When Jesse hit me up sometime last year that we need to do something about the Kenyan music, I stayed alert. Not because he was making any sense, but the sheer fact that he even considered doing something uplifting to the Kenyan Music scene had me on the nerves. Don’t get it twisted, he is not some billionnaires’ son with loads of ‘loose’ cash ready to pump into the industry and make it flourish – we already have such folks masquirading amongst us while doing nothing meaningful AT ALL about our music industry – but a brilliant mind who has a Million dollar idea. And you know what they say? Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes. And so we sat and deliberated on how we can put this idea into practice, tossed it around like pizza dough and a few weeks later, we were talking about what the rest of you only sees as a weekly trending topic; #MusicMatters254.
It might remain as a trend to you in the whole of 2016.
But to us, we are crafting ways, chopping up more ideas and finding means of supporting Kenyan artists by bringing good music to the forefront. In accordance, we will have weekly updates on new music WORTH checking out and here is where we need you to assist us. If you happen to hear or create a new jam you believe is worth ours and everyones’ time, never hesitate to share with us. Will you? Just one request, kindly; we’ve already wasted enough time in 2015 – waiting for grasses to grow, listening to con pastors, being taken on a corruption merry-go-round and even aiding our small brothers and sisters in occupying their schools’ playground, filled with teargas canisters – seconds, minutes and hours we will never reclaim. Please let us not waste each others precious minutes this year. We can save much much time by shelving trash songs. As so, kindly do not ask us to listen to any song without content. Thank you in advance.
As we start 2016, how about reexamining your playlists and updating it with a few new songs? To do so, here is a list of artists we’ve curated for you to keep on your attention radar as they have been up to something and we believe that, with your continued support, they will do even bigger things.
SULTAN WA PWANI
Most of you might have heard the mellow voice serenading Khaligraph Jones hook on his ‘Natesa‘ single. Well, that USP ( Unidentified Singing Person) is non other than Sultan. Wa Pwani.
The AfroPop singer has been making music for a while now and he is just getting the desirable spotlight. Partly because of the way he makes collaborative music with different artistes. I had heard him back in 2014 on a track he featured Chikuzee and I knew it was only a matter of time. What makes his music so much relatable is the content and most importantly, his intrument selection. If they continue making more music with his producer Morbiz, the future can’t get any brighter. Sample his music and put him on your radar.
Other than relentlessly providing the BGVs for Coke Studio Africa, Mayonde has been calculatively putting out singles and videos. Every now and then, i check her soundcloud page for new music and she has never dissapointed, both vocally and artistically. When I first heard isikuti love, I had to take a deep breath just to appreciate and marvel at the creativity and richness that her music posses. Towards the end of 2015, while we were all scouting for holiday destinations, Mayonde was busy prepping to introduce some Magic In The Air inform of her EP.
If great vocals absolutely leave you breahless, then you should get some Mayonde on your playlist this year. She is just carving her own niche with every single release.
He is a hard woking fella this one. Golden Boy Odongo, initialled and aliased GBO is a Nairobi based rapper and producer. He has been making good music for a while now. With every release better than the previous. From what I hear, this is one brother not oppossed to criticism. He takes it positively, works on it and keeps developing his craft.
With an added advantage of producing/composing his own music, GBO has records ready for urban radios like East African Girl and you might have heard some of his singles on Capital FM. With more support and exposure this year, we will see even greater moves from Miagi’s frontman. And from his own words, Odongo is simply sicker than your average.
Even before Jaguar got a whisp of their talent and amazement, giving them his support and collaborating with Zikki on Take it Slow, those who had been priviledged to sample their music or attend any of their past events already knew that the all boyy band was going to be big. Their music easily resonates with the lower class of the society and any smart fella will tell you that that is always the perefct launching pad.
And they have dreams, bigger than the artists you see on TV. So this year, be ready to hear more from Bianju, Mose, Ford and Voke in form of Zikkiza.
