Having released her debut album Sunshine, Muthaka the 22 years old songstress, is set to take the Kenyan Music Industry by storm. The 7 song album was meant to give us a full experience of love, loss, death – the normal human experience. She talks to us today her experience as an artist, and how her musical journey has been. She also gives us a glimpse of her future plans concerning her album.
Kindly share something about Muthaka?
Muthaka is a 22year old Contemporary Indie Soul Singer/Songwriter/Performer and Recording artiste.
Describe 2021 with one word?
What first got you into music?
I’ve always wanted to do music for as long as I can remember. Ever since I found out that I could make a career out of singing which is something I’ve loved doing since I was 9, I became completely immersed in the desire to sing for as long as I could. Its always been my dream.
Looking back now has your musical journey had a deliberate direction or did it simply gradually evolve in whatever direction it found?
I think a bit of both. When I first started out i didn’t know which was the right step and what wasn’t, so after Graduating Sauti Academy I just kept performing as much as I could to get my name out there and build a fan base. Then when I got signed I had people who could direct me and tell me what’s right for me and what isn’t, and it became more strategic and not just about performing live.
Who inspired you to make music?
I suppose my earlier influences – Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, sounds of Abba and Country artists like Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. But when I became more in tune with my own writing I really enjoyed Taylor Swift, Ed-Sheeran, Adele and Tori Kelly’s styles of writing and melody.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Contemporary Indie Soul – which is a mix of multiple guitar riffs and melodies, its based on a lot of acoustic sounds and melodies with some mixture of RnB. Because its a genre I made up for myself its easy to define it however I’d like so even if I decide to write a reggae song it still falls into Contemporary Indie Soul because its my writing at the end of the day.
What sets your music apart? What is unique about it?
Its very personal – I don’t write about random things. I always draw from personal experience or something I’ve seen first hand. It has to appeal to me first before I think about whether it makes commercial sense otherwise I’ll lose exactly what makes it unique.
How did the album Sunshine come about?
After I got signed it was essential I put out a body of work and my original plan was to put out a 14 track album. But with the curfew and lock downs it kept disrupting the process and we weren’t able to complete it so we decided to just put out what we’d done so far so that it doesn’t take longer to release.
What is the album about?
Well this first part is a love story. The whole album was meant to give a full experience of love, loss, death – the normal human experience. So with these 7 songs its the first part, so love and falling for someone and even with some hiccups here and there it is essentially a love story.
Why this album? Why now?
These are songs I’ve been writing since 2018. So I always knew my first album would have these songs. Its the story of things I went through and trying to make sense of certain situations. Because I wanted to record chronologically according to the story line it just so happened that this first part is what came out til a song like Guitar where its started to change. So I was lucky that I wanted to record that way otherwise it wouldn’t have the story intact and would be a bit random in the arrangement. It came out now only because it would have taken too long otherwise.
Do you have any other plans relating to this release? A video? Online Shows?
Yes. The videos are still set to be released before the end of the year. Everything else is set to follow next year that I can’t really reveal now.
Of your own music, do you have a favorite? If so can you pin down why it is your favorite?
My favourite song varies from day to day to be honest. One day I’ll love Love Ballad #3, another I’ll love Too Young, on other days its Guitar or Sunshine or Sorry haha. Its all of them depending on the day and mood.
What does your music say about you?
I think that I’m an open book. With such personal songs and stories its not difficult to know what kind of person I am.
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, TV or other media?
Mostly personal experiences. But with the coming albums, the songs I’m currently writing I am drawing inspiration from movies or even other songs. Its not something I’m used to though, I mostly write from my own point of view or a close friend/family member’s experience.
How do you go about writing a song? Do you have a melody in your head when you write?
So depending on what I’m writing about I can start off with a topic and build a story around that. Typically though it all starts with the perfect guitar progression. That heavily influences my writing process because with the right one its easy to hear the whole song. So when I get the progression sometimes the melody comes first and I just fumble around with it until I find a cohesive flow, or some times I have some lyrics I’d thought of prior and fit them in as I come up with the melody. I’ve never been able to write a proper song with piano or any other instrument, so that’s why my music is very guitar centric.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I don’t haha. I don’t deal with it. When I feel blocked I don’t force it out. I mostly take some time to rest, or do something else or listen to old songs I’d written or other artists but I never force a song. Which may not be best because sometimes I’ll go months without writing, but then sometimes also after going such a long period without a song one day I’ll just be sitting around with my guitar or even sleeping and I get sudden inspiration. Then I enter into a really good flow of multiple songs in one sitting. I used to force the block away and I’d end up being so hard on myself because the songs would be really bad haha, so now I just let the block lead me to something else – because most times when I redirect that energy into a good book or even a walk it helps settle my mind and eventually when I get to that place of inspiration i can write about all the random things I read/saw/did and put it into a story.
What draws you to your preferred genre?
The songs i grew up listening to. A lot of Soul, old RnB, Country music and my style of singing as well. With my technique as a singer I can’t sing Gengetone, HipHop or Kapuka. Although with something like Reggae I love it so much so its easy to fit into it as I write and sing.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
Hearing other people relate or sing along to songs I’d written in my room. Its a beautiful thing whenever someone resonates so deeply to something I’d also experienced especially because I know how much my favourite songs and artists mean to me, so to be that for someone else is very gratifying.
If we were to look at artist your are listening to, who would be on your playlist?
There are the constants – Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran’s current album is on repeat, then right now some Yebba, SZA, Gracie Abrams, Mahalia, John Mayer and Muthaka lol.
I’m very temperamental with the artists I listen to especially because I listen to songs and not always the artist’s entire discography. So even a month from now other than Taylor and Ed the list always changes.
Who are your main musical influences?
Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran haha. They influence my songwriting heavily. Vocally its Adele, Tori Kelly, H.E.R and all my old favourites – Whitney,Mariah etc.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
There is a lot of clique behaviour. Its not cute.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Thank you! I love you.
What can expect from you within the coming days?
All the visuals from the album will be out before we end 2021 so that’s coming soon.
Lastly your social media handles, where can people reach you and get access to your music?
Twitter Muthaka Music
Facebook page Muthaka
Spotify, Youtube, Apple music ,Boomplay etc Muthaka everywhere.
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