Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato. The journey to creating that music and going pro though isn’t as dreamy.
Working in an artistic field is as equally fun as it is daunting and the music industry is no different. I had the pleasure of talking to 4 incredible personalities who are making music in Eldoret just to discuss what their journey has been like.
Identifies as : a songwriter and a rapper
Number of tracks: 2
Musicians he’d like to share a stage with: His homeboys Phiku and Rigo, King Kaka and Jcole.
Instagram handle: @mikestar_inc
Identifies as : a singer, songwriter and rapper. Talk about doing it all.
Number of tracks: 3
Musicians she’d like to share a stage with: Petra and Khaligraph Jones.
Instagram handle: @thee_dmb
Gibson The Violinist
Identifies as : as his name suggests, Gibson is an exceptional violinist.
Number of instrumental music tracks he’s released: 2
Musicians he’d like to share a stage with: Sauti sol, Nyashinski and Bensoul.
Instagram handle: @gibson_violinist
Note: Incase you’d like to learn or have your kid learn how to play the violin, he offers lessons.
Identifies as : a singer. Big bold beautiful voice. He mostly does covers but he informs us he’s got some original songs on the way. On the side, he plays the saxophone and the piano. He is hilarious!
Number of covers out: 5
Musicians he’d like to share a stage with: I’d like to perform with a friend of mine, with whom I wrote my first single with; Phyl the Kangogo, then the entire Sol family In Africa, Fally Ipupa and Internationally, Jacob Banks.
Instagram handle: @denuemusic__
Please note how young they are. Isn’t it refreshing? There’s something so inspiring about watching young people chasing their dreams relentlessly. I was in awe the whole time we were chatting it up at Wings 23 Rooftop Restaurant. If you haven’t been, make a point of stopping by. The food is amazing, the decor stunning and the view of Eldoret breathtaking . People tend to look down on Today’s youth so it felt good to be among an extremely talented bunch of youngsters who know what they are doing or atleast are trying to figure it out.
On to Today’s Topic: What It Takes To Make Music In Eldoret
Mike’s first audio cost him Ksh 4500 while Sasha had to part with Ksh 5000 for her first audio. Her first video set her back Ksh 40,000. Gibson bought his violin with Ksh 15,000.
2. A Producer
Among the names mentioned were Levi Dee, Micruel, Forty, Jacaranda on the beat and Omosh from Nakuru.
3. Tough Skin
Trying to go pro can be disheartening. Especially since you have to wear so many hats. Apart from working on your craft there’s a tonne of other things you need to do.
These include generating content that will resonate with people, coming up with a marketing strategy, establishing a social media presence, building a fan base, learning how to negotiate when you get gigs, finding money to make your music etc. Mastering all the above can take some time and be frustrating. So you have to have thick skin to get through it all.
Then there is the subject of haters and Sasha seems to be more familiar with the issue than the rest?. We had a lengthy discussion on how to deal with them haters. Gibson suggested pulling down negative comments. Ignoring them was another solution coz according to our discussion most haters don’t even hate you they are just taking out their frustrations on you.
4. A Fanbase
While you can create music for yourself, ideally other people are supposed to enjoy and relate to your music too. Building a fan base in Eldoret is not as easy.
Mostly because we don’t support Eldoret musicians. Even the bigwigs like Blastaboss barely get airplay. Having a social media presence helps according to the bunch although Mike says he doesn’t care too much for social media.
Performances also help with building a fanbase. But apart from The Well Irish Pub and Zaika Lounge, getting a place to perform at in town has proven to be a challenge.
5. Smart Business Skills
Pay is a big issue according to Denue. Turns out Eldoret has very little appreciation for creatives. The most any of my 4 artists have made for a gig is Ksh 52,000. But that was a good day. On most days, they are paid with exposure?. Sasha sites one time she was paid with pizza after performing.
The fact that most musicians in Eldoret don’t bother to sign contracts before working so as to hold responsible parties accountable doesn’t help either. Mike’s advice was if you are making music, you nerd to have a certain amount of pride. Otherwise, you will end up getting used and tossed.
My Parting Shot
Being a Rockstar is amazing. Who wouldn’t wanna be famous, get paid to make appearances, have people go bonkers when they see you, vip table reservations and the likes? Getting there though is tasking. And I wish these 4 the very best. I hope all your dreams come true and they are even better than you imagined.
To Eldoretians and any reader out there, let’s make it a habit to support music from our very own. Eldoret is full of talented people. Some of course are mediocre wannabes but gems pia wako. Listen to atleast a song a week made or produced by someone in town. You’ll be surprised on the music you’ve been sleeping on. Inspiring music. Music with content, not just fucking and whatever they talk about in most popular songs za Sai.. Also don’t judge. According to Denue, there’s a lot of that going around. Let people be, let people create. They know what they are doing and even if they are wrong, trust that they will figure it out. Yours is to support and offer constructive criticism.
To anyone aspiring to make music in Eldoret , from what I gathered, consistency is key. Practice too. Gibson says he practices a piece 10 times before he can perform it. Putting God first, and putting in the effort will also help you go a long way according to Sasha and Mikestar.
To learn more about these 4 amazing musicians including their wins, struggles and love lives, head on over to Eldoret Leo’s IGTV.
I’d like to appreciate my boss @baba-hakeem and my guests for coming through. A big shout out to super Mc Lucky and David WYTE who were also there.
Photo credits : Eldoret Leo
Location: Wings 23 Rooftop Restaurant and Pub found on the 23rd floor of Daima Towers. Stunning place.