By: Dannish Odongo
On a working day, you will find him holding the 98.4 microphone chasing business and investment stories. Or better yet, his voice will be on your airwaves as he reports on the ever-changing landscape of business in Kenya. His unique ability to transition from a reputable business reporter to one of the fastest rising musician in Kenya caught my attention.
Having done back up vocals for Harry Kimani and David Ntari (Tusker Project Fame winner Season 4), he came to the realization that he needed to venture into doing solo projects. However, as with many new ventures, fear almost crippled him. Not until last December during ‘Tis the season’ concert at the junction auditorium where he got the reassurance that he was meant to do this. As the lead vocalist of the Capital FM choir, the crowd was very responsive and the applause was just the extra push he needed to venture into the industry. As they say, no calm waters made a skillful sailor, he decided to swim in the deep end with the sharks.
As a butterfly that is breaking off from its cocoon, Kennedy Kangethe aka Dew is ready to take on the music industry with the release of his first single “Nakuhitaji” on Friday.
Q&A with Kennedy Kangethe
Dannish: Dew sounds quite fresh and an interesting stage name, you mind sharing what inspired you to call yourself that? As opposed to maybe say Kangesh… Hehe!
Kennedy Kangethe: Hahaha yes it is… I loved practicing my voice in the morning, I loved the morning dew. It always presented a fresh start and that really filled me with hope. That’s how I ended up owning the name!
Dannish: The song Nakuhitaji sounds quite mature. The vocals, the track, the mastering and how mellow it is just caught my attention. So what inspired this song? Is there a specific story behind it?
Kennedy Kangethe: Thanks, Dannish. Love inspired the song… I was in love with this human being… She made me a better person and she also got me out of a pit I never thought I’d get out of. And even though it ended a while ago, this song is a reminder of where I have come from and where I am headed.
Dannish: Love love love. It’s always about love. LOL. You sound like you miss her?
Kennedy Kangethe: Yes I do. You know those people who come into your life and they just turn it around? That’s how special she was. I’ve however made peace with the whole situation.
Dannish: So who produced the song?
Kennedy Kangethe: The song was produced by a long time buddy of mine called Kevin Ondiko of Resoundz Media Studios, He was my pianist when I was in Campus. Thereafter he followed his heart into music as I followed a career in Journalism. We met the other day and he asked me to visit his studios and after a lot of Jamming, we recorded the song just for fun. Thereafter, he sent me the recording and I was blown away.
Dannish: So what’s the plan for the big day? What are the plans you have as you launch your new single?
Kennedy Kangethe: Well apart from launching on capital FM, I’m going out with my friends to celebrate. Nothing much. Most of the weekend will be about promoting the single in different media stations….
Dannish: That’s a unique way to promote Nakuhitaji… Hehe. So where can your fans join you tonight in toasting to a new dawn?
Kennedy Kangethe: It’s a surprise from my friends…I don’t know what they have planned, they told me to keep the launch party open! So let’s wait and see.
Dannish: What’s the long-term plan now that the joint has been released?
Kennedy Kangethe: The video of Nakuhitaji will be produced in a month’s time. I plan to have an album by the end of this year and a few more singles to support the Album. I’m excited to finally start my solo project, after years of being a background vocalist to the likes of Harry Kimani and Davis Ntare.
Dannish: That’s amazing bruh. Who inspires you most in this music industry? Either locally or internationally?
Kennedy Kangethe: My inspiration? Damn! John Legend, Adele, The Weekend, Ed Sheeran. Locally; Sauti Sol, Harry Kimani, Atemi.
Dannish: At what point are we going to see more of Kennedy who sings than the Kennedy who writes about Cytonn investments?
Kennedy Kangethe: First my stage name is DEW, I love writing about business, investments and the Kenyan Economy. That will not stop anytime soon and can’t deter me from singing. Striking the balance will be key.
Dannish: What about your aspirations? What is that one thing you hope to contribute in furthering the industry?
Kennedy Kangethe: Kenyans have started appreciating good music. I would like to be part of the musicians who are going to take Kenyan music to international platforms and standards. Who says Kenyans can’t win a Grammy? Who says that albums produced in Kenya can’t go platinum? It’s possible, with God nothing is impossible.
Dannish: What’s your take on #ElaniSpeaks
Kennedy Kangethe: #ElaniSpeaks, mhhh. Why did you have to open the Pandora’s box? First and foremost, artistes in Kenya have been used and unappreciated for long. I’ve tasted the bitter lemons by being called to play for free in many concerts so as to get my name out there. But people don’t realize the time and effort it takes to be a good singer. It’s not only about MCSK, the problem is bigger, it’s like gangrene that’s slowly spreading. Let’s keep the conversation going though.
Dannish: Your worst fear as you join the industry?
Kennedy Kangethe: Worst fear is stopping the music. The Kenyan music business is hard, and I have been thinking twice about getting into it. But I realize that it’s up to us to change the situation, not run away from it, it’s us the musicians to bring the change we want to see in the industry.
Dannish: Last word to your fellow artists?
Kennedy Kangethe: Let’s not give up; let us work on the craft and without letting frustration snuff away the great talent in us. In DEW (Pun intended) time, you will reap the benefits of your hard work.