Nikita Kering Identifies Main Problem In Kenyan Music

Her sentiments elicited mixed reactions, with some Kenyans agreeing with her and...

Nikita Kering Identifies Main Problem In Kenyan Music
Collage of Kenyan singer, Nikita Kering. /INSTAGRAM

20-year-old award-winning Kenyan singer Nikita Kering believes that Kenya does not have a unique identity in terms of music.

In a video seen by Viral Tea on Thursday, January 19, Kering criticised Kenyan music for lacking its own genre compared to other countries in Africa.

According to her, Kenya is reeling from the effects of colonial rule by the British, thus its lack of identity shows in terms of its music, among other things in showbiz.

“I think the one thing that's definitely confusing is the fact that there's so much going on. So even if Kenyan music was to hit we still don't know what Kenyan music is.

Nikita Kering posing for a photo. /INSTAGRAM.NIKITA KERING

"I think we were heavily colonised and our identity doesn't even show in our music. Our identity lacks in very many things,” Kering stated.

Her sentiments elicited mixed reactions, with some Kenyans agreeing with her and going to the extent of culture and language in the country being heavily borrowed from Western culture.

However, others believed that Kering missed out on mentioning genres such as gengetone and Benga, the latter of which is commonplace within local entertainment joints across the country.

"We have Benga. Taarab. People need to go to local clubs and listen to local musicians especially those who sing in vernacular and have a band. I mean, Afrobeat is a very recent Nigerian Genre of music that is derived from Fela Kuti’s style.

"By and large, many Afro-centric Kenyan bands are borrowing heavily from Benga & Rhumba….but do we really listen to the music or we simply hear it?" Cate Odera questioned.

Despite gengetone enjoying mixed trends as of now, many believe that one of the most popular local genres can be traced back to the 2000s when the Calif Records label completely changed the atmosphere of Kenyan music.

Stars such as Nonini, Pilipili, Flexx, Lady S, Jimwat, Mejja and many more had some of their music successes attributed to Calif Records which was co-founded by celebrated music producer Clement Rapudo Sijenyi, alias Clemo, who was nominated by Nairobi governor, Johnson Sakaja as County Chief Officer on Tuesday, December 13, 2022.

Even if her sentiments are arguably relatable, Kering has had one of the fastest ascensions to the top in her short time of being in the music industry, winning accolades along the way. In November 2021, she won two awards; Best Artiste RnB and Soul Award and Best Female Artiste East Africa Award.

Her most played song on her recent album The Other Side was On-Yah, released on October 14, 2022, which received over 33,000 views on the morning of its release.

Kering was also featured on the New York Times Square Billboard and bagged Spotify’s Equal Program ambassador title.

In December 2022, Nikita joined other big names that performed at BBC 1Xtra, the first Afrobeats concerto, performed with the full complement of the BBC Philharmonic orchestra, commemorating 20 years of the BBC 1Xtra's commitment to supporting and promoting black culture.

"A dream come true. So fresh, thank you for making this track with me. I have so much to learn, can’t wait to see what Better looks like," she said as she appreciated her producer after the performance.

Other artistes who shared a stage with Kering were Nigerian singer-songwriter CKay, London-born and double Mobo nominee Maleek Berry, Sarkodie, and Finesse singer-songwriter Pheelz.

The musician who uses various genres in her music which include, RnB, Afrobeat, Pop as well as Soul drew inspiration from five women: H.E.R, Tems, Beyonce, Ann Kering (Nikita's mother) and Elizabeth (Liz) Lenjo, an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

Nelly Makena, Nikita Kering and her mother on the right during a past red carpet event. /FILE