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 “No Ceilings.”
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.
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
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.
An edited version of this article was published on Pulse magazine, a pullout in The Standard on 12th Feb 2016.
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.
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.
Sampling was at its peak in 2015 with artistes coming up with more creative ways to remake their predecessors’ music with a touch of their own sound. Extracted from the 90s Chaka Demus hit song, Murder She Wrote by Flameezy featuring Luxland is produced by Bill Cee under Taj World Records.
Tony Adeyin a.k.a Flameezy is a US-based Nigerian Artiste, originally representing Lagos. Luxland is a Cameroonian artiste based in New Jersey. This is the first single of the upcoming project “Taj World Family” – a compilation of artistes from the label Taj World records.
The message in MURDER SHE WROTE is about a dude who unconditionally loves his girlfriend despite her promiscuous ways. He still expresses his deep feelings and love for her, while at the same acknowledging the damages or the effect her behavior has towards him.
When I first listened to the song, I was mad that someone took their time to sing about this cheat of a woman. Then I realized it’s the same thing most women go through just that men don’t talk about it. The bad boy syndrome. You deserve what you accept, Say no to bullshit.
The video was shot in New York, USA and premiered on MTV worldwide on Thursday 17 December. It was directed by Kenya’s very own VJ One who is believed to be one of Africa’s fastest rising music video directors hailing from Kenya.
Watch the video below.
After emerging winner of the Maisha Superstar competition, the petite but big voiced Phy won a recording deal and hit the ground running. In a record two and a half months she is already dropping an album. Find out more about her journey to Phylosophy.
- So, Phylosophy. Tell us more about it.
I’ve always had the name Phylosophy for a while because first, I thought it to be a cool pun for my name. Second, it matches philosophy, I am into writing a lot including poetry and the like. Tim “timwork” Rimbui, Jaaz Odongo, and St P helped me produce and write all the songs in my album as well; I am blessed to have the best working on my album. It has ten songs, which include quite a few collaborations with Khaligraph and Rabbit. It is about my relatable life experiences and those of others because I made it a point to speak for other people.
- You came into the music scene officially a few months ago and you are already launching an album, how long have you been working on it?
I officially started working on the album two and half months ago after I got the recording deal. There was quite a number of pre-written songs from my entire lifetime before the competition because you have to live it to write it, which made it easy for us to bring them life. It also goes back to the blessing of having a recording label which means I do not have to worry about where the money to record and do videos will come from. Working on the album has been my greatest blessing yet. The dream come true for a girl born in a tiny Village in Sotik! Proving anything is possible is put your mind to it. I have given my raw authentic self to this and I believe my world will collide with that of the listener creating a magical experience.
- When it come to your music, your style is quite different, how would you define your genre?
I was going for the new cool kid swagged up vibe, I think afro-funk would be the name. I consider myself to be quite creative and artsy. Apart from the fact that I am a singer, I am into fashion, dancing, I am an instrumentalist and I also write. I like a lot of fresh out of the box ideas which translates to how I put my music together, it is a mixture of pop, soul, RnB, hip-hop.
- How would you say being on Airtel Trace Music and Maisha Superstar have helped your music career?
This year has been explosive for me because for a long time, I was a struggling artist which got my very supportive folks and myself wondering why it wasn’t paying off after all the time I put into it including going to music school. I was almost giving up when Airtel Trace Music happened which was a confirmation for me that this is what I was meant to do. It opened doors and more people got to know about me, especially when I did the Jaguar- Kipepeo rendition which I think caught quite the attention. Maisha Superstar got me into the music and gave me the networks and friendships and gave me the opportunity and the platform to showcase my art.
- What are some of the key lessons you took from both competitions and more so what you are learning on the job?
Before all I wanted to do was sing but you get to learn so many other things. First, I got to understand showbiz as an industry where there is a market therefore there’s demand from the fans and you have to supply the music. Second, work ethic: wake up every day with the purpose to perfect your art, show up on time and be professional in handling other businesses around music inclusive of investors and all. Third I am learning on how to incorporate longevity into the plan, being specific with my music and planning on the release including choosing and singing for my target audience.
- Your fashion comes out as well curated, is this the case?
I am quite the OCD type and it takes me a while to get ready. I wear something if it is not how I envisioned it, I start all over again until it is perfect. Actually, one of my favorite pastimes is shopping and I shop for the seriousness of how I much I love to shop, I draw inspiration from blogs and other fashion icons. But I also have those days when I am all about t-shirt, jeans and a hoodie.
- You’ve heard of international acts pushing their release dates because they don’t want to go head to head with Adele. Are you not afraid it will affect yours?
(Laughs) I do not think her release would affect mine all the way here in any way but I respect her work and would love to get to the point where other big acts are pushing their release dates because yours is coming out. For the moment let Adele and I take it on.
- Once the music is released where can your fans find it?
Online we will have the whole album available for download on Itunes , Waabeh and Skiza tunes.
Physical copies will also be available for purchase.
Pop Music Global phenomenon brings his internationally acclaimed live show dubbed ‘Homecoming Tour’ in Rwanda this Saturday 17th October 2015 at ULK Stadium. The concert is set to be the biggest live music show of the decade to take place in the East African region, attracting guests and tourists from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and beyond to Kigali for this grand affair.
Paul Van Haver better known as Stromae is a Belgian/Rwandese (yes, Rwandese. Like we don’t call Lupita Kenyan) Of course this will interest you. The father was however absent during his childhood, I guess that was his inspiration to Papaouitai, but was killed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He drew some inspiration from Congolese rumba as he did not always feel that he was Belgian despite being brought up there.
Discovering new artists is my joy. Even better when I look through their YouTube/sound cloud and i find more interesting pieces of music. I call them pieces because to me music is like art. People go to museums and stare just the same way I can have a song on repeat for days on end. Ok. Maybe a day.
I got introduced to Stromae’s music during my gap year when I watched loads of TV and had it on throughout the day and night. I didn’t know any French so I would lie if I said I had caught a word or two. Alors on Danse was the virgin track, and it stuck through the day. I don’t know why I had first associated the voice with a slightly buffed man but after watching him in his element I haven’t thought of anything else he should’ve looked like.
Well, I still don’t know any French but I am madly in love with his music. Stromae is quite the emotional singer. I remember feeling teary when I first watched the Formidable video which I couldn’t quite comprehend if he was acting as a drunk or a depressed human. I can’t decide which is my favorite song because I am just in love with his fine lanky a**.
During an interview with Aljazeera, Stromae said, “Returning to Rwanda is going to be special, deep and really important. This is my origin – I will meet my family. I can imagine that it’s going be a lot of feelings and emotions as I discover my country.”
Following the cancellation of Stromae’s planned concert in Rwanda earlier this year after falling ill, Stromae is back in Africa to finish his Global Tour in Kigali – the birthplace of his father. This is following a triumphant Kinshasa concert, and North American tour concluding with a sold out show at New York legendary Madison Square Garden this October 2015
You are probably in Kenya wondering how this will work on such a short notice. Rwandair has your back. Visit www.rwandair.com and book online to get ongoing discounted flight fares to Rwanda from East, Central, South and West Africa. Offer runs while seats last. In addition, RwandAir is supporting ISSANO Organization (Stromae’s hosts) and Rwanda Tourism to offer 20% off flights to Kigali (visit www.rwandair.com) to see Stromae (till Saturday 17th noon).
You can hop onto a bus tonight. Its not too late. For the love of Stromae.
Gates will open at 4:00 p.m. music start at 6pm and the star will the stage at 8:00 p.m.
For further details follow @Anyikopr on twitter and @anyiko.pr on Instagram