Humphrey Osong’o, popularly known as Humbabah among his friends is a spoken word artist who draws inspiration for his pieces from life experiences and current affairs. A third-year student who is pursuing an undergraduate course in actuarial science at Kisii University believes that his pieces are the best and wants to connect people using his art.
Here is what he had to say to Kampus Buzz.
How did you realize you had a gift for spoken word?
I have always been good with words, and while in high school I started rapping. A friend and I formed a duo group and we would write and sing. However, discouraged by some people who thought I was too slow to be a rapper. When I joined campus, I would sit with my friends and start rhyming especially to girls passing by. A month later, a friend introduced me to the art and poetry club which would organize open mic sessions every fortnight. My first performance was a success and was well received and it was then that I decided to go into it fully.
What are some of the platforms that you have had an opportunity to perform on?
In 2015 I was introduced to Poetry After Lunch, since then, I have performed at the Kenya National Theatre for the PAL gigs. I have also performed at Mwalimu International Hotel for the 2015 pre-valentines show. Kissi University has also provided a great platform as I often perform my pieces at various events held at the school.
You haven’t yet recorded anything but you are working on something. Tell us about it.
At the moment I am focusing on pushing my brand so my name can be known all over. However, I am working on an album titled ‘The story of my Life’ which will consist of 6 pieces. I have already written three of which I performed one recently. Once I’m done with all six I will hit the studio. So hopefully by early January, the album will be out.
What are the challenges you face?
The industry is getting flooded. Everyone is doing spoken word nowadays. Some are in it not for the passion but just because it is some sort of trend. Another huge challenge is not getting paid by promoters. They want you to perform for free in the name of ‘getting exposure’. Art is also a hustle and we should be paid for it unless otherwise agreed.
Does school work pose a problem?
Not at all. I have learnt how to balance my time well. I only need like two hours a day to analyze and meditate on my pieces plus some forty minutes to practice with the other members of the Art and Poetry club.
What do you want to achieve with your art?
I want to use my art to connect people across the barriers of religion, social class, race and political divide. I want to prove that art can take someone from one point to another. I want to inspire someone and leave a legacy behind.
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