Radio:The talent vampire
Ever since it caught the attention of radio executives that entertainment personalities make good presenters, there has been an open door policy for Kenyan artistes auditioning for radio. For radio honchos, it’s a win-win situation. The well-known artiste already has a following and thus will bring in listenership and the artiste by virtue of being on radio will continue to be in the public spotlight.
This has not always been the case though. For people whose musical careers are over, working in the media is the next best thing. It gives them something to do and some like Bob Kioko formerly of Five Alive actually are good at it. Others like Jimmy Gathu were able to juggle singing and being on TV but in the end, working in the media won. Of course there are advantages to having a regular job as opposed to working in an unpredictable industry. A regular paycheque and regular hours are sometimes enough to seal the deal that will have Kenyan artistes saying sayonara to the music biz. For others having a regular job puts music career low on their list of prorates. Here are a few individuals whose music careers have been on go-slow somewhat since they got on radio.
When Didge first came out he was packaged as the Kenyan Tyrese, because of his smooth vocals and that famous jingle for a soft drinks advert. His song Kitangoma placed him in good steed and after travelling the world, found himself in the Project Fame academy with Kaz. From the start, it was obvious whom the audience preferred and when Didge came home, his fans had grown tenfold. He Didge
released his album Vintage Swahili that featured the classic hit song Saa Zingine that was nominated for numerous Channel O awards and he was well on the way to becoming Kenya’s R&B king. Then he got a job on radio (probably after getting beaten by the Vipi media bug) and since then we have heard very little from Didge. However, we have heard and continue to hear quite a lot from his ‘sexy’ alter ego the DI.
From the Group Coca Cola popstars comes Sanaipei Tande, deemed most likely to make it of the three (for reasons best known to Homeboyz). Sanaipei wowed the crowd with her shimming hips and fresh look. She was once voted flyest female entertainer by Insyder. While she has consistently released singles and sung hooks, she is still not on the level many had envisioned. We don’t know whether or not Sana will record an album as she seems content with releasing one single per year. Her most recent hit, exposed a more grown up style and many hoped this would be the direction she would take but she chose otherwise.
The fact that Talia Oyando can sing has never been in doubt. She was going places when she embarked on her singing career, reaching her pinnacle when she collaborated with E-sir on Hamnitishii one of his last and most famous records prior to his death.
It was evident that her mellow vocals coupled with E-sir’s flow made the song a hit, never mind the eerily prophetic lyrics. Talia then got a regular job on radio and since then her creativity has been only evident in her choice of hairstyles. Now that she has left radio maybe she’ll get back to her musical roots…or probably not.
Freestyle King Mwafrika has another love apart from freestyling and that’s listening and playing hip-hop music. He is now paid to do that, so why does he need to record an album again? Since getting a job at Ghetto Radio, not a peep has been heard from Mwafrika.
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