Brian Aseli is a TV host at KTN – Youth Café on Friday evenings, Artistic Tuesday on KTN home and the Hot Topics segment on Friday’s Morning Express show is where you will find him. He’s also a theatre director, script writer for plays just to mention. He has traveled to 11 states, met former president George W. Bush, Chuck Norris, performed before President Uhuru Kenyatta and other dignitaries all courtesy of music. At 26, he isn’t doing bad with his gifts, not bad at all.
Mention your most memorable encounter this far
As a child I dreamt of touring Disneyland. Back then my favourite TV program was Walker Texas Ranger. So, my ambition at age 6 was to someday meet Mickey Mouse and take a photo with Chuck Norris.
While studying at DayStar University, I got a chance to tour The United States with Hellen Mtawali and the Afrizo Band. While there, we toured Disneyland and guess who I met, Chuck Norris! That was such a highlight for me. The other exceptional highlight was meeting former U.S. President George Bush as we performed at his home church. Afrizo US Tour 2014, marked as a phenomenal chapter in Aseli’s life.
Other dignitaries I have performed for include President Uhuru Kenyatta, the former British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner during the Queen’s Birthday (3 years in a row).
So your gift has literally brought you before kings
Yap. Just like the good book says.
That’s impressive. From your journey so far, what advice would you give to someone looking to grow in the entertainment industry?
Research, research, research, I cannot emphasize enough. Maneuver based on facts, see how you can make your craft better, understand the industry, see how others are doing it. Be intentional about the brand you are working towards building. Focus on building a brand not just a getting likes on social media – that is how you stand the test of time.
What is the most important thing in life to you?
Peace of mind. With that, I have everything.
What are you most grateful for?
My life as it is now. It’s almost everything I envisioned, interesting how it’s a manifestation of my journals as a young Boy Scout Patrol Leader in primary school.
Tell me about the journals
As a young boy, I was about 6 if my memory serves me right, my Dad bought me my first camera because of my passion for photography. I got so excited that I recorded in my journal that I would always capture moments and tell the African stories. I did not realize that dream through photography but through music – I’ve worked with Next Level Production Company by Cleophas Malalah (2010), Afrizo Band(2011-2016) Redfourth Chorus (2016 to date) and Spellcast Media(2014-2018).
In my journals, I wrote that I would travel to the U.S. with a music or theater band and would someday become a Hollywood Star. I was 13 when I wrote that. I am not a Hollywood Star yet but music has taken me places, 11 States to be precise. It was my father’s dream to travel to the U.S. as a musician, he didn’t but he passed on his passion to me.
So would you say you are living your father’s dream?
No, not really. If anything, I think I would have taken a very different route if I would have followed everything my father wanted. He wanted better for me, maybe because there was a measure of disappointment the pursuit of music had brought him, so he wanted to shield me from that pain. So, in many ways, in as much as I do come from a family of people gifted in this area, I had to really fight to get to where I’ve gotten. Parental need to shelter their children from pain can sometimes become the very obstacle to their destiny. But if one is truly a dreamer, then they have to allow the inconvenience of disagreements and being misunderstood for a season in order to get to where you need to go.
How is your relationship with your father now?
It’s good. We’ve had our moments of intense disagreements but I respect him greatly. I am the man I am because he has sacrificed a lot to see me get ahead in life.
Do you still journal your dreams and aspirations?
Who is Brian Aseli to you? How do you see him?
I see him as an unstoppable dreamer, a dream catcher, a visionary but in regular terms, I am a young, creative journalist, a theatre director and an artiste.
Of life on the TV screen?
It’s a great feeling, an opportunity to interact with millions of people from diverse backgrounds. But I never get used to it, each episode still feels like the first time. I get nervous. But over time, I’ve learnt to master that feeling and deliver.
TV has been good to me, it has diversified my perspective; knowing that I’m creating content for the naive and the experienced. Striking a balance is not easy.
Where do you go when things when things feel rough?
I go to my parents’ house in Kawangware. There is a little room that I shared with my younger brothers Mike and Andrew while growing up, it keeps old history books that helped shape my character. That atmosphere revives me.
My anchor is my faith in God. I believe in Jesus and that alone sustains me, keeps me when things aren’t going so well.
What easily gets on your nerves?
People that demean others because of their position in life, social status, gender, religion or faith. I try my best to treat the janitor with the same respect I accord my boss. At the end of the day, we are all human.
What is your ultimate dream?
To leave a legacy, be a source of inspiration to others even those who interact with me on a day to day basis.
What has been your greatest secret to remaining relevant in this industry so far?
I read a lot, I research and study journalistic patterns. I study greatness; get to see how others have made it.
Do you have a mentor? How has having mentors helped you leverage your opportunities?
So far, I’ve had three key mentors. One, the now Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malalah, he taught me how to obtain great stage presence as a performing artist and become an eloquent public speaker back in high school. He was a student at USIU at the time and was training drama in high schools. I became the best performing male artiste at the National Drama Festival (Top most award of the festival) of year 2009 courtesy of his mentorship, from Vihiga High School with love (smiles).
Justin Ong’wen, Drama Director at Riara Springs High School, the man taught me how to create and critique any artistic pieces. He taught me scripting and directing. He also taught me the art of being a man; courtesy, respect, empathy and confidence. While serving as the assistant drama director at Riara, we mentored the likes of Laura Karwirwa (renown gospel artiste and TV host at Citizen), Foi Wambui (Law student/Actress and Influencer), African Nduta(Swahili News Anchor at Radio Group of Africa) just to mention.
Hellen Mtawali taught me music, dance and how to network. She opened doors for me to perform before kings, presidents and diplomats. She taught me how to boldly chase my dreams and shaped me for an international platform.
It’s important to have mentors, they help you learn and most importantly unlearn. They have been where you are and are just back to hold your hand and help guide you to your destiny.
What habits do you have in place that keep you growing?
I set goals, both short and long term. Short term goals are projects that challenge me and compliment my growth, they help build on my long term goals. For instance, I am always scripting T.V shows, series, stories as I prepare for the long term goal of owning a production company.
If you were to meet one person you admire greatly in this world who would that person be and why?
I would like to meet Denzel Washington. Just like his father was a preacher so is mine, just like his mother was a beautician and teacher so is my mother. Same exact passion he had for journalism and theatre is the perfect fit to fuel for my career and passion. He is a living legend, a game changer and pronounced achiever who inspires greatness in all spheres of life.
What would you say is the place of discipline when it comes to growing?
Discipline is everything. It teaches obedience, with obedience comes patience to learn and to grow. It holds every virtue together. It draws the line between cautiousness and recklessness. With discipline, you stick to the vision and eventually actualize is. It’s the only value that helps you draw the line between mediocrity and excellence. We need it in all walks of life.
Greatest piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
That would be my dad. “Do it yourself,” he said. He taught me that if I don’t do things for myself then I won’t gain the experience and nothing beats experience.