Comeback king Nyashinski has been on a roll this year; ever since returning to the industry and taking it by storm, Shinski has refused to rest on his laurels; he has just released a follow up to ‘Now you know’ and is cooking up more, all while he works on A Coke Studio project with Yemi Alade. I caught up with the music legend to talk about his project as well as the state of Kenyan Music, thanks to the good people at Teenwise Media and Coke Studio Africa.
Nyash began by speaking with much amusement about his Coke Studio project.
“It’s been a lot of fun; work shouldn’t be this fun! It’s been great getting to know the artists as human beings too, and I’ve learnt a lot. It’s a great platform, and the viewers will love it.”
One of the standouts from my interview with the hip hop legend is his passion for music; he spoke against Kenyan music being referred to ‘local’.
“It’s not local music, its Kenyan music; Sauti Sol are not local artists, they are Kenyan. Their music is heard all over the world”
He also urged people to embrace their love for Kenyan music.
“All of a sudden it’s become cool to say ‘I don’t even like local but I like your song; I like that song you did in the desert’” he says, much to the amusement of mine and several other interviewers. “Stop man, it’s cool to be Kenyan!”
“I also want the industry to grow so much that people confidently say ‘I’m a musician’. I can tell someone ‘I’m a musician’ and that person will say ‘okay, what else do you do?’ you get?”
He also shared some insight into how he markets his music, in which he appears to take a pretty laid back but successful approach.
“Online, basically; social media plays a big factor, as it’s the best way through which a musician can connect with his fans.”
He also gave some advice on how to go your way in the music industry. “Enjoy yourself, and do things you like. This thing doesn’t last forever, so you have to make the most of it. It’s supposed to be fun; once it feels like a strain then you’re doing a something wrong”
One of the standout themes from Nyashinski’s comeback song was his previously short stay in the industry. He says ‘mi ni Yule mgeni alikaa siku mbili tu’, implying that he did not give us enough time to get tired of him; which begged my question:
“Do you think that some musicians overstay their welcome in the industry?”
He ponders for a while, “That’s an interesting question; well, that line had more to do with the perception of the fans, not the reality of the situation. People treat you like ‘mgeni amekaa sana’ not that you have stayed too long. This thing is for everybody, and anybody can do it for as long as they can if they are dedicated. The fans will love you if you do it right.”
We also got to talking about Klepto’s ‘Tuendelee’ a hip hop song that highly resonates with people aged 20-30 years old; most of whom can easily recite his first verse.
“People say that it’s the best diss song of all time” he says. “I would call it more of a response song, though. The song was a response to a number of people; we didn’t have time to go name by name so we ‘compiled’ them and responded” he says with a laugh. “There was a lot of talk about people needing to rap more, and not mixing styles like we were; so we just wanted to reminder that mixing styles is completely okay.”
“People say that it’s the best diss song of all time, but did you expect it to become one of the best Kenyan hip hop songs of the time, and now too might I add?”, I asked.
“I did not anticipate that; Actually, I didn’t think about that at all. It isn’t in my nature to give my song expectations; it’s natural but I tried to keep away from that. We knew, though; we tested it with our small circle and it tested very well, so we knew it would become quite something. But nah, I didn’t expect it to become what it became; thank you for that though!”
Nyash signed off with one piece of advice for young people and teenagers:
“Respect your mothers; nobody will ever love you like your mothers do, and it gets to some age that teens feel more irritated by your mothers, but please respect them.”