Detox Diary: My Vegetarian story

When you leave the world you have known all your life, for the unknown, things change. Sometimes for the better. Also, something within you changes. You might have Continue reading

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No Ceilings.

Comedian Eric Omondi cracking Jimmy's ribs.

Comedian Eric Omondi cracking Jimmy’s ribs.

Seeing Eric Omondi in the same space as Jimmy Fallon telling jokes reminds me of the day Lupita won the Oscars. I do not understand how Continue reading

Are you the next Airtel Trace Music Star?

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The second Season of the biggest Pan-African music competition is back and definitely bigger but it is also coming to a close. In a couple of hours. The second cycle has ten contesting countries Kenya, DRC, Gabon, Ghana,Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Niger and Zambia.

Taking up music as a career is challenging enough and breaking into any music industry is even harder. Some pull here and a shove there has helped people get out of their cocoon, while other people never make it past the church choir. Not like its a bad thing, I’m just saying.

Many talented people are shy. Even Beyonce is shy. Imagine that. So Airtel saw it fit to give each and every contestant star treatment by bringing the audition to you. No queues, no nerves, not even judges with blank faces that make you think you should stick to singing in the shower.

You have hours left to call in and audition for your chance to be the next big artiste. I know, you are probably asking why I am doing this now? Because I know there is someone too afraid to reach out and call. C’mon. What do you have to lose? Ok, if you don’t want or need the phone or money, just do it then give me the prizes. I will appreciate. Thanks.

Phy (Ng’etich) is proof that last minute does works. Serving her IG followers with heavenly renditions, she says “Murda (by Seyi Shay) Kinda reminds me of how I auditioned for Airtel Trace. I was seated at the same place and I used my guitar as well. I auditioned on the deadline day too, using my mum’s phone, so I figured there was no way I’d be chosen. But God has His mysterious ways because a month later during an exam period I got a call. It could be you!”

All you require is a phone and an airtel line. Dial 0900733733, call, sing, Win. The top 5 will be picked by the official judges, three musical geniuses Wyre, Atemi and Chris Adwar.

Prizes include an iPhone 6s (how I wish I could sing), KES 1.5M, and a chance to be mentored by Keri Hilson and record a song with her. If that is not incentive enough I do not know what is. See you on the winning side.

#VoteSilvia for #KCA2016

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Whenever you start a project, you don’t expect it to fail. That’s why you wake up, plan and work at it with all you have, even though some of us fall off the bandwagon faster than others. It is those that remain disciplined and faithful to their hustle that will get an eventual breakthrough or recognition.

Silvia Njoki is not a foreign name to the blogging fraternity. She is a leading Kenyan Stylist and veteran blogger. Her relentless desire to become a force to reckon with in the Pan-african fashion industry has borne fruit by being nominated for the prestigious Nickelodeon’s 2016 kids’ choice awards under the “Best Blogger (Africa)” category.

The 2015 BAKE Award winner of Fashion Blogger of the year is nominated alongside Aisha Baker from South Africa of Baked the Blog, Uche Eze from Nigeria of Bella Naija, and Theodora Lee from South Africa Of TheodoraLee.com. This is quite the stiff competition and we need to bring this award home because if she wins, Kenya wins too.

Other highlights from this year’s list of nominees include Adele, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Chris Pratt, The Weeknd, John Boyega, One Direction, Sofia Vergara, Daisy Ridley, Chris Hemsworth, Nickelodeon’s very own Kira Kosarin, Jack Griffo, Jace Norman and more.

You know how we sometimes complain that Kenyan’s might never win against other African countries in such big competitions? The answer is simple, we hardly vote religiously. Fan or not, take your time to vote daily as many times as you possibly can. It might be last minute but we all know last minute has saved the day sometimes. We can as well call this fashionably late.

Voting is still open for all categories on Nickelodeon’s digital platforms including kca.Nickelodeonafrica.com; fans will also be able to vote on Nickelodeon’s Twitter feed @NickelodeonAfrica using #Vote #KCA #voteSilvia. We have until tomorrow morning, lets go ham.

That’s not all: To win an all-expenses paid trip to attend the KCAs, you can sign up here

 

#MusicMonday: Introducing Songoma

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Motorbikes better known as “nduthis” have become a significant form of alternative transport in Nairobi so why not make a song about them? The freshest afro-pop boy band in Kenya released quite the relatable next door kind of love story jam.

“We take pride in being the freshest band because we would like to believe that we have come up with a style that hasn’t been explored before. We are three different individuals with unique styles and merged them to come up with Songoma Music.”

