Gospel Artist- Joseph Shisia Wasira

1. What do you do?

I am a full time gospel artiste, involved in recording and selling gospel music, performing in corporate, weddings and gospel events. I am also a producer.

2. How did you get there?

I was born in Kakamega 1978, and discovered my talent in music at the age of seven.

I attended Emalindi Primary in Kakamega from 1984-1993. I was set to join Betere Boys High School but I never did because I didn't have school fees.

I improvised music equipment and entertained revellers at funeral and festive events.

I later joined various music groups and bands-recording several songs, till l found my own Injili Gospel Singers in 2001, with which l released song Omundu Omulosi. I am now pursuing secondary education as a private student in Nairobi.

3. It seems it’s every artiste’s dream to own a recording studio...

I cannot speak for others, but for me l had difficult time getting a chance to record, there were only four studios, and very expensive. Today, there is lots of talent out there. l want to help record at a cheaper price.

4. What is this 'Omundu Omulosi' song about?

It is a song composed in 2002. It humorously dramatises a family in suffering and despair hence, the crying sounds "Iiii!". Out of the blue Omukambi (pastor) appears and tells them to believe in God and all will be well. The wife accepts the pastor’s advice, but her husband questions where the pastor has been during their suffering. The man finally agrees to prayers and their lives change for the better.

5. Is it composed from your own experience?

Mmh...! I suffered a lot during childhood, struggling for basic needs and education, till l concluded our problem could only be the work of witchcraft. I got reprieve after accepting God into my life. The song preaches and advises people to seek only God’s help.

6. Wasn't it a good thing the song became a hit?

Yes. However, my challenge remains composing a song that would topple it. Its popularity has swallowed eight albums with more than70 tracks l have recorded, confusing fans into believing it is the only song l have.

7. I hear the song has fans beyond Kenya?

At first l feared it would limit audience for recording in Luhya. I was wrong.

The song has fans outside the community. I visit Central, Nyanza, Eastern and Coast during shows and find people who sing each and every word of this song. I have friends in South Africa and America who tell me the song has a large following.

8. So the song’s popularity isn't blessing?

The song earns me a lot of performances. I also had a chance to perform it before former President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga and many other dignitaries.

9. Would you consider your music genetic?

I think so, because my father was a famous guitarist though he never recorded. However, my victory is due to my own determination.

10. What are these claims we hear of Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) and distribution of royalties?

MCSK collects a lot of money but give artistes as little as Sh5,000, when we expect over Sh100,000. This discourages artistes. The leadership is bad. Pay from Skiza tunes is even better, because l receive Sh30,000 twice a year.

11. Are you married?

Yes, I’m also a father of three.