With the release of our third album around the corner, a bi-weekly meeting to discuss general progress is paramount. This morning we (Sauti Sol) met with our overall management to discuss the way forward. The meeting started in a rather disheartening tone. All our potential corporate sponsors pulled out after the release of Nishike. After months of meetings and presentations, below are their reasons for the sudden change of heart.
- ‘Sauti Sol is now too out there’
- ‘Sauti Sol has seized to be a brand that associates with family and Kenyan values.’
- ‘Sauti Sol is too risky; they show great potential to break up, get into drugs or other vices that don’t represent company values.’
- ‘Sauti Sol is not Kenyan enough.’
- ‘Sauti Sol has lost more fans than they have gained’
In one particular boardroom during talks involving artists; the mention of our name was met with sarcastic laughter and attention was quickly shifted to other upcoming bands and artists in general.
With two game changing albums and one EP. After releasing crowd favorites such as Lazizi, Blue Uniform, Soma Kijana, Coming Home, Gentleman, Money Lover, Still the One and now the monster of a viral that is NISHIKE. After writing and producing for the new sensation Elani. 2 Kisima Awards,2 Chat Awards, A Social Media Award, MUSEKE Online Africa Award, 2 Mdundo Music Awards, 1 Chanel O Music Video Award and 3 Nominations of the same, and finally 2014 MTV Africa Award Nomination (Best Group In Africa). WE DON’T MAKE THE CUT? WOW!!!!!!!
I have never heard of such a problem as a musician being too out there. From my school of thought, that has always been a plus. I mean isn’t Sauti Sol a mass product at this point? I totally understand that Nishike alienates us from the bracket of being called a ‘family brand’. What are ‘Kenyan values’? With our kind of leadership and the tainted reflection of our society—Nishike is indeed too appropriate. Too much double standards if you ask me. I refuse to be a secular artist boxed by society to restrict my freedom of expression. As for Sauti Sol being a risk, kindly note the above accolades and give me any Kenyan group that has shown such consistency within the period we have been on the scene. Numbers don’t lie. Since the release of Nishike we have witnessed colossal increase in numbers across all our social media and interactive platforms. The only fans I’d say we’ve lost are the ones we never had. As for not being Kenyan enough, no comment. SMH.
Kenyans largely suffer from tall poppy syndrome—a social phenomenon, in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers. So forgive Sauti Sol for taking a two-month intense gym programme, a low carb diet and risking the road less travelled in the attempt to rise above. KOT (Kenyans on Twitter) were salty at Lupita during Shuga and embraced her after the Oscars. To date, some people still hate claiming she’s not Kenyan enough or doesn’t dress in Kenyan designers (who btw didn’t dress her for Shuga’s red carpet). In retrospect, are you waiting for Sauti Sol to win a Grammy to then come on board? Note I am not only fishing for complements; I am very open to constructive criticism because social media is a two-edged sword. Nonetheless, let’s face it – there’s just too much hate on social media. If all that negative influence is carried to the boardroom it directly affects critical decisions that upset a whole industry.
Sauti Sol is unapologetic for our actions, which we feel have done the music industry more good than harm. The truth is nobody ever made history by playing it safe. Playing safe explains why most of our adverts on local TV look the same. If the opportunity cost of getting endorsements is to do that which is NOT game-changing, then it’s a cross we’re willing to carry. We have opened the gates for artists to express themselves freely, including sensually without prejudice. Will it take 10 more Nishikes from 10 other artists for us to embrace publicly what we enjoy in private? I’m sure most of you watch Nishike during your private moments. I mean how else could you explain 500,000 + views in 21 days? I bid farewell to all corporates who have walked away from what we felt would be classic industry changing partnerships, Sauti Sol will continue haunting you by trending and setting trends for your consumers. To our fans, aluta continua. We will always count on you to be ambassadors of the new generation of epic thinkers. Our value will never decrease based on someone’s inability to see our worth.