How broke boys from Webuye risked to become new showbiz millionaires in the city

By Stevens Muendo | 3 months ago
Fortune Wasike. (Courtesy)

Fortune Wasike aka K Daddy had just left his Webuye home, in Bungoma County, to seek fortune in the city when a brilliant idea came to his mind. Even though he did not have a single cent, becoming a music star and making millions was his sure bet. It didn’t matter how this would come to pass, but he had God on his side.

Coming from a humble background, he had wanted to become a journalist, a career that would see him build a house for his mother besides supporting her other domestic needs. But here was a music option, one he has seen many of his peers take up and grow quick money. With the little he had saved before coming to the big city, he teamed up with singer Dogo Richie in 2015 to release Washa Candle, a song that would usher him into the glamorous world of showbiz. This would make him a superstar, or so he thought.

“I borrowed some money from my uncle and booked a launch party in a Nairobi hotel. The hotel charged me Sh30,000 and from the 220 CDs of the single and 100 T-shirts as my merchandise ready for sale on the big night, I was sure I would make at least Sh250,000 that night. Besides, I anticipated that I would get politicians and other prominent personalities to attend my launch and throw in something into the goodwill basket. Other costs included a projector that cost Sh20,000 to hire and paying transport for my parents who had travelled from Kitale for my big day,” K Daddy says, before pausing.

Invited guests came, ate and made merry. But at the end of the night, only two T-shirts and three CDs had been bought, earning him a paltry Sh3,500. It was a baptism by fire, one that he will never forget. With over Sh100,000 in unpaid bills, the first upset came with the hotel picking his phone as security. Debts haunted him. His dream was crumbling right before his eyes. 

“They (the hotel) took the phone and gave me my two sim-cards. I was so confused. I decided to give out the T-shirts and CDs I had planned to sell to the guests for free,” he says, noting that even the basket he had hoped guests would throw in financial gifts were empty. He had to think of getting accommodation for his parents as he was putting up in a friend’s house.

Little did he know the night of shame would be his turning point. After a month, his guests started referring friends to him. Some wanted to buy his music. Others wanted to buy his T-shirts. More serious ones gave him lucrative printing deals. And as radio stations started playing his music, K Daddy’s star started to rise. A young boy who had grown up in Kitale was beginning to eat life with a big spoon.

As the general manager of the recently launched Shamz Media stable, a creative outfit that nurtures musicians and deejays, runs a cloth wear and promotes brands visibility, K Daddy reckons that it takes innovative ideas coupled with risky but calculated moves for one to make it in Kenya’s creative industry.

He advises young people to come up with unique ideas before seeking networks that would propel their dreams to reality. This, he says, is the secret his friends and he employed to build their new business empire that is now becoming the biggest music recording stable and brands creation centre across East Africa.

“Using borrowed money, I registered the company with Sh25,000 as my childhood friends who are now my partners joined me in putting together the idea. We would give free merchandise with our company name to prominent TV personalities and other influential people who would wear the same and make our brand look so big. That way, we started getting major referrals and by 2019, business began to bloom,” remarks K Daddy, whose music company has attracted the likes of Jackie Chandiru from Uganda, Maximizer, a leading Tanzania DJ and producer associated with Diamond Platinumz’s Wasafi Records besides signing over 10 new artistes.    

“Through the networks we had made, we started getting businesses from corporates and one day, I was shocked when a client approached us with a job worth Sh6 million. He asked to see how legitimate our business records were and issued us with an LPO that we used to secure a bank loan to finance the project,” he continues.

The deal went through and since then, life has not been the same again. With the income they have bought studio equipment and printing machines for their design works and their Fortune Wear outfits.

Partnership deals

“Since then we have ploughed in about Sh10 million,” soft spoken K Daddy notes as he reveals that in the short time the business has been in operation, the young chaps have won partnership deals with like minds from as far as Europe where they have Germany Free Radio supporting them on an exchange programme.

“Our dream started as boys in the hood as we read the (Standard newspaper’s) Pulse magazine in high school and would wish to be the next Homeboyz, Ogopa Deejays and you know, produce the next Nameless and DJ Pinye,” beams K Daddy.

All that is coming true. The team has now shipped in some of the most sophisticated and modern recording equipment money can buy and are ready to hit the ground running as they focus on changing the music scene across East Africa and beyond. K Daddy says the creative industry is set for a big shift as the new crop of industry players employ innovative ideas and change the prevailing mindset that nothing much can come from show business.

“As we go round the country doing talent search, we come across hundreds of young people whose passion is to become showbiz millionaires. It always makes me reflect and acknowledge that some of the biggest entertainers the world has ever seen came from poor backgrounds. The future is bright for anyone who wants to have a piece of the big showbiz entrepreneurship pie,” he concludes.

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