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Singer Crystal Asige sues Sauti Sol, airline over music contract

Singer Crystal Asige entertains guests on January 19, 2022. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Sauti Sol band members have been sued by a former signee Crystal Asige over alleged breach of contract.

Ms Asige wants the court to compel the artistes to disclose how much they have received from hit songs Lenga, Extravaganza, Ukiwa Mbali, Intro and Favourite Song from 2019.

At the same time, Asige is also urging the court to order Sauti Sol to compensate her.

She is also seeking orders that they deliver all licensing information on the songs she is aggrieved about.

Crystal Asige has sued Sol Generation Records Limited, Bien-Aime Baraza, Polycarp Otieno, Willis Chimano, Delvin Mudigi and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Kenya.

Sauti Sol is known for hit songs such as Short and Sweet, Melanin and Extravaganza among others.

In her court papers, Asige says she is a visually impaired songwriter, performer, and producer.

According to her, sometime in 2018, she was living in Mombasa when Baraza allegedly asked her to join Sol Records in order to write and produce a song.

 She alleges that she was the only female and person with a disability within the label.

“While under the first defendant’s record label, the plaintiff co-composed and performed on the widely known recordings ‘Extravaganza’ and ‘Ukiwa Mbali’ together with the second to fifth defendants, and her then label mates, professionally known as Bensoul, Nviiri the Story Teller and the group Kaskazini in 2019 and her contribution was credited as such,” she claims.

Asige also claims that she arranged and performed background vocals on Bensoul’s song ‘Favourite Song’ in 2019.

She says she composed her own sound recording titled ‘Lenga’ allegedly released exclusively on KLM’s Facebook platform. She claims that the deal between the airline and Sol Generation was without her blessing.

“Additionally, the plaintiff’s original composition was taken from her and recorded as the sound recording titled ‘Intro’ and featured in the second to the fifth defendant’s latest studio album titled ‘Midnight train’ without the plaintiff’s knowledge or consent and released in June 2020 on the worldwide digital streaming platforms and social media and she was accredited as co-author of said song,” Asige’s court papers filed by Mwakireti and Asige Advocates read in part.

She alleges that after the release of the ‘Extravaganza’ video, Bien-Aime informed her that he wanted her to sign a full recording contract following the song’s popularity.

“The plaintiff communicated her reservations on the aforementioned agreement with the first defendant and requested to discuss and negotiate the particulars,” she claims.

They never met for negotiations, according to Asige.

She continues: ”On November 7, 2019, the plaintiff was invited for a meeting with the second defendant (Bien-Aime ), Natasha Qubu (first defendant’s manager) Moriasi Omambia (first defendant’s legal manager and shareholder) and informed that the first defendant (Sol Generation) no longer wanted to continue with the plaintiff at the label, initially citing that the first defendant was ‘flat broke’ with no resources to keep her.”

She alleges that in the meeting, it was agreed that she would keep full master recording rights for Lenga. Asige says she authored, composed, co-produced and performed the hit song, therefore, is entitled to copyright.

“The plaintiff was further informed that the first respondent was receiving a significant cash deposit of approximately Sh5 million from the sixth defendant (KLM) for use of her Lenga song,” she claims.