Nick Ndeda is a writer, performer, actor, director, TV, and radio host, just to mention a few. He is a radio presenter and music scheduler at Kiss FM, has played roles on Sugar, Jacob’s Cross, and quite a number of films. He also happens to have played the lead role in the award-winning movie “18 Hours.” He is the co-host of “What’s Good Africa” – an African urban culture magazine show in partnership with Diddy’s REVOLT TV. The man is gifted. This intro in no way does him justice. So, how does a multi-talented creative soul harness everything out of the treasure of his heart? This week we speak to the mellow voiced wonder on life, creativity, and all things interesting.
When you look at your life this far, retrospectively speaking, what do you see?
I see a scared person. I see a young man who’s always felt fear and anxiety but has learnt how to ride that wave. The nature of my gifts has time and again put me in the spotlight. Working out the gift part was awesome! Knowing how to handle attention was something else altogether. My younger self didn’t quite know how to handle that; how to handle being stopped in the streets by strangers who just wanted to say hi, to know that I no longer had the freedom of walking around in T-shirts and sandals in these Nairobi streets. But it has gotten easier with time.
What do you enjoy most about radio presenting?
It’s the theatre of the mind. Radio gives me room to tell stories in the most creative way possible. Unlike TV where the audience can interpret certain things just by looking, with radio I have to paint every picture using the art of storytelling. I love it!
Actor, performer, writer, director, radio presenter, thou art very talented. How do you manage to harness all the abilities and skills you have?
There are a couple of motivating factors e.g. making money, haha. But seriously, I think more than 60% of people in the creative space globally are a struggling bunch. It’s difficult to understand how to convert what we have to money. Only about 40% are either making it or living comfortable lifestyles. Having more than one stream of income puts one at an advantage because then, you’ve got options.
Which remains your biggest gig to date? That one opportunity that got your heart racing so fast you thought ‘this might just be a dream’
My role on Jacob’s Cross in 2012. That was huge for me. I had just quit the radio gig I had at the time then this opportunity came knocking. I almost died one time when on set, lightning almost got me. For real! But that was part of the adrenaline adventure of it all.
Do ever feel low or empty? How do you deal with such emotions?
Yes. For one, I watch a lot of cartoons, then I just ride it out. It’s just a phase and just like it came, I know it will fade away. So I just relax and chill till it’s done then I’m back to my creative self.
What’s on your bucket list?
Funny you should ask that. I was just having that conversation with my wife this morning. I don’t have a bucket list.
I live life one day at a time, work out the opportunities that come my way, enjoy my life now the best way I know how. I have no expectations beyond that.
How did you start writing plays? Did you have a mentor?
No, I didn’t have any mentor in particular. I still don’t. I’m an alumnus of Highway Secondary School and drama was a big deal in Highway back in the day. My deskmate at the time proposed that I consider writing scripts for plays. I took an old script, reworked it and it worked out well. From there, it’s been one thing leading to another.
You come off as an aggressive, open-minded person, where do you get your drive?
Every time I get an idea in my head, I just won’t have peace until I see that idea come to life. Then once it has form, I feel a kind of inner release. That’s the best way I can explain it. That inner disturbance is what makes me wake up at 4 every morning, got me working on stuff because I can barely sleep.
What do you envision for your future?
Doing what I am doing now but on a grander scale; I’m preparing my platter for a global audience.
Imagine yourself reclining on a sofa, you are 99 years of age. The reality of checking out is closer than ever, what would you like to see when you reflect on your life?
How the random ideas I had at different times became something marvelous. A work of art built in a lifetime.
What are your thoughts on Instinct?
That’s living life on the edge but it’s always rewarding. It’s going with that gut feeling even when things don’t make sense. It leads to beautiful places but often feels like treading on dangerous grounds.
Your thoughts on God
I believe everyone is spiritual whether they admit it or not. I believe that everyone has heard God’s voice at some point, we just choose to either follow or not. I think people mess things up by trying to attach God to religion. He’s greater, much simpler, and reachable than that.
Your thoughts on making life transitions?
I believe transitions are inevitable. They can either happen with your participation or your observation. The former is better. I also think that it is better to be fluid, that means that we shouldn’t have our minds too fixed in one direction. Stuff happens, good or bad. Unexpected opportunities come knocking, not to mean that we pick up everything thrown our way but if it feels right even if it was unplanned for, then go for it.
Sometimes we are forced by circumstances to make transitions, fluidity helps us to get our mind and body into that space so we don’t break down or lose out on something good.
Your thoughts on money
I want to make lots of it so I can buy my wife a lot of pretty stuff. She likes good things and while I’m not much of a spendthrift, I would like to always offer her the best that I can possibly afford.
Aww, that’s sweet. There is nothing else you want to do with cash, you sure?
Well, money also gives one access. It’s a tool that aids in getting projects moving and so on.
Any plans of ever owning your radio station?
Nope. But I am working on a podcast; I want us to talk about current affairs but in a language that the youngsters can understand. The aim is to get us involved in the affairs of this country as opposed to just shrugging things off and labeling them as ‘just politics.’ We can’t change what we are not willing to address, right?
A word of insight…
One, try to be yourself. I know that sounds like a redundant piece of advice but please do. 95% of us are living for social media, we be on the gram trying to impress strangers. Please be true to yourself and run your own race.
Two, let nothing get into your head, good or bad. I genuinely treat compliments with the same energy as I do disses. I don’t allow stuff to get to me. If opportunities come my way, I’m grateful but I’m also aware that it’s not because I am special in any way. Tomorrow someone else will be seated on that seat. When I get nasty feedback about my work from people who don’t even know me, I also shrug that off and continue working on my craft. It’s that simple. That keeps me level headed.