Published on July 23, 2022 |
by Jackson Ngari
Kenyan rapper and songwriter Kilundeezy is arguably one of East Africa’s up and coming talents. He spoke to us at The Hype Magazine about his musical career.
As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The same applies to Kilundeezy and his musical career. In this interview with Jackson Ngari, he tells how he got into music.
His journey began when he performed his first freestyle routine to a lady who was impressed by the lyrics. During this process of creating and recording freestyle rhymes, Kilundeezy knew music was what he wanted to do, even though he recorded his first song when he was broke. The feeling and satisfaction he got from this process could not be matched by anything else, so his musical journey began. Going from electrical engineering, a field where a good, stable and well-paid career is guaranteed, to a music career, a career full of uncertainty, doesn’t make sense. Especially since it was at a time when Kenyan music was still in its infancy. As you can imagine, one would be concerned about what their parents would think of the decision in today’s genge music climate, where a majority of Kenyans argue that it will fall, or rather end. Where the commercial appeal of the artist and the beats in the song are often more important than the quality of their music itself, Kilundeezy delivers a lyrically and vocally solid project that will stand the test of time.
We spoke to Kilundeezy about what inspired his entry into Nairobi’s burgeoning genge ton and R&B scene and why he spent most of his year focusing on music and nothing else.
Who is Kilundeezy?
Kilundeezy is a performing gengetone, RNB artist, songwriter, content creator and electrical engineer by profession who was born and raised in Kenya, real name Boniface N. Makuti.
How did you get into music?
To be honest, I never knew I had a talent for music until one day people bullied me on Twitter. At that moment, I didn’t know what I was thinking, but I figured I’d just make it look like a joke and hit back. I wrote some freestyle lines and recorded them on my phone without a studio. I did some freestyles and to my amazement the results were great. I immediately decided to put the clips online; Luckily, they went viral. At that point my stage name was Kilunda as all my freestyles ended with the signature (outro) Kilundeezy and from then on people started calling me Kilundeezy. As the days went by I started to do some serious freestyle. Also, I once did a freestyle for the beautiful Sheila Mwanyigha, who was impressed by the lyrics. Someone positively noticed my talent and promised to pay for my first track recording which amounted to Ksh 5000. After the Niko fete audio was released, everyone loved it, thanks to Kevin Keroro @vinni_ for making it possible. After that, the urge to go back into the studio to record had already started to burn inside me. So I went back, this time with my own money, and recorded Bomb Ya Saddam. At the time I was broke because I was unemployed and all I could afford was just to make an audio recording. But since I wanted to make a video and realized that a lot of people who like my music are on Twitter, I should try online fundraising. At first I didn’t know it would work. And just like that I tweeted about it and asked people to support me with anything even if it was 50Ksh. I posted the tweet around 12 noon and by 7pm I had scooped Ksh 30,000 all thanks to Kenyans on Twitter. And that’s how my music started.
When did you discover that this was the career path you wanted to take in life and who were some Kenyan or international artists that motivated you to take the craft seriously?
2019 November 20th, that’s when I started taking music seriously after releasing the video “Bomb Ya Saddam” and all I can say is that it paid off because that’s when I had my first one Playing live at Club 1824 in Nairobi and I went viral I had to take music seriously.
I’m a fan of Mejja, Ssaru and Trio Mio, internationally I’m of Moombahton music Dave Nada, Alex Font and Major Lazer.
What were/are your musical influences? What did you grow up with and how did that affect your art?
I grew up listening to traditional music popularly known as Mbenga and Geng’e which is Gengetone’s cousin. I even remember building a guitar that I used to play songs to my older sister after school, although I didn’t take it that seriously. Gengetone’s influence has had a huge impact on my writing.
What kind of things are you writing about? What are the specific scenarios that led to certain songs?
Mostly I write about parties as nobody has time to be sad.. my writing is influenced by nightclub activities. On the other hand, I love songs that are influenced by feelings. In general, I even write my songs based on the theme and events happening around me.
The first song of yours I heard was “FORM”. What was the process behind putting this song together?
Everyone was raving about Trio, so my manager reached out to his team. A month later I sent my verses; we vibed and recorded the song. He’s such a talented artist, from the way he writes his bars to his flow. Before we even released the song we jammed along in the studio and I could say the song was a breakthrough. It’s my best song so far and the second is “Bomb Ya Saddam”.
How do you usually make sure that your songs are uniquely different from others? And when do you find the best time to weave your linen?
First of all, I like to try out a beat style that nobody is familiar with; Sometimes it’s even hard to tell what genre of music I’m doing because it doesn’t sound the way a lot of people are used to, how I write my chorus and how I execute my verses. music is art; Ideas can come to you in the morning after watching a movie or in the middle of the night, but mostly my ideas come in the morning when I’m fresh or before I go to sleep. I like to try different beats to get an idea. So what I can say about music ideas depends on the mood. Is it a loving moment or a party situation, I come up with an idea.
What do you think is your biggest struggle as a musician?
My biggest struggle right now is the budget for a video shoot, including locations. The sites are always expensive, sometimes up to 30,000.
Getting airplay has proven difficult for many of our aspiring artists. How did you manage to get through?
All I can say is Kenyans on Twitter made it happen. Most of the time, they could request my songs from radio stations and TV stations. Also, when you have a good song, it’s hard for people to resist. For example, when I released Form, over 30 DJs asked for the 3 tracks. I can say that you also have to market your song and be creative.
What do you think of the Kenyan music industry? And do you think the government has done enough to support local artists?
The problem with Kenyan music is that we don’t believe in our genres (Gengetone) and also Kenyans don’t like to support their own to the end. If they support you today, expect them to troll you at the end of the day. But as involved as that is when you release a song, they will still support you. On the other hand, we like to jump into new genres; Look at Tanzania, they only do bongo and they meet crazy views.
I feel the government doesn’t support Kenyan artists. Check out MCSK; That tells you a lot that we need change in this industry, honestly.
What are your fondest musical memories?
That was the first time I did a song with Odi Wa Murang’a. It was like a dream to be my first collaboration. Second, I performed for the first time at the 1824 Club in Langata. You also have the opportunity to meet great artists like Fireboy DMl.
In what way do you promote your music?
Most of my fans are on Twitter. So I mainly use social media to promote my music and local DJs.
What can we expect from you in the future? Are there any other future projects you would like to share with us?
I am currently working on a single “Party Cup” which will be released next month; you all stay tuned.
your farewell photo
I want to thank you all for the support and the interview. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel; more is coming.
Your social media handles?
Tik Tok: Kilundeezy
No related posts found!