BY NANJINIA WAMUSWA
Victor Mbuvi of the Kwata Kawaya fame is an award-winning gospel musician, a comedian, an Information and Technology expert, and a philanthropist. He spoke to Nanjinia Wamuswa about what’s new in his life, matters of the heart, his many exploits and future plans
You have been underground for sometime, what have you been up to?
I have been working on my new album (the fifth) and doing the videos of the songs. I have also been reflecting on my life and honing and refining my craft in music.
When did your love affair with music begin?
I have always loved music since my childhood. My mother encouraged me to pursue it from a young age, but then I didn’t realise I had a talent. Sadly, she passed on in 1999 before I launched my career. A year later — when I realised I could do professional music — I resolved to pursue it in her honour and to celebrate her.
I joined a group called His Image, who performed acapella and various renditions of other artistes’ works. We even modernised a Luo gospel folk song Niwara Nono. In 2001, I briefly teamed up with music producer R Kay and a friend to form Injili Group, which recorded Nisamehe.
Afterwards, I decided to go solo because I wanted to build my career and take it to the next level.
What are some of the albums you have launched?
So far, I have four albums and the fifth is work in progress. My first is Sweet Ndwale (2006) with tracks such as Nishike, Dua, Nisamehe, Osa Vinya and Kimbilio. Sweet Ndwale is song dedicated to my late mother. Second album Wewe (2009) with hit song Kivevelo, Kwata Kwaya (2011) and Created to Praise (2012). The fifth is in the pipeline.
What’s your genre of music?
Every genre depends on the message I convey. For example, Sweet Ndwale is R&B, Kwata Kawaya is a celebratory song full of excitement, therefore, a speedy and lively sound.
Musicians face many challenges before they make the big break through. How did you overcome that?
God divinely connects you with people who will help nurture and grow your talent. You have to know what your destiny is for you to recognise your ‘destiny connectors’.
It takes prayer, dedication to God and aspiration to be the best, to get that breakthrough.
For me, R Kay was my ‘destiny connector’. When I joined Parklands Baptist Church, he happened to be a member of the church and an upcoming producer. We became great friends, and he played a big role in ushering me into the musical fray.
Tell us about your educational background…
I went to Kionyweni Primary School in Machakos County, and then moved to Unity Primary in Umoja Estate in Nairobi when my parents got transfers. My father worked as an auditor and my mother was a banker.
I later joined Lenana School, where I played rugby. I then joined Moi University for a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and later pursued a Master’s degree in Computer Based Information Systems, at the University of Sunderland, UK.
Tell us about your employment history?
My first job was as a management trainee at Commercial Bank of Africa. I later quit and started my own business — Cyberville Consultant — dealing in Information Communication and Technology systems.
At the same time, we started an entertainment company — Shammah Boy Music — jointly with R Kay, which later became One Entertainment. I had a short stint as a lecturer in ICT at Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology. I quit a year later to concentrate on music.
What are some of the awards you have won?
I was the Kisima Award, Benga Artiste of the Year (2011), Groove Awards, Eastern Song of the Year (2010), Groove Awards, Traditional Song of the Year (2009), Kisima Award, Ethnic Fusion Artiste of the year (2008), Kisima Award, R&B Artiste of the Year (2005), among others.
In May 1991, I was recognised as Lead Boy and Best actor ‘Peace Child’ in Perth Scotland (International cast of youth). I also have a certificate for best rugby player from Moi University.
You are involved in a lot of charity work.
I’m the chairman of Kenya Association of Gospel Artistes, an organisation, which champions for gospel artistes’ rights. I own Sparkle Africa, which empowers and inspires youths. I started Kwata Kawaya Kidz Klub, an event for kidz involves fun and games and encourages, inspires and motivates young children.
I am also a board member of Spinabifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Kenya, which seeks to improve lives of young children born with the condition.
I am member of Wakenya Pamoja, advocating for peaceful coexistence amongst Kenyans, and I also work closely with mentally challenged athletes.
Kambua… Kambua… Kambua. Since the break up with this beauty you have never dated again. Was the heartbreak that deep?
Ha ha ha! I like taking my time when it comes to matters of the heart. I don’t believe in rushing into things because I believe that in God’s time, all things become beautiful. I believe life-changing episodes are never done in a hurry. My time will come.
What would you advise young people who aspire to be like you?
Before going out there to perform, they need to think carefully about the impact they would like their music to have.
They also need to realise that gospel music is not about competition, but a calling to serve, uplift and change lives through inspiring words. Therefore, they should not aspire to be the most popular singer in the world, but artistes who shape society in a positive manner.
You are quite funny. Where do you get that funny bone?
I think it is a gift from God. My mantle in music is to encourage and bring overflowing joy. Overflowing joy mostly comes from a hearty laugh from within and another from God. There is plenty of laughter in heaven because in God’s presence there is fullness of joy.
What are your hobbies?
Researching on everything that is Godly, information on the latest computer technology, movies, discussing great ideas, motivating young people, reading and travelling. I am also an author, just about to unveil a book that documents my life.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself as a voice that breathes new hope and vision in a transformed Africa. I intend to use my music to impact and inspire different generations.