We had the pleasure of speaking with Kenyan artist, Founder and CEO of Cafe Ngoma – Steven Chege, also known as Steve Urban via social media. We talked Cafe Ngoma Awards, the future of Cafe Ngoma, entertainment in general and much more.
Here’s our convo:
What is Cafe Ngoma all about?
Café Ngoma is a Media and Entertainment company that promotes and provides alternative content from Africa and the rest of the World. Over time, the company has developed multiple arms that serve 360 degree solutions to industries and audiences across the board.
When did you launch Cafe Ngoma and how has been the journey?
Café Ngoma was launched on April 24th, 2016 even though it was initiated 9 years before that. The journey has been beautiful; a lot of highs, lows and tough times. What I’m grateful for is the grace to keep on and grow regardless.
Cafe Ngoma was on Ebru Tv, what transpired to your exit from the cable?
By the time I was leaving the cable, the show was doing extremely well numbers/ audience-wise but they hired someone that had the intention of revising its content towards a more mainstream angle including the entire station content-wise. I wasn’t open to adjusting what Café Ngoma offered and so I left so as to preserve its brand integrity and pursue other means of serving our audiences.
You recently held Cafe Ngoma awards where you had guests from the Hon Ezekiel Mutua, whats the future of the Cafe Ngoma awards?
Café Ngoma Awards will run annually with this year’s edition scheduled for mid-December. This is an initiative that seeks to celebrate Musicians, Businesses, and Personalities within the alternative space. The inaugural edition was held on 16th December 2017, attracting about 20,000 votes within 3 weeks, awarding 20 winners from 80 nominees, 16 categories, including 4 honorary awards.
It’s amazing to see the industry budding, with production/ songwriting outfits and such coming up which will be featured in our categories in the near future and so on.
What are some of the challenges you face running a brand like Cafe Ngoma?
Being new yet very dynamic, the market reception has been a bit slow as they try to figure us out and understand our intentions. A lot of effort has been required to promote our products.
How do you think Cafe Ngoma the brand will assist artists to grow?
We have multiple events across the year where we offer artists opportunities to perform. Mentorship has also been a service we’ve been offering on a small scale, helping artist sharpen their business edge. The awards ceremony introduced healthy competition as it has inspired artists to get to work and put their work out there.
One of our events dubbed Café Ngoma Social serves as a platform to merge both corporate and artist brands on a platform where an audience can tap into their journey stories, analyze and experience their products with a question and answer session involved. This opportunity also gives artists a chance to network and attract partnerships with corporate heads.
We also support artist events and music released by promoting them on our digital platforms and also emceeing.
Lastly, we are just about to launch a product that will help sharpen their skills, brands, field knowledge and corporate engagement through a program dubbed the Café Ngoma Music Education Program.
Aside from music, what else are you looking to venture into?
Aside from music, we ran an independent corporate agency, and some lovely releases that are coming soon, confidential at the moment.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Think different and do not be afraid of being the odd one out or alone. That doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path. It could mean that you’re about to initiate a revolution.