Sometime last year, I was sitted in this office in Spring Valley, minding my own business. On the next table, my colleagues, fellow workmates then, were mulled over a computer, gathered in a grooup of about 10, all scrambling to get a peek of some lady who was apparently rapping in Agikuyu. Since I’m never one to be part of sheep mentality I let it pass. During lunch break, a collegaue who knew I had so much passion for Kenyan music asked me to check out a song called Nduta. That was the beginning of me hearing of Njeri’s music.
To be honest, this is one artist who understands what branding is, and she is utilizing it so well. A collaboration with STL is already out and getting decent rotation on Urban radios. 2016 should be an interesting year for Njeri, if her team continues sailing on the same wave.
GnX, his former alias (still stuck on my mind Lol) has to be one of the my favorite producers all over Africa. You might not know this but most of your favorite urban raps have been skillfully composed, mixed or mastered by Grands – the ID37 sound engineer. Kevin raps.
It can be challenging for producers to be accepted as MC/rappers. Case in point, Kanye West. Kevin has been laying dope bars for a minute now and to reiterate what I told Shukid, his labelmate, a while back, I’m slowly drifting my focus to Grands when ID37 music is concerned. His storytelling abilities and how he can bare his soul and emotions on a record is unmatched. His debut EP, Maiden Memoirs is still my favorite project for the last year. Three words, We Want Kevin.
To be honest, it’s always hard to make it in music if you are a graduate of a Talent Competition. The people in charge of these competition are businessmen and the last thing they are interested in is your career after the show. That is just my theory. A 2013 Zikistar winner, Chikwaza has been etching his own path in this music industry, full of setbacks. Funny thing is, he has absolutely incredible Swahili diction, seeing as he is not even Kenyan. But that is not the point of focus today. His music is.
He teamed up with Elani sometime last year and released one of those gospel jams that I CAN actuallu listen to. Don’t mind Holly, he is always a hater. Hehee. But I love me some Chikwaza music. He should witness more rise and shine this 2016, the year of the Lord.
Another competition winner. However, I have been following this ladies music from way back. Remember Phy and The Band? She has grown and matured musically. I chanced upon her the other day and we talked so much about music, how and where she want her career to be. A brilliant mind this one. Phy is ART and for that, I’m so proud to see her making great moves.
Under the umbrella of Rimbui and Kaka Empire, she is working her way out. This has seen her release Ruka, which she featured the two ‘Kings’ K. Jones and Rabbit. The fact that she quickly released an album after winning the Maisha Magic talent search shows just how much f a pusher and hard worker Phy is. You should see and hear more of her this year.
I have never seen a dude believe so much in himself like Willy. Back in the day, he jumped on a remix to my kid sister, Mishu’s single and I was like damn, that was faaaast! Question is, is Willy still a kid?
Nairobi is rapidly starting to know him as the New Born E-Sir. Go figure. From the day he launched his EP, Kidwilly has never looked back. His persistency is what will make 2016 his year. He can be so annoying, like adding me to whatsapp groups full of teenagers and continuosly forwarding long texts. Longer than Thika Road’s attention span. But that’s why we love Willy and 2016 should be even bigger. Maybe he might finally be an adult, who knows? Plus, it’s a Leap year.
She is humble, joyous and mad talented. She is our front officer manager and everytime I pass by her table, a smile is always planted on Annei’s face. The day she gathered the courage to approach me with a link to her YouTube video, I swear I saw angels smiling as I clicked play. Here is the thing, all those Naija riddim gospels are so 2014. I pray, solely for this, that we left them in 2015 ( together with all the lazy artists using them for attention)
I hope to hear more content based gospel music this year, more biblical material and lastly, more of Annie Kimani. I’ve put in a word to the man in charge of the bank balance to at least accord Annie just a little extra so she can frequent the studios and rid off these cliche gospel tracks from our radios… and ears. Doctor Eddie, over to you now. We give God the glory, pokea sifa.
There are so many artists working hard out there. they are just not known to us. How about we make this year the year of Kenyan music and enable these hardworking artists to progress? It’s as easy as sharing a word about their woork. We will be showcasing 10 new Kenyan music, on a weekly basis for the #MusicMatters254 segment and for this, kindly drop us a comment on who we need to check out. We’ll appreciate.
Let Kenyan Music Matter.