Just a few months after getting hitched, singer Kevin Wyre drops his second solo album with hit single, Uprising, taking Jamaican charts by storm, writes CAROLINE NYANGA
Pulse: We hear your latest single, Uprising, is doing well in the charts of most Caribbean countries?
Wyre: Yes, it is a riddim produced by Jamaican producer Arif Cooper of Fresh Er Productions. G-Money a long time friend of his who hooked us up and later Arif sent me a beat and I laid vocals on it. Apparently he loved the vocals. I later sent him the raw material and he mixed it in his studio.
P: How does it feel to reach such a feat?
Kevin Wyre Photo: Jenipher Wachie
W: It is an honour to be the first Kenyan to get a riddim. This puts me in the same league with the likes of Sean Paul and TOK. It was one of my dreams to be on a riddim and I am glad that I have accomplished it. I get messages from fans as far as the US and other countries saying they love it.
Kevin Wyre Photo: Jenipher Wachie
P: Tell us bout your album?
W: It’s called Ten Years Wiser. It is tribute to my 10 years in the industry. The content is more international as opposed to just being East African, which has boosted my career abroad. When I performed at the Malta Guinness Street Dance held in Nigeria last year the reaction was overwhelming.
P: What is the secret to your success?
W: Most of my songs are done in English, giving me an edge over many other musicians. Although some of my songs are done in Swahili, I believe the language barrier limits an artiste from communicating to a wider audience.
P: When did you hook up with P Square brothers, Peter and Paul Okoye?
W: I got their contact way before I traveled to Nigeria and we were in touch. And the day we performed at Malta Guinness Street Dance in Nigeria brought us closer. They gave me advice on how to penetrate their market through performances and music distribution.
P: Have you recorded anything with the duo?
W: We decided to work on a song together — a chorus but we didn’t manage to finish. They later sent me their vocals and Ulopa did the mixing. By the way, they have a big beautiful house with a well-equipped studio. And can you imagine a big room with mirrors all round just for dance rehearsals?
P: How many tracks are in the album and which producers did you work with?
W: It is a 20-track album including an intro. I have worked with Ulopa, Sammy Gitonga, Musyoka, Freddy of Homeboyz, Maich Black and the Herbalist, Goldenchyll, Arif Cooper and myself.
P: Which other artistes have you featured?
W: Faze, a Nigerian artiste signed on to Konvict. Others are Kenyan-based Nigerians Nicon (students in USIU), Chegge of TMK Wanaume Family and Navio from Uganda.
P: How different is your album from other artistes recording in the past?
W: I have finally found my tune and I am comfortable with it. Not most people are capable of doing music that would address the youth rebellious nature and making them feel like part of it. It is time artistes realise that music is a powerful tool of communication.
P: Is it pure reggae or a mixture of other genres?
W: The styles range from dancehall, R&B, and reggae.
P: Did you collabo with Nazizi?
W: No, but we are working on a Necessary Noize comeback project. As usual, people may be asking questions about the group. The truth is we have been doing lots of shows together abroad. Nazizi has a solo album, I feautre in the song Tell Me done recorded in Sweden. I believe we have both matured as artistes.
P: What is the future of Necessary Noize and East Africa Bashment Crew?
W: We are all individual artistes with strong points and vision. We always make it a point to go into the studio whenever we are on a Ugandan tour to do songs. I assure you, there is more coming from Necessary Noize and East Africa Bashment Crew.
P: Are you basically a solo artiste allied to Necessary Noize and East Africa Bashment Crew?
W: Yes I am solo, sois Nazizi and Bebe Cool. But Necessary Noize and East Africa Bashment Crew still exist in a big way.
P: How are you finding life since you quit the bachelors club?
W: Wonderful. I am happy. In fact, I have become more focused and responsible knowing that I have to take care of my family. It makes me work harder.
P: What impact did the recent death of Pop icon Michael Jackson have on you?
W: To me Michael Jackson will always be the greatest entertainer the world ever had.
Personally I started singing and dancing (moonwalking) because of him. He was my inspiration. My father had a large collection of the Jackson Five, including Michael’s World Tour. If I had a chance to meet him I would thank him for inspiring me.
P: What do you think has changed in the way reggae music is done locally?
W: Reggae dancehall has become very popular locally.
Every reggae artistes from Shavey and Slice, Redsan, Bebe Cool, Chameleone, the late Mighty King Kong had their way of interpreting their songs. People have currently accepted reggae with most radio and television stations playing the music. Most importantly Kenyans have finally accepted the fact that their own can do reggae as opposed to artistes from Jamaica.
P: What’s your last word?
W: It is high time the media start a culture of constructive criticism instead of bashing or trashing an artiste’s efforts. Those doing that should know that it takes money and effort to come up with an album or song. When you bash an artiste you are killing their career instead of nurturing or building.