In Summary

  • Recent days have seen Kenyan musicians collaborate with international artists to increase their audience.
  • The idea of collaborations is usually to incorporate two or more distinct but compatible styles in one song. This is clearly evident in some big moves that have been made by artists and groups in the industry like Sauti Sol to showcase their versatility.
  • Buzz looks at the strategy.

In the Showbiz world, artistes, like corporates are always looking for the next market. Once you conquer or at least master the home market, it is only obvious to seek to widen your reach and broaden your fan base.

Good music, great use of social media coupled with brilliant marketing will see an artiste rise in Nigeria and be a household name in Mundulusia, Busia County.

Kenya always seems to have its hands out for any artiste who can make its people dance and sing along. But that is never the case when it comes to Kenyan artistes hitting beyond our borders.

Sauti Sol, arguably the best band in the country and according to MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs), the best in Africa.

The group can safely claim to have made it at home and are now seeking for a bigger audience away from home.

But they seem to understand that relying on home court advantage will only take them so far and have now decided to use the age old strategy of collaborations to grow their names in new markets.

The group has already worked with Nigeria musical powerhouses 2Face Idiba and Yemi Alade, Tanzania’s Ali Kiba and South Africa’s Mi Casa. They also paired up with Fally Ipupa at Coke Studio recently.

Sauti Sol’s Managing Director, Marek Fuchs says that the collaborations are definitely a strategy in getting into the international scene.

“Yes, this is one way of becoming more familiar in other markets and growing our presence there. It’s not always about strategy though, often times it’s about friendship and common good vibes between the artistes. The collaborations have done great for us so far,” says Marek.

The collaborations, as he says, have helped them gain more recognition as well as growth in the international market. They have also given them more hits on stage, seen by their rising numbers in the music industry.

Asked about the group’s recent trip to Congo for the Amani Festival last month, Marek says that the group has a few collaborations coming up soon as they try to unlock that market.

“We’re excited about a few collaborations that should be coming up in the next three months,” he added.

GENRE IS NOT CHANGING

Mr Fuchs also added, “In line with our collaborations, the group does evolve on a daily basis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that our genre is changing.”

The group started way back in 2005, originally as an Acapella group. It however only had three members at the time; Bien-Aime Baraza, Willis Austin Chimano and Savara Mudigi who all met in Upper Hill High School.

The birth of Sauti Sol was after the group met Polycarp Otieno at the Alliance Française in Nairobi.

Bien is a vocalist, songwriter and guitarist. Chimano is a vocalist and saxophone player. Polycarp is a producer and plays the guitar while Savara is a vocalist, drummer, producer and percussionist.

The "Sura Yako" hitmakers have been able to bag a total of 23 awards in the last six years, a record whichever way you look at it.

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