You can’t play gengetone outside Keny: DJ Pinye on what ails Kenyan music
Veteran disk jockey Pinye, who was once known as the gatekeeper for what passes for great Kenyan music, gives his insight into what really ails the Kenyan music scene, as the conversation about the future of the Kenyan music industry continues to grow.
A lack of structure in the music scene, according to the pioneer DJ, is to blame for Kenyan musicians' lack of progress.
He told Standard on Friday that there are no music labels where upcoming musicians can get signed and receive full support from a company, allowing them to help with huge responsibilities like production and marketing.
Pinye used Kenyan R&B singer Nikita Kering as an example, saying that if another musician of Nikita's age and talent emerges, the two will not be able to co-exist or grow in the same industry.
“The problem is that there’s another nineteen-year-old who wants to do what Nikita is doing, so where does Nikita go? There’s nowhere to go, there’s no structure where labels sign you, before we had Ogopa, Calif…when everybody is independent, you’re struggling by yourself…,” said Pinye.
Kenyan musicians, according to the veteran DJ, lack the work ethic required to succeed internationally, adding that no Kenyan has the work ethic of Tanzanian artist Diamond, who has carved out a niche for himself in the African market.
The DJ used the gengetone genre of music as an example, claiming that it does not receive airplay in countries such as South Africa and Nigeria, which are currently the top musically in Africa.
“Something serious needs to happen, these young guys do not want to work…it’s shortcuts all the way, someone like a Diamond needs to come locally and then people realize the work ethic…there is no artist in Kenya who has work ethic like Diamond, then why are we complaining? It means you don’t want to work…”
“People do music for Kenya only yet there’s the internet, the world is so small, you can’t play gengetone outside Kenya , I want you to do a song that will play even in South Africa,” stated Pinye.
Pinye believes that upcoming artists need mentorship to gain a clear understanding of the process of becoming an artist, as he believes that generation Z has had it too easy.
“Mentorship is the magic word, someone needs to step up and decide to do this thing…what we need to see is the process not one photo on Instagram, there is a process and a growth,” said Pinye.
Pinye, on the other hand, remains optimistic about the Kenyan music scene and believes that his mission in life is to help it grow and improve.
“My purpose is to change the Kenyan music industry, to just make it better, to look for someone who can turn things around and make it bigger than it is,” he said.