ARTIST of the WEEK: Eric Wainaina

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Anybody who knows Kenyan music, knows Eric Wainaina. He was among the first who dared to sing songs that had a conscience. He is third on the list after the songs Malaika and Jambo Bwana. He spoke to Capital Lifestyle about his thoughts and outlook on the music profession …

In a nutshell, who is Eric Wainaina? I am inquisitive, playful, very unserious but I take work and faith seriously

I grew up listening to/watching…Abba, Boney M, Jackson 5, not enough Kenyan music. I love cartoons though: like the Muppet Show and Tom and Jerry.

I have had a passion for music since…all my life! I never really realised that it was a passion for me when I was younger, I just loved it. Interesting thing is I can see it now in my children, they respond to music…differently.

I get my inspiration from…everywhere. And especially from conversation. Someone will say something and it will trigger an idea, which could eventually be the beginning of a song.

Apart from singing, I can also…write! I write a lot. I also play sports like basketball and football quite well.

I can never leave my house without my…underwear and shoes obviously, and my iPod!

My number one role model is…Mahatma Gandhi. He did what needed to get done and peacefully. I identify with his philosophy. Other people who inspire me are Martin Luther King Jr and my wife Sheba.

My best time ever growing up was when…I think I was in nursery. It was my birthday and I got a BIG basket strung up to a tree. It was a swing. I loved it.

These are a few of my favourite things…. Chapatis and Chapatis. In fact, I think there should be a #chapatirevolution

My advice for upcoming artists is… please finish school! Get a university degree in any discipline, just finish school – it helps with maturity. And pick up an instrument. Nowadays parents are on your side so take advantage of that. And for song writers, don’t follow others, write about what you’re passionate about.

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