Entertainment / Music
Wednesday, 15 Mar 2017 14:40 EATjmwangangi@kenyafreepress.com
Lovers of 'Bongo Flavour' and East African love songs have a new range of albums to listen to with the contributions of an upcoming artiste who is already causing waves in the Kenyan musical scene. John Ouma, who is better known by his stage name Asap Kibs, has recorded just one song which has caught the attention of the industry.
Born in Mombasa on 2ndJanuary 1997 of a Luyia father and a Kamba mother, Asap Kibs had a difficult childhood but turned the travails of his life into an educational opportunity. The second born in a family of four, he schooled at Magongo primary school in Mombasa from Standard One up to Class Six when his father passed away in 2004. Upon relocating to his grandmother’s home in Kea Village, Nzauni Location of Mwingi West Sub County (Migwani), Asap Kibs and his three sisters faced challenges of poor rural life, but he persevered in his education, starting from Class Seven at Magongo school.
Asap Kibs did his KCPE in 2010 and got admission to Kea Secondary School in 2011, the same year his mother passed away. He and his sisters remained in the care of his grandmother. Although life became even harder following the death of his mother, his spirits did not diminish until he completed his KCSE exams in 2014, though due to financial challenges he did not continue with his studies.
He turned back on his life's talent - music. The artiste told this writer that his music career began at early life when he was 8 and in Class Two. He recalled that he could dance and recite verses of the songs sung by popular artistes during that time. His mother Emily Mutwa usually disproved of his musicality, claiming he was young and should concentrate on his education. His music career is based on his powerful vocals and ability to compose his songs alone. He says that Bongo Flavour songs arouse deep feeling and they can be sung or be played in clubs, weddings and other places provided they do not contain defamatory words.
So far the artiste has recorded one song, Nishike Mkono, with Melody House Production Studio owned by Producer Vickeyz. He spoke highly of Vickeyz, saying the producer had sympathized with his financial challenges and agreed to a deal in which he would be paid in phases because Asap kibs could not afford to pay the recording fee upfront. He has composed several other songs he plans to record but cannot do so at the moment for lack of recording fee. Reflective of his career prospects, his solo recorded song is already on YouTube’s mdundo.com, is aSkiza tune and also trending well on radio stations. It is available on cds and dvds.
Asap Kibs told this writer that he uses social media to advertise his songs due to lack of finance to advertise on broadcast or print media. He is in touch with big musicians like Magic Mike, a gospel singer who owns Ready Republic studios based on Roasters in Thika road, on whom he depends for advice on how to improve his skills.
His main challenge at the moment is finances to build his artistic career. While he has been able to register some earnings from his performances, he has his elderly grandmother and two young sisters to take care of, with one in Form Four and another in Class Four. He's indebted to his grandmother to whom he pays tribute for raising him and the sisters after his parents passed away.
The artiste says that his ambition is to do well for himself, rise to the top of the industry and uplift other upcoming musicians in future. He is also keen on philanthropy and hope to one day establish a centre for needy children like orphans. He draws his inspiration from Tanzanian singers such as Diamond Platinumz and Alikiba.
Speaking with the artiste leaves one with the impression of a lively, outgoing and dynamic individual who loves diversity and likes to interact with people from all walks of life. On Facebook he is Asap Kibs, and he is ready to share his telephone contacts with whoever would like to get in touch with him over music or the causes he cares for.