Kareh B: I got into Mugithi by chance
By Stevens Muendo
| November 6th 2021
From face value, Kareh Gioche aka Kareh B is a woman who's got it all together.
She is a fashionista, a golden-voiced singer, versatile actor and an avid reader imbued with poetic prowess.
And given the path she is pursuing today, as a Mugithi singer, and doing well while at it, few would know she grew up in posh Nairobi suburbs.
Today, Kareh B is a Mugithi singer to watch, with industry insiders easily ranking her as one of the best. All these while her debut album is still on the way. This will be the first Mugithi album to be released by a woman of her generation.
Yet, Kareh B got into Mugithi by chance. Her eyes were originally set on urban radio and theatre.
She now blends old Mugithi tunes with other genres of music in what she believes is a calling to change the way young people perceive their roots.
“I began doing country cover songs with Sir Elvis, the popular country music singer. This was in 2014. This together with R&B and everything soul has been my kind of music. Many of my fans know me from my tours across the country with Sir Elvis, moments that gave me an opportunity to learn the ropes in stage performance and also helped me make grate connections and clientele that I am leveraging on today,” she says.
She was among the artistes selected to entertain the president at Wang’uru Stadium during the Mashujaa Day celebrations. The artistes went through rigorous auditions conducted by the Permanent Presidential Music Commission (PPMC).
When we talked to her, she was in Kirinyaga, putting the final touches to her act.
“If you asked me if I would find myself in such a position ten years ago, I would call you a dreamer. You are talking about a Kareh B who grew up listening to Mariah Careh and Whitney Houston as well as all the soul music and R&B greats. I made my transition to country music and embraced Kenny Rogers kind of vibe and that is the direction I believed my creative career would take. Having been a Nairobi girl associated with all things modern life, I never saw myself taking up the traditional Mugithi tune in my singing career,” she says, adding that at the age of six, she knew she would one day become a music star.
Her late father was a civil servant and the family was comfortable. Then he passed on in 2002 and that became a turning point as the family started struggling.
She dropped out of Kitengela Girls where she had just been enrolled and moved to Muranga to live with her grandmother. It was through her new environment around her grandmother and her new peers at Kiira Secondary School in Muranga where she started learning Kikuyu and Kikuyu music that her grandmother taught her every evening.
“You will one day become a big Kikuyu musician,” the grandmother would say. Kareh B laughed at her.
“After high school, I got enrolled at the University of Nairobi where I pursued a degree in Public Relations. While there, my desire to join theatre grew and in between my lectures, I would go to the nearby Kenya National Theatre (KNT) and take roles in plays, most of which were on secondary school set books. We would tour as a theatre group, presenting the plays in schools.
“My sister, Winnie Mukami inspired me to join broadcast media as I used to admire how she did her TV anchoring so effortlessly. My entry into broadcasting was through radio drama that I still do. I believe I will soon have my face on the screens to finish what my sister started. This runs in my blood,” she says of her late sister Mukami, the former NTV News anchor who succumbed to Covid-19 last year.
Now leading a new generation of women who have taken up Mugithi, Kareh B says she is ready to go down in history as the woman who changed the genre into an internationally accepted tune.
She says her new tune is a blend of the traditional Mugithi beat, R&B, reggae and soul, a fusion that captures her experience as a diverse artiste.
Having released her first major track in 2018, a collabo with Joseph Gatutura, Kareh B now has four singles out with eight more being completed in studio before her major launch in the next few months.
“The album is about everything love. Everything about relationships. It answers all the questions everyone has been asking me about love affairs,” she says wittily.
“That means you are finally revealing who you have been dating?” I probe.
“Not really. In fact, for the record, I am not dating. I have no boyfriends nor a lover neither am I searching or open to have one. For now, I am single and comfortable so let nobody believe all those rumours being spread that I am dating so and so,” she says.
“I have had a rough patch dating and the experiences have taught me a lot about men. Love is an immortal subject. It is just funny how you fall for the wrong person. It is ironical how you wish for someone who will never get to know that you are so down for them. It is crazy how someone is dating you and leading you on, yet he is organising a wedding with another one. My heart has been broken and I am taking time to repair it,” she concludes.
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