Enos Olik: From Music’s Beat to TV’s Screen

Enos Olik is one of Kenya’s most sought-after directors. He rose to mainstream fame after directing the music video for Sauti Sol’s hit “Nishike.”  ‘That video was a game-changer for me. It was bold, fresh, and it got people talking. It really put my name out there and showed the industry that I had something unique to offer. Plus, working with Sauti Sol was an absolute blast, having come from the same high school and eventually doing music together.’ He says. Enos Olik’s love for music ignited in 2009 when he was part of a three-man band, Aziza Muzik.

Olik’s creative journey, however, was destined for more than just music videos. His ambition and talent steered him towards TV directing, culminating in his role as the director of Showmax’s music drama series “Famous” in 2021. In 2024, Olik returned with another ambitious project, “Jiji,” a Showmax Original youth drama series set in Nairobi’s vibrant neighborhood of Jericho. The series follows four high school girls as they struggle to escape the clutches of a local kingpin.

“Jiji” is Olik’s second major project as a director. It represents not just a continuation but an evolution of his storytelling prowess. “Bringing such a story to the screen would be a dream come true. I feel it’s the perfect time to celebrate our heritage even more and share it with the world,” Enos Olik states.

From Music Videos To TV

Did he always envision transitioning from music to TV directing? Olik admits, ‘Honestly, I always had big dreams. When I was starting out in music, I knew I wanted to tell bigger stories. Music videos were my playground, where I learned the ropes. TV directing and making films felt like the next natural step. So yes, in the back of my mind, I always knew I’d end up here.’

Olik’s experience in directing music videos has profoundly influenced his approach to TV directing. ‘In music videos, every shot needs to be a hit, like a well-timed verse. I’ve carried that into TV directing. Each scene has to be visually gripping, something that sticks with the audience. It’s all about making every frame count. This is also my approach when I do long-form narratives like “Jiji,”’ he explains.

Enos Olik

Visual Mastery

Recognized as one of the best cinematographers in Kenya’s film and TV industry, Olik believes in the power of visuals. ‘In cinematography, the first rule is simple: serve the story. Every shot, every angle, every lighting choice should amplify the story you’re telling. Cinematography is like seasoning in a good meal—it has to enhance the flavor, not overpower it,’ he says.

Directing “Famous” taught Olik invaluable lessons that he has carried into “Jiji.” ‘”Famous’ taught me a lot. I learned the importance of character depth and pacing, which I brought to “Jiji” to ensure that we developed a story that keeps everyone on the edge of their seats. Naturally, we grow from every work we do, and with “Jiji,” it’s more about approaching an ascending step in terms of storytelling,” he shares.

Music Remains A Constant For Enos Olik

Olik’s passion for music remains a constant, even in his transition to TV. ‘Music is the heartbeat of my work. It makes our hearts race toward love and whatever we’re feeling in the moment. It sets the tone and brings out emotions that dialogue alone can’t, or in some instances, adds to the emotions of the scene or sometimes not. To sell the authenticity of our world in “Jiji”, it was also important to add the sounds and music that tell the journey of “Jiji” as a character too,’ he emphasizes. The soundtrack of “Jiji” features a mix of Kenyan hip hop sub-genres like Urbantone, Gengetone, and Kapuka, alongside Kenyan RnB from new artists like Davaji, Trap Zabini, and Clinchy.

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