Exclusive: Chat with Nem on His Music Journey and #PlayKEMusic
KB: To start things off, how best would you describe yourself?
Nem is a Kenyan singer and rapper, born and bred. I grew up with different sounds of music as my dad was more Lingala oriented, my uncle was a die-hard hip-hop lover whereas my older lady cousins listen to a lot of RnB and soul music. So, Nem is basically just a combination of a lot of things which came into one.
KB: When did you decide to take up music as a professional career?
Probably back in 2011 with my cousin. We had crew back in high school and just wanted to sort of bring back the ‘funk’ through our first song, ‘Famous’.
KB: Most parents don’t expect their kids to take up music as a career, how did your folks react to that?
At first, they weren’t up for it. I feel like in the beginning of everything we meet resistance and parents just basically want us to make sound decisions. With time, they did embrace it.
KB: Which was your first official visual track?
That must have been ‘Thinking’. We released it three or so years ago with Pryshon and it was quite big. People actually thought it was controversial!
KB: Then came ‘Come My Way’, how would you describe the process towards releasing it?
With ‘Come My Way’, I released it because fans and friends kept requesting for a new banger right after ‘Thinking’. However, I wasn’t so much focused in the marketing aspect as I was chasing something else at that time.
KB: Your most recent video, ‘Shikisha’ tell us about that
That song was more like a poem whose inner meaning was about working and playing hard. It also being a hype song, ‘Shikisha’ is basically escaping your own life through doing something fun.
KB: How long has it been out and how has the reception been?
Around two months now and the reception has been crazy!
KB: There’s been conversations round #PlayKenyanMusic for a while now, what are your thoughts on that?
We should play Kenyan music. I believe a lot of people are giving wrong excuses for not playing our own music. I believe that you may not like everyone’s music but we should embrace diversity in the styles we put out there.
If no one gave me a chance with putting ‘Thinking’ out there, then it wouldn’t have been as big as it was.
We have a lot of young talents coming up who are yet to be discovered because we give too much airplay to other regional artists.
Funny thing is, you find other people more willing to play Kenyan music than our very own!
Any person you’d love to collabo with?
If I can create something with Avril, then definitely!
Your last word and any new projects we should expect?
When someone calls themselves an artist, always expect better from them.
With regards to projects, yes I have quite a number! Currently handling some logistics but you guys can expect songs after every one and a half months at least. My next release will probably come out next month.
NEM’s socials: nem3005