I have since moved out of the shanties – Jabidii's rise to stardom

Jabidii [Photo: Courtesy]

After winning a continental award last year, the multiple Groove nominee talks of his speedy rise after a life of struggle living in shanties.

Pulse: What has changed since March last year when Pulse interviewed you?

Jabidii: God has been faithful. Last year March I was living in an iron sheet house where I struggled to pay rent. Things changed. I no longer live there. Awards have been coming and I travelled to Ghana for an award ceremony where I won Dancehall Artiste of the Year. The reception was amazing. I can say that I no longer see myself as a local artiste.

P: How does it feel to break the record of the most nominations in Groove awards for the second year running, from last week’s 2019 Groove nominations?

J: I feel good that fans are appreciating what I do. The expectations have been high and the reception has been amazing. Seven nominations were many last year and even more, getting eleven nominations this year exceeded my expectation.

P: What is the secret to achieving this unrivalled fete?

J: Honestly, I don’t have any. But being true and real to the fans has been working for me. I still interact freely with the people I was with before breaking out. This gift isn’t hype; just do your thing and the fans will back you.

P: Half the number of nominees in this year’s Groove Awards has never been picked before. What’s your take?

J: I love that new talent is being recognised. Today’s industry needs to mentor upcoming musicians and prepare them for the task ahead. 

P: You have been working with different producers. What informs who you work with?

J: I do it to look for a different touch to the music and also to experiment new ideas. I try to work with upcoming producers; I had a bad experience with a producer, which discouraged me from working with the well-known producers.

P: Have we been sleeping on Kibera?

J: Yes, kind of; there is a lot of talent in Kibera that people are yet to discover. With the breakthrough of Octopizzo every musician from Kibera shifted the focus to hip-hop while others gave up on music and ventured into other stuff, but there are very talented guys in Kibera.

P: What has helped you maintain your image?

J: Just being true and knowing who you are and where you’re coming from.

P: What’s your take on collaborations?

J: I believe they have brought out the best in me. People were discouraging me from doing collabos, but they are good because they bring out different strengths from the artistes.

P: How do you horn your skills to ensure you stay relevant?

J: Kenya is one market where you can be a hit this year and the following you’re nowhere to be seen. Relating with people to know what they want is key. I do a lot of research and I am my biggest fan. If I am happy with a song, then I release it. I also listen to different genres.

P: Do you think you have lived up to your fans expectations after a big year in 2018?

J: I feel I’m yet to hit even half of that. I can say we broke the ceiling in the gospel industry with the songs we did, which also means that we have a tough job of maintaining the same standards and continue giving the fans sane content.

P: How about the video quality?

J: Our video was low quality. It was real and fans loved us that way. We created a space where one doesn’t have to worry about video quality. New cats have been doing their thing but sadly this space has now been saturated by explicit content.