To some people, jazz and contemporary music might be boring, but that is not the case for Emmanuel Irungu. To him, it is a way to express himself in a unique and beautiful way. Music has always been his passion, and a major part of his life. He started playing the piano at a very young age. It’s with this same passion that led him to start , a music production company that he uses to produce his own instrumentals as well as other musical expressions.
The company initially started out as a music group in high school consisting of Emmanuel and some of his friends. But it was in 2015, that the company was officially started after a series of meetings with those who would later become administrators. In 2014, right after high school, Joseph Mutoriah, a well-known pianist in Nairobi, called him and gave him an opportunity to play at a concert by Sauti Academy. It has been an upward journey from then on.
The 19 year old, who is pursuing Journalism and Broadcast Media in United States International University, says there have been many challenges. Balancing business and school is not easy considering he has to practice his music for at least two hours. Through this however, he has learnt to manage his time efficiently giving his all to both his studies and music. In addition, finances are quite a challenge and it has not been easy getting enough capital to kick start his company. He is however quite hopeful that by the end of this year, he will have his first full music production studio.
The biggest challenge would be that the Kenyan audience are yet to fully embrace local music, especially jazz music. Jazz and contemporary music are still viewed as boring and too formal. According to him, few people are willing to listen to let alone pay for jazz music. The Kenyan music industry is not yet mature enough and they even lack policies and laws that support music as opposed to other countries. Things are however getting better with time, though at a slow rate. This unique genre of music is coming up, thanks to jazz icons such as Aaron Rimbui who is a jazz pianist and producer.
His advice to fellow youths: “Do something alongside the partying and having fun that will make you known to people and will also build your future. Listen to your inner voice more than what people say. Build friendships and relationships that add value to you and what you do and create networks. Even the smallest network could be a gateway to something bigger. But most of all, pray for what you do. That is where the inner strength comes from.”