If it doesn’t challenge you…
Today, I would like to recount one of the most challenging ordeals in my lifetime: accepting the reality that not everyone would appreciate my music.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a singer!
For some background, I have always been interested in music. Not only in its creation but in the culture it seeks to build. I discovered I was really good at it in high school since I could be able to stand out in the then spoken word sessions and rap battles, what we considered the in thing and for a while it had me going. I had a grand plan to leave school and work with Wale in no less than a year after (insert young and clearly foolish). A year later and all I had to show for it was a lot of time and money wasted getting music recorded at a couple expensively cheap studios in town. You know how Nairobi is littered with guys who can give you a quick fix.
As expected, every time I would meet someone from high school, I would wish I could say I had been recording with Dillie or Musyoka (if you don’t pay attention to local music, those are Kenya’s finest music producers). I had walked in to studios that would charge a clean 25,000/- for one track. So lets do the math:
25,000/- x the awesome 16-track mixtape I had = don’t even bother, too high for a high school leaver.
Was I going to be the dumbest artist spending 400,000/- on music that wasn’t tested on the real market? I mean, come on Kim, you can’t be that dumb. << insert yes, Kimani was >>
Eventually, I jumped into the quick fix bandwagon and got a few sound tracks that went near to killing my dreams and burying them for good.
2 years later and I was still grappling with the choice of whether to join Retirement Benefits Authority early so I could raise that money in say 10 years or hit up a studio built right on top of a bar. Not really what I would say are good options.
I had to step up. I had to be my own super producer. I had to be a package on my own. But then, how?
I played around with all sorts of music production software : Ableton to Fruity Loops to Logic Pro and started developing a stronger liking for the second. Thank God for youtube, I moved up the ranks of making my own beats.
But another problem. Where would I master these tracks? Distribution? Manage Sales ? Maintain quality ? If you understand the dynamics of music and the music industry, those questions are key.
So what Kim? You couldn’t do it. Why is that important?
Basing on these factors, I decided that I needed to integrate all these features and functionalities into a service, preferably an online one. So I begun directing my energy into fusing technology with music. So far? Am participating in a project to bring all this to light and soon enough, other people can be able to leverage it.
Bottom line: The challenges I faced in trying to become an artist changed me. I am a self- taught intermediate level producer with a specification towards software development that can solve the problem that I faced. Would I be here if it wasn’t for the challenges? I guess not.