time?
In my line of work being an artist, you are constantly doing things that require you to create. So my free time is filled up with very innovative ways of doing things. I have a very innovative approach to everything; from cooking,
talking, to playing around with languages- pretty much everything I do. And when it comes to music, I love to not
say things flatly but to find a way to creatively say things.
What is your perspective on the music industry?
The industry has really grown in the past five years. I started out in 2008, that’s ten years ago, so if I look 5 years back, I am so impressed at where the industry is now. We are at a place where we can appreciate art, we can look at different art forms and find audiences for it. From visual art to performed art and I feel there has been a growth, especially in Kenya because it had been a very lacking environment and I’m happy that we are actually growing. It’s better than it’s ever been, in fact right now it’s a beautiful sunrise for the music industry.
Do you think the industry has evolved from when you started?
Yes. As I mentioned before, we’ve come a far way. There is so much that has developed. For example: PRSK- the Performance Rights Society of Kenya and Kenya Corporate Board that protect artists from corporate infringement. Somethings makes sure we are covered, insured. It was interesting when I got the call the other day to go pick up my
health insurance car as a registered member from PRSK.
Do you think there are enough youth opportunities?
Of course there are! Youth opportunities shall not be created by the government. They shall not be created by society. They shall not come from anywhere else apart from the youth themselves. We create our own opportunities, we are supposed to look into society and see what is lacking and create means to meet the needs. I read somewhere that if you want to make it in life, if you want to be successful in life, find a need and meet that need. The moment we identify needs in society, then we have created opportunities for ourselves because we find purpose and I don’t need to talk so much because there are enough youth opportunities. We shall not sit back and wait for the government to fix it. It’s not going to happen, we’ve been waiting since the 1960s, and it’s 2018. Wake Up, find what’s fits you as a young man, as a young woman and run with it.
What are the challenges of being a musician in Africa?
Of course it’s there, but it’s mostly financial. I don’t believe the creative aspect is really an issue, because being a creative in Africa and being a musician especially in Africa, you cannot compare the competition with the developed
world ‘coz they’d had it for years. They’ve been doing it for years, had time to evolve and grow with it in a way we also emulate from them, we learn a lot from them and we adopt and borrow a lot of technology from them, but I feel like
being a musician in Africa is a challenge because everything already exists there—techwise.
If you need to do the coolest video, the equipment is here. If you need a script, we have amazing talent, right here in Africa but can we be able to afford this level of skill? It can be challenging for a young Kenyan to balance local identity with international influence. How do you think we can best keep and promote the Kenyan brand?
I feel the Kenyan brand may be best promoted by going back to our roots. The Kenyan brand is not—we do not have a sound that is distinctively Kenyan. We have borrowed from all over the place. We had a chance to do that in the 1960s and before the colonial masters, came but we have been too disunited to have that.
I’m not saying it’s impossible but it has been too long that we have been used to adopting and conforming that, currently, it may be difficult to find our own voice—right now, Nigerian hits are raging so we follow that trend; dancehall is cool right now, everyone does dancehall; hip hop is banging, we all follow hiphop. Nothing against that, but I feel like, do your hip hop yes, but give it a feel of where you are from—what do they chant, or traditional instrument that they use. Have a piece of that, sneak that into your music and that’ll make it original. That’s going to be yours, Kenyan.