The individuals come from different backgrounds and therefore their music is made up of a mixture of languages including English, Swahili, Kirundi and French. This they say is what sets them apart as well. With that, they do not lean towards any particular genre but allow themselves to explore without limits.

Inspired by a real life event, Party kwa nduthi is all about enjoying life’s simple pleasure’s with your favorite person. “You could go to a very fancy place but you are not comfortable, and there are times when you are not at the fanciest of places but the company makes every minute worth it,” they all agree.

From their presentation, you can tell they get along together quite well and are close. The trio met at Sauti Academy; A music school run by Penya Africa, class of 2012. Fess, Mwachari and Abishai albeit doing their solo projects came together in 2013 but they were on and off because of either one of them being unavailable for one reason or another.

Fess was on Tusker Project Fame, he won a recording deal which occupied most of his 2013. Mwachari was onto acting, jewel designing and worked on a couple of projects with Eric wainaina. Abishai worked in a studio, producing tracks including his own. They took it up in 2014 and hit the ground running.

They might appear to have been thrust into the limelight very suddenly but they are not new to showbiz. They started out doing shows together at weddings and events to push their name out there. Around the same time that Abishai was still working in a Studio, he invited Fess and Mwachari to go check the place out. They recorded their first own composition and have never looked back since then.

Produced by MG, the song did not take long to come to life. “We had a studio session but we were to record a different song. On the day before, Fess called to give a song idea. He had a chorus ready and I remember it was very catchy. On the day of the recording Abishai was already convinced that Party Kwa nduthi was a better song so they called me telling me to think of a verse.”

The song must have been written down by fate, even the producer agreed to “Party Kwa Nduthi” being a catchy one. The powerful guitars in the song were also rehearsed in the same day. Armed with their verses, the trio hit the notes right one take at a time and it all fell perfectly together. “We recorded it in a day, in an afternoon actually,” Mwachari attests.

The opening lyrics by Fess are actually the conversation they had with his then date from the phone call and on their way. They had agreed to meet up but the rains happened and they sought other plans. They used a bodaboda also known as “Nduthi” to get to the nearest shopping centre. With the increasing numbers of motorbikes there has been a crop of pimped out ones that have music, umbrellas to entice customers and offer better services. Mwachari and Abishai also re-encountered their experiences on motorbikes in the lyrics that make the song.

“Party kwa nduthi is available for download on Mdundo. We are hoping to release the video soon and a whole lot of shows lined up for us. We are performers and its what we love to do.”

Be sure to catch them as Songoma Music on their social media for more updates.

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An edited version of this article was published on Pulse magazine, a pullout in The Standard  on 12th Feb 2016.

Its time to ONGEA!

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At the start of a creatives’ career all that matters is getting the foot in the door of things. Imagining that if only we found that one person, then things will change for the better. Because sometimes that’s just how things go. Speaking to the right person and finding them at the right place.

At times creatives people get into the showbiz without knowing half of other things that make an artist. Elani have the privilege of having two advocates amongst them, that’s why they were probably able to speak out in the manner in which they did. Not to suggest that you sign up for law school, but it is important that you also learn more about the trade as a creative, other than just creating content.

What better place to get all this under one roof other than at the ONGEA! – The Eastern Africa Music Summit formerly known as Kenya Music Week. The move to Re-brand from KENYA MUSIC WEEK to ONGEA! is based on the need to ensure increased sustainability and relevance of this very important industry gathering, by opening it up to a larger market.

ONGEA! Summit will take place on Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st January 2016, at Sarit Centre Expo Hall in Westlands, Nairobi. The Summit organized by PHAT! Music & Entertainment Limited, will be a debut of the new brand.

For the people in the entertainment industry and music to be precise the ONGEA! The Eastern Africa Music Summit is the golden opportunity for you. The annual event operates under the three pillars of Trade, learning and showcasing. 58 exhibitors will set up shop from East Africa for stakeholders to interact with other businesses from 12 noon through to 10 p.m. on all four days.

There will be 8 educational workshops by different panel of experts one of them being the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). Blogging and Social Media Training at this year’s ONGEA! Music summit from 9am to 12pm on Friday 29th January. The training will be at the showcase area of Sarit Centre Expo Hall. Topics to be tackled during the training include: personal online branding and management, writing skills and readership, understanding Copyright and fair use, Social Media ethics, Among Others.

The training will also touch on copyright in regard to content ownership, originality and authenticity. Participants will also be trained about the use of social media to market their brand. Participants interested in the training can register here by 22nd January, 2016.

