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. 


JOIN THE CONVERSATION


next