For almost two decades, the King of Genge, Paul Nunda, popularly known as Jua Cali, is still surfing the entertainment wave, and killing it with every stride, writes Manuel Ntoyai
Seventeen years later, you are still making headlines. That’s quite an achievement.
Yes, it feels great and I thank God for it. When we started Calif Entertainment, it was all but a dream we dared to believe in and now here we are.
Take my recent shows in Carnivore and Meru — it was nice to see young guys sing along to my jams. I mean, some were born after Calif began and I think it is the aim of every artiste to be able to bridge the gap between generations. It’s just classic.
What do you think you did right when exploring genge music as a brand?
I think we took time to understand the game and the gaps that we could exploit and we targeted the common man and the culture around him.
Our fans became wagenge and they owned the name. When they see me, they don’t see a big superstar or something like that, but someone who represents them as a mgenge.
That is also what I advise young artistes in the game — you have to represent something and once you understand the blueprint, you are good to go. It’s all about flexibility.
Speaking of flexibility, talk to us about your new reggae single, Woyoyo. It’s quite the rage.
Funny story — Woyoyo was a dedication to my fans. For sometime, they asked for a reggae song. Once I was ready, I got into the studio, fused the audio of Woyoyo with Benja beats and I think so far the response has been positive.
We love it. There is no question you have the Midas Touch, take your various accounts with corporates. What’s the secret to hitting it big?
Corporates, like any other business want numbers and have a target market. Jua Cali represents a chunk of it and it bears fruit. You only have to be consistent and once given a job, do it to your very best.
When the mic drops, who do you become?
When I’m not the artiste, I am Paul, the businessman. I run a couple of businesses, but most of the time I work from the studio, where at the moment we have a staff of 12 people.
I am a lover of sports and have been thinking of investing in sports. It’s good business and if you follow market trends keenly, you’ ll see a number of established artistes have their hand in it. I have made a few inquiries and I can say without a doubt, it’s only a matter of when.
We’ll cheer you on with pom poms, you bet. Let’s talk family life.
I have the best wife. She is my main guy (laughs). We have different roles and I think I only need to do my roles and the rest turns out fine. It was my dream to have my kids appreciate both the man and the artiste — it fills my heart with joy when they make comments like hiyo ngoma ni poa and even jokingly call me Jua Cali instead of daddy.