Poll: Should Gospel Be Considered Kenya’s New Pop Music?
I know what you’re thinking… there’s no way right? It just can’t be!
Actually, it can and surprisingly, it is. How about that? A research conducted by Research 8020 on the top Kenyan music artists of 2018 has revealed that Gospel singers are growing in numbers and popularity in Kenya, which is an indication that the genre may have overtaken Hip Hop, R&B and vernacular music as Kenya’s popular music.
In fact, the top 10 artists list for 2018 includes an equal number of both gospel and secular artists. Willy Paul, Mercy Masika, Eunice Njeri, the late Angela Chibalonza and Florence Andenyi are all in the list, alongside secular stars Sauti Sol, Nyashinski, Otile Brown, Sanaipei Tande and Akothee.
So, the big question here is: Is Gospel music currently Kenya’s pop music? The answer could lie in the increasing exodus of secular musicians into the lucrative Gospel industry in recent years.
The rapper switched to gospel after he wasn’t doing well with secular music, despite working under the Ukoo Flani banner which, at the time in the early noughties, had enjoyed some mainstream breakthroughs. After dedication to his faith, his music career grew rapidly and he has even topped the charts with some of his gospels albums. He now describes his music as being socially conscious.
2. Size 8
After dealing with depression, unhappiness and dissatisfaction, gospel singer Linet Munyali looked to God for guidance in helping her deal with her problems. Although her fans didn’t necessarily fully understand this at the time. They made the assumption that the only reason she made the switch from secular music was so she could get married to current hubby DJ Mo, who was in the gospel scene. She later proved her fans wrong as she kept releasing hit after hit. Her success was replicated through her music and this made her fans believe in her again.
Following her husband Nameless’ illness, Wahu found her calling in gospel music. She made her gospel debut in late 2017 and so far has two released Gospel songs.
‘King wa Rap’, he often calls himself moved from secular to gospel music when his wife threatened to leave him if he didn’t change his ways. It seems to have worked as the rapper moved to gospel music and ultimately, has managed to win the Groove Award for the release of his song, Bazokizo featuring Bruz Newton.
After disappearing from the face of the earth, Amani finally resurfaced earlier this year being saved and following God’s word. She mentioned she is taking her step in faith and hopes to be supported by her fans.
6. Willy Paul
The ‘I Do’ singer has recently had some controversy on whether or not he wants to remain a gospel singer or go back to secular music. However, as of now, Willy Paul is still in the gospel scene having one of the top 3 best rated songs for this year.
7. Lady Bee
This singer hasn’t had it easy in the gospel scene after her introduction to the music industry by Nonini. Lady Bee has been trying to keep up the pace with gospel, constantly updating her fans through her YouTube channel, assuring them of her devotion to her faith.
The Mombasa-based rapper who’s known for mid-2000s hardcore bangers like Street Hustler and Kichwa Kibov turned to Gospel in late 2017 after trying his hand in politics and losing an election because of what he says was his competitor’s allegiance to “black magic and witchcraft”.
Considered one of the pioneers of Kenya’s contemporary music industry, Bamzigi aka the African Superman, enjoyed mainstream success both as a member of Necessary Noise alongside Nazizi and Wyre, as well as a solo artist. But drugs and alcohol derailed his career before he turned to God, and naturally, Gospel music.