This year has so far been a bad one for most Kenyan musicians, a fact blamed on the post-election violence and the subsequent rise in inflation. New releases have been few and far between, and only a handful of artistes have made any impact as the last quarter of the year beckons.
Of these few is singer Wahu Kagwe. A former model, many people thought she was a mere also-ran when she launched her music career in early 2000. But that was only until she released the song, Sitishiki, five years later.
It was also thought that she had taken a break when she got married to fellow artiste Nameless.
This year, though, the 28-year-old has come back to steal the show from main rival Amani.
Her song, Sweet Love, which is dedicated to her daughter Nyakweya Tomiso, is poised to be one of the most celebrated this year.
The touchy message in the lyrics and the rhythmic tune have endeared the song to virtually all age groups. As a result, Wahu has barely been out of the top list of entertainers at events this year.
“That is a big song.”
The song has also helped to revive her earlier ones such as Liar, Esha and Niangalie.
Wahu is already a CHAT awards winner and should bag more at the Kora Awards show to be held in Nigeria, and the Pearl of Africa Music Awards (PAM).
She has been nominated for both, and there is little doubt that she will be also on the MTV Africa Music Awards nominees list when it is announced later this year.
“I am grateful to the fans for appreciating my music, and I hope that they will vote for me to win the awards,” the former University of Nairobi student says.
Thus, Wahu’s music career is headed for the sky. She has just been named the best musician in the country this year by giant entertainment broadcaster MTV. The entertainment channel, with a presence across the world, will produce for her a video to be aired on all its channels across the world.
She will only be the second Kenyan artiste to ever benefit from such an opportunity. Last year, MTV shot the song, Kipofu, for singer Nikii.
“No TV Company can rival MTV, therefore getting them to shoot your video and air it gives a musician exposure worth millions,” says Mbui.
This year, though, MTV will give an opportunity to an upcoming Kenyan filmmaker to participate in the project.
The company is inviting budding audio-visual enthusiasts and amateur filmmakers to come up with a storyline for Wahu’s video.
The winner will not only get a prize from co-sponsors Shell, but will also work with the American MTV team in the production.
The MTV team will be led by international video director Melina Matsoukas, whom production websites like www.mvdbase.com describes as one of the fastest rising video directors in the US. Her résumé tells the story.
She launched her career only in 2006, but has produced videos for top R&B and hip-hop artistes, including Akon, Ne-Yo, Snoop Dogg, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez.
But Wahu does not seem to be aware that she is the one who has been chosen for the video. The official announcement is scheduled to be made on Monday.