Ken Mungai: My music is my ringtone

Tell us about your sound

I am an afro pop artist. My music has a touch of jazz and soul that comes from the influence of being a guitarist.

How did you get your start in the industry?

I took music and music business professionally just after graduation from Sauti Academy’s artist development program. While I was there I got to discover my style, my brand, my strategy, mastering my craft and my art. So when I entered the industry I had already known which stones to step on, met the right people, the right producers and the like. I started off as a live performer, I gigged a lot…Met my crowds one on one therefore I got first hand feedback for my music and brand.

What would you say is the message of your music?

My music is more of sharing stories. African stories in particular. I love to be entertained, so I want to entertain. I have always felt our audience is being starved from good music that has actually been crafted with authenticity, passion and art; something that has actually gone through a process and packaged well for listeners. That is the gap I want to fill. Not only tell our stories, but also pass that message through the instrumentation; the shakers, the kayambas, the jembes. That African sound for African stories. My stories more often than not come from my life experiences, and the stories around me, love mostly but also friends, family and my country.

Who inspires you?

I may have answered that. I might add that people I look up to really do inspire and influence my art. Eric Wainaina, I adore the ninja! Harry Kimani, Muarice Kirya from Uganda, Wyre as well as Anto Neo Soul just to mention a few. You can see how he influenced my stage as well right? Ken Mungai… Eric Wainaina. You see the pattern? Anyway, I believe we all need a button to take over, we all need legends to learn from.

What are you working on currently?

I am currently in studio working on my debut album. It’s not a long list but it’s something I know my fans will love and appreciate. An album of love. I love it already. I am having the best minds working on it. I get excited every day we make a step towards its launch. Apart from that, I am working with a couple of artistes and studios, featuring in the album. Check out the new club banger just released four days ago B. O. L. O by Emogee ft. Ken Mungai. Really cool stuff by Yo Alex and Homeboyz alongside Richie G. I really had fun doing that one.

Are there any artistes, both established and new, that you would love to work with?

Avril if you read this one, know am coming for you! She’s way up there on my list. King Kaka and yet another cool ninja Brian Chweya from Elani, then either Maureen or Wambui also from Elani.

Do you ever listen to your own music on your playlists?

All day every day. They are my ringtones, on repeat on my playlist.

Which stage would you just love to perform at?

I always try to be realistic and always have a plan or deadlines or goals. Whatever you call them. So there’s no big stage for me. Just growth. I play Blankets & Wine today, tomorrow I want Koroga Festival. Then on to MaMas. You’ve got to dream yo!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years a lot will happen. Ken Mungai will be a huge brand. A true African, Kenyan child representing Kenya on big stages. My albums will be in double digits and growing fast. Mentoring the next generation of authentic musicians. I want it all. The Kenyan dream. I am already living my dream but it keeps getting better, and I want it all…

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