- There is a misconception that when you’re doing music you have to be a superstar. I think those people are doing it for the wrong reason.
- I do a lot of gigs, corporate events, jingles and also write a lot of songs for people. I live very comfortably off of my craft.
- Song writing is a major income earner yet people don’t know that. There’s a culture in Kenya where they are against having songs written for them such that I can’t disclose which songs I wrote.
Many singers use their real names as their stage names: Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Lira, Victoria Kimani, Tiwa Savage, just to mention a few. It’s an identity thing for me.
Despite the fact that the name is the same, the person sitting in front of you is very different person from the one on stage. The person in front of a camera when shooting a video is totally different from the shy introvert that I usually am. I work very hard to keep my personal life private, to avoid bad publicity that will touch on my family. I can handle it, but I’m very protective of them.
When I was around eight, I watched “Music Times” and saw Tshala Muana’s “Dezo Dezo” music video. I’m not sure if it was her singing or the very long slit that won me over. It’s an extremely vivid early childhood memory, and I’m very lucky that my music teacher was able to capture the talent and nurture it. Throughout primary and high schools, I lived for the music festivals.
After high school, in 2000, I told my dad I would like to do music as a career. I was very lucky that my dad was open to me doing what would make me happy. I was in a group of five with Amani, called “Sobriety”, which we had formed while at Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls High School, so he had seen it coming. I applied to Berklee College of Music, USA. I had been called to Moi University to study Law but hid the letter. The acceptance letter from Berklee came on the day I was to report to Moi University. I showed both letters to my dad because I had left that option open as Plan B.
I studied music production and engineering, and my instrument was voice. It took three and a half years, and then I moved to New York to work as an engineer in a few studios there. In 2008, I recorded my 12-track album called "Everything"; did a launch tour in the US then moved back home in 2009 and launched it here, too.
I was obsessed with the original “Despacito” because I understand a little Spanish from my time in the States. I can’t sing as fast as the real Spanish speakers and it annoyed me that I couldn’t sing the song like any other I had loved before. I translated the song into English but felt I couldn’t sing it as it was written from a male perspective. I inverted the song then again translated it into English and recorded it at 2am. My manager at Ogopa Studios heard it from my phone and recommended that we record it. That’s how it got out.