In Summary
  • In the music industry, relevance comes with the style of music one is making.

  • Once you make music that is timeless, it doesn’t matter when you live or die because the music lives on after you.

  • Some genres are sort of ‘fast food templates’, meaning you have to release something every so often, but I make music that has a longer duration.

  • The audience I appeal to often take me as I am, not as an alter ego.

Nina Ogot is a Kenyan Afro-acoustic songbird who sings in Kiswahili, English, Dholuo and French. She started her career back in 2009 and has received many awards, including a Kalasha Award for the Best Original Score for the film Issa back in 2011.

She talks to the Saturday Nation about her third album, Dala, which is set to be officially launched next Friday at Alliance Française.

“'Dala' means home in Luo. I’ve used a lot of inspiration from my ethnicity, and the whole country as well.

VOICE

My love for music began in school, actually. I was in a public school which didn’t offer music as an extracurricular activity. My parents then transferred me to a private school where I could pursue it. Fast-forward to my early 20s, I knew it was something I wanted to do professionally.

My voice was the first instrument I learned, of course. (Laughs). A lot of musicians tend to focus more on the instruments they play but the voice is often the first instrument to learn how to manipulate. The second was the piano, followed by the guitar, which is what I use for my live performances.

Like a number of artistes, I get attached to the instruments I play because they resonate with my personality. I’m open to learning more instruments, but the guitar does it for me at the moment. I’m also open to working with artistes better than I am at playing their instruments because they know how to interpret what I want, instead of taking awhile to learn something new.

In terms of learning new languages, I’m in Germany a lot now, so who knows?

The greatest advice I have received is to be patient. We live in a time where people want everything quick — the fame, money. But when making timeless music, which is what I hope I am, you have to really invest in yourself and allow the benefit of time to hone your skills and talents, to teach you and mould you.

In the music industry, relevance comes with the style of music one is making. Once you make music that is timeless, it doesn’t matter when you live or die because the music lives on after you. Some genres are sort of ‘fast food templates’, meaning you have to release something every so often, but I make music that has a longer duration. The audience I appeal to often take me as I am, not as an alter ego.

DALA

This 10-track album is a German-Kenyan cultural fusion.

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