At the tender age of 14 years, Daniel Simiyu aka Dantez has landed himself a Sh60 million music deal after he was rescued from the streets where he was singing in order to feed his family after his father died in 2014.
He comes out as both humble and ambitious, his tone low but his confidence high. And as he walks into our office, one can hardly notice him as he looks nothing close to the fame and fortune that beckons.
“It’s a matter of time before they start chasing him down the street asking for his autograph,” a thought rushes through my mind as the teenager sinks his tiny frame into the couch.
His new singles Nishike and Nibariki hit the airwaves a few months ago before news broke that he had received a record signing; a Sh64million deal from Maliza Umaskini, the same stable that is in-charge of fellow gospel singer Papa Dennis.
The big cash is part of his music and education sponsorship by the stable that discovered him begging in the streets to keep his family going, after he lost his father in 2014 only to be left with a struggling mother.
“Then, I was in class five and I was left with my jobless mother and two sisters yet we had to make ends meet. We would go for days without a proper meal. I would go to the streets and sing so that I could get some little money. That is how I raised something small to buy food for our family,” says the Kitale-born singer who is a Form One student at Bwake Friends High School.
“It was then when I recorded my first song, Mawazo, in reflection of the trouble we were going though. I put it on a CD and stated selling it on the streets at Sh50. It was during this time that a lady approached me and introduced me to Maliza Umaskini Production who did a background check on me and signed me after a year of probation. This was my turning point,” says Dantez.
Right now, the talented teen is undergoing mentorship and music training even as he juggles school work and showbiz. He says that he knows that music will continue to open doors for him.
“I can’t believe the signing I received through the negotiation Maliza Umaskini made with my manager Vusha Canaam. It was beyond my wildest imagination. Basically the money is supposed to go to my education, music and management over a period of time,” he remarks, noting that Papa Dennis, Daddy Owen, and Gloria Muliro are his music icons.
Sadat Muhindi, the CEO Maliza Umaskini says they don’t schedule shows for him during school days but only in the holidays to help him focus in school work.
“We did give him a chance and he has since proved himself. The two songs he recently did are doing well in the market and he has been getting positive media reviews in the last one month,” says Sadat.