Willy:That ain't me
| January 18th 2013
Against the backdrop of negative publicity and runway fame, 19-year-old gospel newcomer Willy Paul, comes out fighting as he talks about his Christian faith, love life, school and music, writes SHEILA KIMANI
Pulse: Going by the buzz, you must be quite the ladies man?
Willy Paul: If having female fans that appreciate my music and applaud me makes me a ladies man, that’s okay because I do it for God’s glory. But that’s as far as it goes. I also have male fans. I don’t know why people never see that.
P: You realise that most of them don’t scream for the ‘glory’ but for you, right?
W: Yes, I am aware of that and I appreciate them. But there are boundaries they can’t overstep. After all, they have to respect that, and respect me as an artiste.
P: Was your girlfriend there when tabloids uncovered you and Pendo?
W: For starters, Pendo and I never happened. My ex-girlfriend was there through the entire hullabaloo. I’m glad that she stayed sane about it and trusted me.
P: Oh, she is now your ex-girlfriend?
W: Yes! Rather than start up rumours about me, media should consult because I will always tell it as it is. Abigael was my only girlfriend for as long as I can remember and everything else that was said about random girls and me was a lie.
P: Who is ‘Willy Paul’, really?
W: I am a gospel artiste aged 19, Kenyan by birth and from a family of three; my two elder brothers and mother. However, I have been blessed with a larger Christian family with J-Blessing as my dad and Chantelle as my mom.
P: J-Blessing, the gospel producer is your father? What is the equation?
W: He is the father figure in my life. I owe him a lot because he held my hand and guided me when I needed someone to. He was even there for us when my dad passed on. He is the greatest gift to our family.
P: How did you meet J-Blessing?
W: I was singing gospel acapella in one of the hotels as a way of making some money when he found me and discovered my talent. Being a producer, he was impressed and offered to help me through music.
P: Do you stay with your family?
W: No, I don’t. I stay alone in Kasarani (Nairobi) and unlike boys of my age, I have learnt how to be independent, and even take care of those around me.
P: What about school?
W: I am currently a registered candidate in Form Four. I am being home-schooled. That way, I have a flexible schedule and can take care of the small things that need my daily attention. Although it was hard leaving my former school Brainhouse in Mathare, I thank God that everything is going well and that I can even pay my fees conveniently.
P: What about your singing journey?
W: As a fan of bongo music, I knew I wanted to be a musician. J-Blessing offered to make my dream a reality and when he produced my first song Rabuka, my musical career had started off. I later met Gloria (Muliro) with whom we did Sitolia.
P: How was it doing a collaboration that turned out to be a hit?
W: I thank God for how well Sitolia was received and the positive effect it left on people despite the challenges that came with it. Gloria is more than a mother; a mentor, as well as a friend.
P: You two had issues on the collabo?
W: The issues were between her and I, not with the song. After all, we solved it maturely.
P: Can we look forward to other collaborations?
W: New collaborations are underway. Christina Shusho is one of the icons I shall be collaborating with this year.
P: Any other?
W: Yes! I am working on new projects. I will be charging Sh100,000 for each.
P: You are charging other artistes Sh100,000 for collaborations?
W: Yes! And that shall be for a worthy cause not for personal interests. I hope to do big collaborations in future and I see those funds coming.
P: How is your relationship with other gospel artistes?
W: It is humbling to meet fellow artistes and fans who appreciate my music, as well as mentors who guide me through my everyday activities.
P: Would you ever do contemporary music?
W: Yes. I would do awareness music to sensitise my fans on what is right or wrong, but I would never do ungodly music. If it doesn’t leave a positive effect, I won’t do it.
P: Besides music, what are you into?
W: I am a student and model with Imandi, as well as their brand ambassador.
P: What have you learnt from the industry so far?
W: That people will always talk and judge you, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I have fans out there and I only pray that they will not be quick to judge me, based on rumours.
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