Most parents get a fit when they hear their children are going into showbiz. But in some rare cases, entertainment runs in the family. Boniface Nyaga looks at celebrities who came from showbiz royalty.
The King of mash-ups is known for his dancehall mixes and epic live shows. He is the official deejay for Big Square and a well sought-after mix master. Though the CEO of Housiq Music is making major moves in the music industry, he learnt the business from his mom who was a promoter for Kamba music in the 80s and 90s.
DJ Tadgue aka Dennis Mutinda attributes his rapid rise to the foundation and advice his mother Lucy Wambua gave him.
“My mum was managing bands in Makueni back in the day and at some point she ran a shop selling vinyl. A lot of guys in the industry struggle to convince their parents that showbiz is a real job. Luckily for me, she respects music as a career so she has really supported me and even advised me on how to navigate the industry. Her influence in my playlist, especially, comes out when I am playing for an older generation."
She is a top TV siren respected by her peers and making top dollar, not only from her TV job but also from various corporate gigs and appearances. The TV queen comes from a long line of thought leaders.
Her grandfather David Rubadiri was a prominent writer, poet and diplomat in Malawi. He went to school with the likes of former Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki, former Tanzanian President Bejamin Mkapa and rubbed shoulders with literature giants like Nigerian Chinua Achebe. Her dad and mother were in radio thrusting her into media very early on in her life.
Today, her father Kwame Rubadiri is a pastor with a very popular vlog. To date radio continues to be a major part of her career, getting her first break on Capital FM and securing a slot on TV due to a commanding voice and presence that she developed on radio.
“My mom recorded my first voice over when I was three. It was an intro to their show and it was purely analogue, so she edited it by cutting the tape with scissors,” she says. “Growing up in that environment made me discover my talents early. My parents had so much fun telling stories and I wanted to do the same. I have left my daughter to be her own person so I don’t know if she will end up in the media, but she is very creative and loves the arts.”
He is a respected producer who has worked with the likes of Karun, Tetu Shani, Sauti Sol, Eric Wainaina and Fena Gitu. The passionate audio engineer has worked with brands like Coke Studio, Guinness and Basco Paint. His father Jack Odongo is a legendary keyboard player who played with the band African Heritage in the 70s and early 80s.
Jack is one those legends that even legends look up to, having mentored the likes of Ted Josiah and Kanji Mbugua. Jack Odongo had an audiovisual studio in KICC that gave artistes who came up in the 80s and 90s their first chance to record and get into the industry. Jack and Joyce Odongo are considered showbiz royalty having mentored countless musicians, artistes and industry players.
“The influence my father has had on our careers (my brothers and I) is both unfathomable and extraordinary,” says Jaaz. “Music was all around us from as early as we can remember. The foundations of everything we know about the business, from production to performance, my personal love for pro audio and live sound, it all came from him in one way or another.
Anyone who spends time with him will tell you that they are always learning something new. We are only just beginning to tap into the amazing legacy and heritage continues to build, both for ourselves and many others. He really is a living legend!”
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Mercy Masika has grown to be the queen of gospel. In her days, Agnes Masika was a profound artiste with over five albums to her credit. Her song, “Sing and Shine” was so big that KBC curated a gospel show by that name and she appeared several times on it.
Ministry in the Masika household is family business. Her father Bishop Masika is a respected figure in Ukambani, having spearheaded numerous development projects in their home area. Her sister Edith Gor is also an accomplished vocalist who is married to prolific filmmaker Jimmy Gor.
“Getting an early start gave me an advantage. My first albums were a family affair, everyone would chip in and get it done,” she explains. “My dad is a visionary, so he nurtured our talents and constantly encouraged us to keep going. That consistency and having someone who can tell you the truth about your talent really helps. My kids are interested in music and they are getting better, so it looks like they will also pursue it.”