Interview: Nakuru, artist, rapper and songwriter based in Kenya Kilundeezy

Interviews

Published on July 23, 2022 |
by Jackson Ngari

Kenyan rapper and songwriter Kilundeezy is arguably one of the ever-growing talents in East Africa. He spoke to us at The Hype Magazine about his music career.

The popular adage says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The same goes for Kilundeezy and his musical career. In this interview with Jackson Ngari, he tells how he got into music.

His journey started when he performed his first freestyle in front of a lady who was impressed with the lyrics. During this process of creating and recording freestyle rhymes, Kilundeezy knew music was what he wanted to do despite recording his first song while broke. The feeling and satisfaction he got from this process couldn’t be matched by anything else, so his musical journey began. Going from electrical engineering, a field assured of a good, stable and well-paid career, to a career in music, a career full of uncertainties, does not make sense. Especially since it was at a time when Kenyan music was still in its infancy. As you can imagine, one would be concerned about what their parents would think of the decision in the current climate of Genge music, where a majority of Kenyans say it is falling or, rather, ending. Where an artist’s market appeal and song beats are often more important than the quality of their music itself, Kilundeezy deliver a lyrical and vocal project that will stand the test of time.

We spoke to Kilundeezy about what inspired his entry into Nairobi’s fledgling Genge and R&B scene and why he spent most of his year focusing on music and nothing else.

So who is Kilundeezy?

Kilundeezy is a Gengetone Artist, RNB, Songwriter, Content Creator and Electrical Engineer by profession born and raised in Kenya who goes by the real names Boniface N. Makuthi.

How did you fall into music?

To be honest, I didn’t know I had a talent for music until people were bullying me on Twitter. At the time, I didn’t know what was on my mind, but I realized that I would make it look like a joke and shoot back. I wrote a few freestyle lines and recorded them on my phone without a studio. I did a few freestyles, and to my surprise, the results were amazing. I immediately decided to post the clips online; luckily they went viral. At that time, my artist name was Kilunda since all my freestyles ended with the signature (Outro) Kilundeezy, and from there people started calling me Kilundeezy. As the days passed, I started doing some serious freestyle. To add, I once did a freestyle for the beautiful Sheila Mwanyigha, who was impressed with the lyrics. Positively, someone noted my talent and promised to pay for my first track recording which was 5000 Ksh. After dropping the “Niko fete” audio, everyone was vibrating thanks to Kevin Keroro @vinni_, who made it possible. After that, the desire to go back to the studio to record had already started to burn in me. So I went back, this time with my own money, and recorded “Bomb Ya Saddam”. But since I wanted to shoot a video, I remembered that a lot of people who like my music are on Twitter, I should try online fundraising. At first, I didn’t know it would work. And just like that, I tweeted about it and asked people to support me with anything, even if it was 50 Ksh. I posted the tweet around noon, and by 7:00 p.m. I had collected 30,000 Ksh, all thanks to Kenyans on Twitter. And that’s how my music started.

When did you realize that this was the career path you would want to follow in life and who were Kenyan or international artists who motivated you to take the craft seriously?

2019 November 20 is when I started taking music seriously after releasing the video “Bomb Ya Saddam”, and all I can say is that it paid off because that’s when I did my first live performance in the 1824 club in Nairobi and went viral. I had to take music seriously.

I am a fan of Mejja, Ssaru and Trio Mio, international. I’m music moombahton Dave Nada, Alex do and Major Lazer.

What were/are your musical influences? What did you grow up listening to and how did it influence your artistry?

I grew up listening to traditional music popularly known as Mbenga and Geng’e, which is Gengetone’s cousin. I even remember I made a guitar that I used to play songs to my older sister after school, even though I didn’t take her seriously. The influence of Gengetone influenced my writing a lot.

What kinds of things do you write about? What are the specific storylines that led to specific songs?

Most of the time I write about partying because no one has time to be sad…my writing is influenced by the activities that take place in night clubs. On the other hand, I like songs influenced by feelings. Generally, I write my songs even based on the subject and the events that are happening around me.

The first song I heard was ‘FORM’. What was the process behind creating this song?

Everyone was thrilled with Trio, so my manager contacted his team. A month later, I sent my verses; we vibrated and recorded the song. He’s such a talented artist, from the way he writes his bars to his flow. Even before releasing the song, we were already playing it in the studio, and I could tell that the song was a breakthrough. So far this is my best song, and the second is “Bomb Ya Saddam”.

How do you generally make sure your songs stand out from the rest? And what time do you find best to weave your lines?

First of all, I like to try a style of beats that nobody identifies with; sometimes it’s even hard to tell what kind of music I make because it doesn’t sound like what a lot of people are used to the way I write my chorus and the way I perform my verses . Music is an art; ideas may come to you in the morning, after watching a movie, or in the middle of the night, but most of the time my ideas come in the morning when I’m feeling fresh or before I go to sleep. I like to try different rhythms to get an idea. So what I can say about the musical ideas depends on the mood. Is it a moment of love or a party situation, that’s how I have an idea.

According to you, what is your greatest struggle as a musician?

My biggest struggle right now is the budget for a video shoot, including locations. Pitches are always expensive, up to 30,000 sometimes.

Getting airplay has proven to be a difficult thing for many of our upcoming artists. How did you manage to get out of it?

All I can say is Kenyans on Twitter made this possible. Most of the time they could request my songs from radio stations and TV channels. Also, it’s hard for people to resist when you have a good song. For example, when I released “Form”, more than 30 DJs requested the 3 tracks. I can say that you also have to market your song and be creative.

What is your vision of the Kenyan music industry? And do you think the government has done enough to support local artists?

The problem with Kenyan music is that we don’t believe in our genres (Gengetone), and also Kenyans don’t like to support theirs to the end. If they support you today, expect them to troll you at the end of the day. But even if it’s implied when you release a song, they will always support you. On the other hand, we like to jump into new genres; look at Tanzania, they strictly do bongo, and they hit some crazy views.

I have the impression that the government does not support Kenyan artists. Look at MCSK; that will tell you a lot about the need for change in this industry, honestly.

What are your best musical memories?

It would be my first time doing a song with Odi Wa Murang’a. It was like a dream to be my first collaboration. Second, the first time I played in 1824 club located in Langata. Also, having the chance to meet great artists like Fireboy DMl.

How do you promote your music?

Most of my fans are on Twitter. So I mainly use social media to promote my music and local DJs.

What should we expect from you in the future? Are there other future projects to share with us?

I am currently working on only one “Party Cup”, which will be released next month; you all stay tuned.

Your parting shot

I want to thank you all for the support and the interview. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel; more is to come.

Your social media handles?

Twitter: Kilundeezy

Facebook: Kilundeezy

Instagram: kilu.ndeezy

Tik Tok: Kilundeezy

Key words: Kilundeezy


About the Author

Jackson Ngari Student in communication and media at the University of Rongo. Written sporadically. Voracious Word nerd and Fourth Estate member/Journalist.

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