March 29, 2010 – Is Nairobi ready for the metamorphosis of Kevin Samuel Mbugua? Who, you might ask?
“My folks say that when I was five-years-old I walked to the piano in our living room, opened it, played the national anthem, closed it, and then ran outside to play.”
Kevin Mbugua… a man whose musical talents are a bit out of the ordinary and who fits in quietly but snugly in the brat pack that is using the Nairobi music market to test the waters (read Makmende).
My heavy note of recommendation is inspired by Kevin and his girlfriend of 7 years or so ago dreaming of sharing carnal knowledge in some elevator in New York. To be more precise, the song that resulted from it: Elevator Love.
“It didn’t quite happen like it did in the song. We got a bit naughty, but the rest was actually just my imagination…” confides Kevin. “I was 22 years old then and I was a good care-free time in my life. When I wrote it years later, I was going through a rough patch.”
There is something quietly sexy about this song, which is far removed from the Do Me I Do You types. After having a listen, you will find it hard to forget.
The words “And when you hold me…go lightly, let’s not leave scars,” for example, come across as slightly tacky written down, but coupled with the music, the sensation is most definitely different. He’s good.
“I was in one of those moments when my studio is my refuge. For Elevator Love, I locked myself in this space for three days straight and while listening to Sam Davies and Frank Sinatra tunes …
“There is something about their music. It had an honesty that has so long ago been eradicated. I took the feel of their music and made a kind of a mish-mash with a jazz ballad in Paris and Elevator Love was born,” Kevin muses.
He admits though that the reactions he has gotten to the song have been confusing.
“I don’t mean to say that I am not grateful for the compliments, but many people have told me it’s too good to be a Kenyan song and I have to wonder about that. Does it mean people don’t expect good things to come out of the country?”
So what does Kevin do different?
“I study music. I consider myself a music stylist, which basically means that I don’t identify myself with one kind of genre,” he explains, going on to intimate that he’s currently working on a country song.
Kevin is trying to go out more and do his homework after studying hard in a studio AND in school. He’s done music and voice projection during a course at Berklee College of Music and plans to do music in Kenya for a couple of years before moving on to study music technology and sound.
“Probably in Cape Town or London,” he says.
Kevin is 29. A self-confessed homebody who’s having a love affair with a make-shift studio at the moment – until he can set up a bigger one. He wears nerdy glasses and loves hanging out with females.
Seems to be working! Check out his music.