Isaac Kimani has a beautiful voice – okay, that’s an understatement. He has a… soulful voice and talking to him in person is no different, he’s a soulful man. A man of depth. Melody is but one way he expresses the ocean of passions that lie in his heart. He just released his first-ever recorded single, “Songa Mbele” and is more than astounded at the reception he’s been getting. It is said behind every man there is a story. This week, Isaac shares his story with the KenyanVibe.
Men of soul…
They are family. It amazes me that since I met Noel Nderitu – the man behind the ‘Men of Soul’ idea and platform – I have found such a place of acceptance. I knew I could sing but his belief in me has at times caused me to wonder what he sees in me that I don’t yet see in myself. Here I found amazing cheerleaders, people that helped me be comfortable in my own skin. Noel is that man who gave me my first ever paid gig. I performed and ministered on different platforms before but as a volunteer.
Where did your love affair with music begin?
I come from a musical family, I remember listening to my dad play the guitar when I was young. My father noticed I could sing from when I was 4 years old, so he got a guitar instructor to teach me how to play, but the theory presented was too much for my young mind so after a while I dropped the classes. Then when I turned 6 years, he bought me a guitar. I watched him play and copied how he plucked his strings. That is how I started learning how to play the guitar. So, yeah, me and music have a long-standing relationship, (smiles).
My mum used to sing at church too. That’s the environment I found myself in my formative years. It worked well in shaping the man I have become and the one I am becoming.
What element of music do you love most?
Creating music; music arrangement. I love seeing tunes that once played only in my head come to life.
Which is your favourite instrument?
My primary instrument is my voice.
How would you say music has influenced your relationship with God?
Creating music has forced me to intentionally understand who God is, what absolute truth is. There are things I have done in my past as a music minister that caused me to question who God uses and how he works. Times when I went through deep discouragement and doubted God deeply – yet in such times I had people walk up to me and tell me that they were healed while I sang; like from physical ailments. I can assure you that it was not because I believed that people would be healed. If anything, I was lecturing God in my heart because of all the hard things I was going through. Music has taught me the benevolent nature of God – when he gives gifts, he does not send for them to be taken back because we (as human beings) are behaving badly. He is unrepentant of what he gives. I tasted of His grace – that His love for me is independent of my failures. Music has revealed certain facets of God to me that I may not have known otherwise. I have cried in music, I have expressed my frustrations in a tune, I have been appreciated as I plucked strings. Through the highs and the lows, music has been a core part of understanding myself and interacting with the divine.
And what have been some of those lows…?
Most of them were family related. There were also times I struggled with feelings of extreme melancholy.
What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve encountered on this journey?
Discovering a way of building a career out of music. At the end of the day, we need to find a way as musicians, of using our gift to pay our bills. Having a young family to feed means that it is extremely important that I have that figured out.
I double up as a sound engineer. This helps me to use my gift in diverse ways to obtain an income.
Your greatest triumphs so far?
The amazing reception I have gotten for my music even without intentionally marketing. It has helped me to verify that there is a larger audience out there that is interested in what I have to offer the world – my music.
About your latest release…
‘Songa mbele’ is a letter to myself; to remind me that my journey is my wealth. The painful experiences I have had to endure, the laughs, the wins, the disappointments as well as the encouragements. Everything in between is shaping me to become the man I was always meant to be.
In what way would you like to see growth in the music industry?
I feel like as artists we need to educate ourselves more and see how we can develop systems that allow us to live off of our God-given gifts.
What is your ultimate dream for your gift?
To help the world discover who they were intended to become.