Nameless: Still rocking the music scene 20 years on
By SONI KANAKE |
4 years ago
David Mathenge 41, better known by his stage name ‘Nameless’ has stood the test of time to be one of Kenya’s top artistes. He takes us through the journey and he shares the secret that has kept his marriage afloat despite all the rumours out there.
Tell me about your latest song. What inspired it?
My latest song is called ‘Inspire.’ I released it about three weeks ago and it can be found on YouTube. It’s a song about an inspiring love that captures the body, mind, heart and soul. I got the idea of the chorus while on a trip to Amboseli and was watching the sun set with a beautiful view of Mount Kilimanjaro. I later shared the idea with my producer, Ihaji and completed the song earlier this year. We decided to shoot the video at the same location that inspired the idea.
You have managed to remain relevant; what’s your secret?
I must say I have been blessed to continue to capture my audience for almost 20 years. I don’t take it for granted. I always say that for a musician to flourish, he must continuously improve on his talent, discipline and strategy. That’s what I have identified as key elements in connecting with your audience. I continuously read the market to inform my creative process. I also have a good team that advises my next move. Reinvention is not easy but with the correct guidance, you can continuously capture your old and new audience. I am still learning and growing and hope to inspire many with my journey in this industry.
Do you write and record your music?
Yes, I always write my own songs, I also produce all my works. However, for my upcoming album I have some songs written for me to allow for diversification of the project. My style of writing is unique so it’s not been easy getting writers who understand it. However, I also it’s important for artistes to encourage specialisation in the industry so that we can improve and grow it.
What tips would you give upcoming artistes?
Be true to yourself. This industry is not as easy as it looks. Identify your weak points and improve on them. Market your strong points and reinforce them. Rate yourself genuinely and find ways to improve. You need to prove yourself in order to get people’s attention. The mistake many upcoming artistes make is to assume that just because you say you are an artiste, people must then listen to you. Feeling entitled will get you nowhere. Work hard, work smart, respect the hustle, be ready to learn, appreciate your fans, get a good genuine team to support your journey and get constructive feedback to help you improve with every project you release.
You are an architect by profession. Do you practice?
Yes I studied architecture. I’m selective of the projects that I get involved in and partner with my peers in the construction industry from time to time. I also run my company, Jengoz, that documents the stories of construction processes of major projects. I direct these construction documentaries for companies that want to have this footage for varied uses.
Do you ever wonder why you didn’t just study music?
No, I thank God I studied architecture and learnt music on the job. It gives me the best of both worlds. The principles of creation are the same in both professions but studying architecture gave me a broader understanding of people, culture, branding, order and structure, planning, creation, presentation and execution. These principles have helped me greatly in my music career.
What drives you and what do you believe in?
What drives me is a desire to make a positive difference on this earth for the time that I am here. I believe in living a balanced life. I want to grow in my mental intelligence, physical intelligence, emotional intelligence and spiritual intelligence so as to live a fulfilling life. Life is short so live it to the fullest.
Nameless the daddy – Are you the disciplinarian or are you the good cop when it comes to parenting?
We switch roles with my wife. Sometimes I am the disciplinarian; sometimes I am the good cop to run to for consolation. It’s funny because Tumiso, my first born, has identified that strategy, so she teases us sometimes and says, “I see today dad is the good cop” when dealing with her small sister.
Musically speaking, do the girls follow in either of your footsteps?
Tumiso is definitely an amazing song-writer. She sometimes comes up with such mature lyrics and melodies, that shock her mum and I. We encourage her to try out different things to see where her passion lies. Nyakio just loves dancing and copying her big sister’s moves, (laughs).
Both their parents are celebs; how do they handle that in school and out and about?
Tumiso is now old enough to understand that her parents are public figures. When she was younger, she used to wonder why we knew so many people in the streets. (laughs). We have to continuously build her self-confidence and character to handle the good and the bad that come with public scrutiny. She handles it very well. She is highly emotionally intelligent so she handles it very well. Nyakio is still too young to know what’s up.
So much has been said about your marriage, how do you make it despite being in the limelight?
My marriage to Wahu has a strong foundation of friendship, love and understanding. We definitely face many challenges like any other married couple, but we have a high level of communication, emotional maturity, patience to overcome the challenges that come in marriage. We are both in a tricky industry which is filled with public scrutiny and rumours, so we have to be very careful and protective of our family.
Any tips for a successful marriage?
I am still learning a lot in marriage. But communication is key and striving to first understand where your partner is coming from creates an encouraging environment to handle differences. Appreciate both of you are from different backgrounds, have different personalities, and generally think differently as man and woman. Learning to understand these differences and focusing on the positive aspects of your marriage will greatly enhance constructive communication. Ensure that you look for win-win solutions to your differences so that none of you feels oppressed. I recommend The Seven Habits by Steve Covey, he has a lot of principles that can help you be a better partner.
You have a great body; is it working out or good genes?
Well thank you. It’s a bit of both; I think I have a high metabolism so I don’t easily gain weight. However, as I get older I have also started going to the gym to keep fit and toned. I also try to eat well and drink a lot of water.
How do you keep the fire in your marriage burning?
Well, for us we have a lot in common...we love to do the same things. I think my wife is beautiful and sexy and always let her know it all the time. At times we go for trips just the two of us to spend quality time together.
Do you think a couple should have a joint bank account or separate accounts?
I think you should have both. We have separate and joint accounts. As much as we are together we are also individuals. So we look for an interdependent kind of relationship.
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