We grew up watching talent competitions like Pop Idols, and our very own Tusker Project Fame among others. Not only are such shows entertaining but they also birth the careers of many incredible artists.
Although the Tusker Nexters competition is not being broadcasted step by step on TV; we have seen some snippets and highlights. The Nexters have also been sharing what’s going on with their growing fanbase.
Witnessing the “pre-fame” stage of an artist is an interesting experience; a social experiment if you may. At the Tusker Nexters residency, we got to watch the Final 7 chill, record music, jam, and learn. This was after seeing them thrill us on stage at the Semis.
Read the Final 7s take on what they like about being musicians, their summary of the last few months and their artistry.
Angachi who has been in the music game for seven years describes the last couple of months as “phenomenal”. At the house, he is welcoming and social but still calm. On stage, he connects with the crowd. His highlights are creating music and performing alongside big names in the industry. “Connecting with other Nexters has been also been so much fun. We got to share a lot of fun moments and ideas that will push each other forward,” he adds. His advice to upcoming musicians is; “find your niche as an artist and also know your worth! Opportunities come once and they will not come to you rather go out and look for them.”
Alex Bob Ogolla who is also known as Kamwana or Japeng Ma Jathum from Kisumu City defines his style as African Contemporary. Nexters has been- ‘Mit Aduwa’ which means ‘Tamu Sana’ ” His highlights? “Connecting and learning from the big wigs, IP consultants, audio-visual companies, celebrities, fellow Tusker Nexters, etc. I am even more excited to be out of my hometown to gain more experience. My biggest takeaway from the masterclasses is researching, exploring, and investing in what you do in life to add more value to your music.” “Music will make me dine and wine with Kings, and any other musician out there struggling to hit it, should know, steady smart work and patience is the key.” Kamwana is so polite, poised, and well-spoken yet commanding on stage.
Bakhita prefers to use her real name as her stage name. Bakhita Muniafu radiates authenticity, creativity, ambition, drive, leadership, discipline, and power. “It sums me up nicely. Over the years, it grew from a name to a title. Another memorable performer at the semis; is from Kitale and has been singing since she was four. She is a versatile songwriter able to write sensual, gospel, and Luhya. “My music will win even in other industries. Our generation loves and relates to the arts. I want to create an industry in the art that speaks to mental health. People also hate to share their personal experiences. I would like if can make songs that can get to people with mental health at the comfort of their homes.” Her quiet leader vibe is unmissable and when she sings you will feel calmness.
For Lexxie it has all been “surreal”. “I have made new music, friends, and memories. The biggest lesson I have learned overall is to be myself because there will only ever be one me. I have become a better singer and songwriter, and I have learned to express myself in ways that best suit me.” The Afro RnB singer is extremely grateful to her family, her son, and close friends for being an inspiration and to Tusker for giving artists such a great opportunity. Music is part of her DNA passed down from her grandfathers, who sang Bango music. “The other Coast finalists are extremely talented and good at what they do, and it is no surprise that they made it as finalists.” she also adds. We watch Lexxie both on stage and recording at the studio session in the house and she is a joy to watch.
Straight from Maseno Uni TK Lyon had the most lit squad at the Tusker Nexters Fest, dancers and creatives as well they came all the way from Maseno. TK inspired by the fierce, persistent, and confident nature of the lion gives off the same vibes. His style is all things rap from Trap to Gengetome to Drill. To him, the whole experience has been a blessing. “Auditions…tense …semis is “Art war” and the finals to interact with skilled creatives from the country a top tier experience 💯.” What advice would he give to upcoming artistes? “Monetize your music, safeguard your brand ..and always integrate art in all of its forms.” something he already does. TK is doing everything right. He is smart smart!
Veryl Mkali Wao was among the first five performers to hit the stage but she stole the show. A rapper, her flow and stage command were on top. “Being from Nakuru has imposed a very specific way of thinking on Veryl Mkali Wao. Where I come from, nothing is given. You either go hard or go home.” We experienced this for sure. “I would describe the experience as thrilling. The highlights for me were the progression to the next stage of the competition and the performances and mentorship by legendary artists like the Great Ian Mbugua. My biggest lessons are humility, hard work, patience, and persistence. I like to inspire different people out there; especially women and or girls who had given up on their music dream. In the music scene, the treatment you get when you are still trying to get your name out there can dampen your spirit.
Finishing off is Zaituni Wambui from Nairobi. Zaituni was saved by the judges and barely made it to the finals. The experience was nerve-wracking for her because she was doing things that “sijazoea” (not used to ). “The celebrity pairing was a highlight because I got out of my comfort zone and did a really good song with someone very established. Had to learn how to be authentic yet still flexible. That was a challenge for me. I rose to the occasion. The best thing about being a musician in Kenya and beyond is that we have more resources. It is a good time to be a musician. . Breaking through the market with my type of sound; a mix of contemporary music and taarab has not been easy. Zaituni is unforgettable.
The competition finale is approaching at the OctobeFest and we cannot wait for the magic that will be unleashed by the Final 7. The competition is part of the brand’s 100th-year celebrations which went through the country with massively crowded auditions and stage-by-stage eliminations that were not easy because of the talent out there. Make room for the Final 7 and others who took part in your list of faves!