MBUVI: I’ve been through a lot!
MBUVI: I’ve been through a lot!
Story by dooko
With 13 years in the industry, you still don’t see yourself as a successful artiste?
I feel like I’m starting my music career now. It seems to be shaping up so when it comes to success, am not there yet.
You started your career with a bang, right?
Yes, back in the year 2000, when I wrote the song ‘Ukilya Moko’ and Shammah sang it. But it has been on and off since then, until in 2006, when I released my first album, ‘Sweet Ndwale’.
Rumour has it that you studied engineering?
Not really. I did a degree in physics then did a Masters in Computer-based information systems.
That’s interesting to know. When was that?
I did my degree in the late 90s and finished my Masters in 2005. There was some interruption in between by work and music.
Where did you work?
I have previously been a banker at Commercial Bank of Africa, then after doing my Master, I lectured at JKUAT before venturing fully into music.
So you quit a full time job to venture into music? Does it mean that music is paying you better?
Of course my previous work places used to pay better but my passion for music made me venture into it fully. But I can confidently say that music is now a full time career for many musicians.
You have an interesting background. Tell me more about it.
Okay, I was conceived when my mother was only 19. Her boyfriend had asked her to consider an abortion but she refused. So I was born in my rural home, where my mother decided to go (for refuge).
So sad. What happened next?
She came back to Nairobi and I was left in the village with my grandparents. I even started schooling there.
At what point did you come to Nairobi?
When I was in Standard One, after my mother got married and she decided to live with me. What is interesting is that I had to repeat Standard One.
In the village, we were taught in our mother tongue, so I could not understand anything in Nairobi. It was quite hard; at some point I even hated being a Kamba because it didn’t sound cool anymore.
It’s interesting that most of your hit songs now are in Kamba.
Oh yes, I wouldn’t have imagined that.
So did you do well in class?
Yes, I topped my class on most occasions, then proceeded to Lenana School – a national school and went to Moi University. So I can confidently say I did well in class.
Was it difficult growing up?
Not at all. I got most of everything I needed. My siblings, a sister and a brother, did the same.
Well, you have three albums and just about to launch the fourth one. At what point did you decide to go into music full-time?
When I launched the album ‘Sweet Ndwale’ in 2006. I started getting shows here and there and later singer Kambua came back into the country from abroad and I decided to help her get a grip on the Kenyan gospel music industry.
I had made a name by then, but she hadn’t. I wrote the song ‘Kivevelo’ for her but we both got the credit for it.
Speaking of Kambua, entertainment pages had it that you were dating for some time. What can you say about your love life now, are you seeing anyone?
Ha!ha! I’m not dating at the moment, so I’m still waiting for my time.
Ten years after releasing ‘Sweet Ndwale’, you have just done a remix to it, featuring Emmy Kosgei. Why?
A friend of mine lost his mum two years ago. He didn’t know that his mother did so many things for the community until the day of the funeral when thousands of people turned up, saying how she had helped them. He wanted to keep the spirit going and asked me to do a song for her.
Then what happened?
Since I had a song already, I didn’t see a reason for doing another one. I got Emmy to boost it by using her mother tongue and so far it has been received quite well. My friend is in the process of starting a foundation.