Sauti Sol lead singer Bien recently reminisced on how releasing their provocative hit “Nishike” brought about a rollercoaster of emotions and scary career moments.
In a sit down with Astar on his popular “Play House” series, Bien narrated how they were the industry’s clean boys who avoided raunchy songs but changed the tide by releasing the sexual song.
“Nishike was produced by Kagwe Muigai. He pulled up to the studio it was after we did the single “Still the one”, we were everybody’s darling,” said Bien.
“Then Kagwe came with that song. The moment he played that track, the moment I heard it, I was like f*ck it man I just feel like singing something raunchy here.
“Everyone was like fine. So we wrote the lyrics. Then we hit the gym for two months. The song was released and it caused an uproar. People who are purportedly our sponsors were like, we are not touching you guys again. It was 4 to 5 months of no work. We were blacklisted. We had never played a proper pop show outside Kenya at that time.”
Though releasing the song looked like a disaster as everybody in Kenya was turning against them, it turned out to be the flame Sauti Sol had been actually fighting for. Doors started opening and everything changed for the better.
“We were the first people in East Africa to hit 100k views in a day when the song was released on Youtube,” added Bien.
“Then we got a show in Nigeria. I remember we went to a party for a footballer who was playing in Europe, his girlfriend saw Savara, she was like, ‘I love this man, I have seen him is some videos…
“That chic made all of us get kicked out of the party. Anyway, Nishike opened doors for us continental-wise. People in Malawi requested for nishike chanting take off your shirt.”
Bien is just happy the song was released and they stuck to their guns despite the harsh response. It taught the band a very valuable lesson.
“Two things I learned from that, you should be answerable to your craft and your craft alone. In life, you pick a master. And I was told this by my life coach either you serve your gift or society and as a musician, your onus is to your gift,” he said.
“Whatever You Want To Sing About, Other People Will Feel It. And If You Choose To Serve Your Gift Society Will Align With Your Plan.
“If Sauti Sol Chose To Serve Society And Did Not Sing Nishike We Wouldn’t Have Crossed The Borders. We Would Have But Nishike Accelerated The Process. It Also Changed Our Money Game. I Did Not Even Come Back To Be Paid What Ww Were Being Paid. In Kenya We Now Said We Want A Quarter Of A Million.”
Watch the full discussion below: