TAKE 5: Elizabeth Rege

Friday January 18 2019

Elizabeth Rege.

Musician Elizabeth Rege. PHOTO| COURTESY 

ABIGAIL ARUNGA
By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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Elizabeth ‘Sikin’ Rege is a musician and a music teacher. She is currently a contestant on ‘I Can Sing’ on KTN.

1. Tell me about the show you are on now, and the other ones you've been on before. What are you trying to accomplish with them, and do you think shows like this are important for Kenyan music and Kenyan music culture?

I was lucky enough to make it to the top 20 contestants on the show, "I Can Sing" on KTN. It's in its second season and airs every Friday from 8pm.

Previously, I've been on Maisha Superstars and Tecno "Own the Stage". I have used the platforms to grow and be exposed to more of the music sector in Kenya, and East and West Africa.

People go on these competitions thinking "Ah, this is easy..." but it's not. There is a lot more to it than just having a voice. Shows like these are very important because they show the vast talent we have as Kenyans.

They also give us opportunities to learn from top dogs in the industry, opportunities that may never have otherwise come along.

2. What are your thoughts on this whole "Play Kenyan Music KE" trend? Why don't Kenyans play Kenyan music? Why should they?

I have always said and believed that more Kenyan music can, and should be played on our airwaves. Like I said previously, these competitions have really exposed me to the industries in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria. Africa has sick talent. The support, (in those countries) from the media is off the charts.

There is so much talent in Kenya, and it's unfortunate that a lot of it goes unseen or unheard. I believe we (musicians) and countrymen need to make more noise. Everyone has a role to play.

We can't expect to make waves across the world without support from everyone. Fellow countrymen should come before anyone else, but you can't support what you don't hear, and that's up to the media to push.

3. How would you describe your style, and where can we find your music?

I'd say my style is soulful African sound. I love NeoSoul, RnB and Reggae. I try to incorporate different aspects of those genres in my music. I have a couple of covers posted on my IG (@sikindividual), Facebook (Sikin Music), YouTube (Sikin Music) and SoundCloud (@sikindividual) pages.

4. What got you into music in the first place, and what does it mean to you? Is it release, is it a career?

Music has always been a part of me. I remember, growing up in Ethiopia, I would always try to out sing my friends during morning assembly in school. Music has always been a release, a way to express myself - my happiness, sadness, pain... I want to make music my career, but as a woman with a family and with an eight to five job, it is tricky trying to balance it out. It seems almost impossible, but I'm working towards it.

5. You also teach music, what gives you hope for the future generation in terms of access to music and instruments, and growing talent? What should young people who want to be musicians learn about the business of music, and how can parents encourage them to do so?

Yes, I teach music at Brookhouse School. One of the things I love about my job is seeing the support my kids get from their parents. As teachers, we encourage students to engage in extracurricular activities, one of which is learning a musical instrument.

Fun fact: learning to play a musical instrument can enhance verbal memory, spatial reasoning and literacy skills. Playing an instrument makes you use both sides of your brain, which strengthens memory power.

Seeing a child light up when he or she learns how to produce a sound from their instruments makes my heart sing.

I am excited that the arts are now being seen as serious subjects. Performance, music technology and music business are some of the units offered in our BTEC Music course, and I think these are important for those who are interested in pursuing a career in music. I am very excited to see the future of music in Kenya given all these opportunities available now.

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