The activities lined up for these three days are engaging for any stakeholder in the music industry. There will be 32 performances over the 4 days from artistes such as Makadem, HART the band, ADAWNAGE, Kidum, Wyre, Sally Oyugi, Suzan Kerunen, Ms Okinda, Parking Lot Grass and Cannibal among others. The Sauti Academy will conduct auditions with two scholarships up for grabs. Upcoming artistes will also have a chance to record a free demo of their music with Ageless Entertainment.

Entry to the whole summit is free.

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ONGEA! E.A Music Summit.

 

The Kenyan music game-changers.

Music is an independent language that cuts through effortlessly. which can be clustered according to the era it was made in. Despite the sampling, there is no music era that sounds the same as the other simply because time changes and so does music.

The music industry in Kenya alone is growing in leaps and bounds. Resilient artistes are doing their best to stay at the top and those who are new want their voices to be heard or at least get their foot in the door in the entertainment scene. This translates to the emerging of new music styles, genres and the beginning of a new era.

When new music styles come up, some are immediately celebrated, a few are reproached, others are ignored and some don’t get recognition at all while the rest take a very long time to get noticed. It is the music that changes the era that is very rare to come by.

The most celebrated Kenyan boy-band Sauti sol happen to be the most notable game changers in the music  Industry of this age.  Of course they did not pop up yesterday as they have worked their way to domination and with their evident hard work they sure are staying at the top for 9 years now.

They have succeeded in incorporating Swahili, mother tongue and very minimal English into their music and owning their unique fusion of genres without sounding like an obvious bongo track. They might have been deliberate with their choice or it might have been an experiment but it worked efficiently for them.

Their first single “Lazizi” from their debut album “Mwanzo” was definitely a hit, as it got them massive airplay and increased their fan base. It is their second album “Sol Filosofia” that got them bagging accolades from every front including Best Music Video award for their single “Coming Home” at the 2011 Kisima Music Awards.

They are currently riding high on the fame of their third album “Live and die in Afrika” which is yet to be of officially launched. They are currently scheduled to tour Africa having received international recognition.

Camp Mulla might have gone their separate ways but as a group they definitely trail blazed where no other Kenyan artiste had explored. The alternative hip-hop group was even compared to the phenomenal Black Eyed Peas due to their out of the box music style.

Their talent and music was appreciated across the borders as well. They received several nominations including MTV Europe Music Awards for best African act.  Their debut single “party don’t Stop” featuring Collo and “fresh all day” got them a number of Channel O Music Video Awards nominations.

They opened for big acts such as P-Square, Naeto C as well as Flavor during their period of influence. No other group has come close to topping what they pioneered in East Africa. They may not come back any time soon but they sure did win fans that are ever keen for their return.

Enter Elani, the dynamic trio that took the entertainment scene by storm when they first released “Jana Usiku” in September 2013 which received massive airplay. You can tell they are not trying to be like everyone else as they have carved their niche for themselves with their creativity and simplicity.

During their previous interviews they said they want to put Kenya and East Africa on the map and so far they are doing just that. The urban afro group have lived up to their expectation and even surpassed it.

There’s no stopping for them as they have released hit after hit last year alone; “Barua ya Dunia,” “zuzu”  & “Koo koo” which got them a Channel O Awards 2014 nomination for Most Gifted Video. Big things are in store as well as they will feature in the return of Coke studio Africa season 3 alongside prominent acts from all over the continent.

Music promoter and arts marketer Buddha Blaze said “the trend-setters have definitely shown that the Kenyan industry has something different to offer. The opportunity to grow and make an industry as big as that of Nigeria is here.”

Live concerts now thrive on such eclectic styles of music as they offer versatility and better entertainment than the “copy and paste” acts. “What we need are artistes that are there for the passion. Most of those who’ve made it are there for the passion because they are well educated and could be doing something else but they choose to pursue music as an actual career and understand their music as the product and package it well” Blaze added.

Just-A-Band known for the “Ha He” fame, which most of us will remember “Makmende” instead, are among the artistes with originality no one can imitate. Made up of diversely artistic individuals the group has succeeded in fusing genres to come up with an unconventional music style. They are the pioneer Kenyan House/Funk/Disco band and are currently working on a graphic novel born out of their love for animation illustrations.

In the same fashion, STL, Rabbit, Muthoni Drummer Queen, Fena, Xtatic, Octopizzo, Kagwe, Hart the band, Sarabi and the likes have set themselves apart since inception.

The Kenyan music industry is at its finest with artistes constantly giving out content that is better than their last.