CELEB CONFESSIONS: J.I

Saturday October 28 2017

Nine years ago, bongo flava star Juma Issa

Nine years ago, bongo flava star Juma Issa popularly known as J.I, made an entrance into the East African showbiz world with his hit single ‘Kidato Kimoja’. PHOTO| THOMAS MATIKO 

By THOMAS MATIKO
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Nine years ago, bongo flava star Juma Issa popularly known as J.I, made an entrance into the East African showbiz world with his hit single ‘Kidato Kimoja’. The debut song became a major tune not only on his home turf but in Kenya as well.

He went on to release a few singles that did very well keeping him in the game and ensuring that he got booked for shows just like the veteran Alikiba.

With time however, he went silent and was almost forgotten until recently when he announced his comeback after almost a half a decade of absenteeism.

nation.co.ke caught up with J.I in the streets of Nairobi and this is what he had to share on Celebrity Confessions.

What happened to you man?

I took a break to raise my family as well as re-strategize just like Alikiba did when he took a 3 year break and came back fresh, more creative and better.

Oh really?
Yes, you’re doubting? I have actually dropped my latest single ‘Mamashiro’ a song that has more of Kenyan vibe than bongo flava.

Is that the new re-strategizing plan you were talking about? Why Kenya and not Tanzania, your home turf?

Yes it is, you didn’t except that, did you? I want to start out a different way and I believe by trying to be dynamic rather than predictable is a good plan so let’s wait and see how it goes.

Word has it that you have been living in Kenya for some time now , have you also relocated here like your fellow countryman Matonya?

Not really, that’s not correct. You will find me in the cities where my hustle takes me, I’m currently here on music business.

Mmmh! Business you say. Rumour has it that you have been in town all this while courtesy of a sugar mummy.

That’s awful to say. I don’t have any sugar mummy in Nairobi. This is news to me. Honestly I’m hearing it for the first time from you.

Are you married?

Yes I am and blessed with three kids. I am a family guy and that’s why I’m shocked at the sugar mummy rumours. I am one guy who has survived in this industry all this time without any kind of a scandal.

Is it not true that you have been living in Nairobi for several months now, why would you stay away from your family for so long if you are the family guy you claim to be?

Yes I have been here for some time now and like I said, it’s all about the hustle. I’ve got a family to look after.

What hustle, music or something else?

Yes, music. What many people actually don’t know is that I am a song-writer and I get paid to write music. I have authored several songs from Kenyan artistes and been paid handsomely. That could be one of the many reasons I have been hanging out here in Kenya for a while.

I can tell you that majority of the songs that Papa Dennis has released I wrote for him. Him. All his major hits that helped him burst in to limelight came from my manuscripts.

You are kidding me right now. You’re Muslim, how are you able then to write gospel which is what Papa Dennis does.

I know right? But is it not possible? I am a guy of many talents and very dynamic. Difference in religion is not the question here, it’s all about what the artiste wants and then coming up with lyrics matching his or her ideas. He or she goes through adding or removing what he feels is or isn’t right

So what next from you after ‘mama shiro’, the video looks raunchy though….Sorry I said that!

(laughing) You don’t have to be sorry about anything. It’s your opinion and everyone has one. But besides that, I’m planning to do a remix of ‘Kidato Kimoja’ and ‘Katoto Kadogo’, now that she is all grown up.

I’ll be dropping them early next year then I’ll take it from there.