Kenya’s top Afro pop boy band Sauti Sol just launched their new record label, Sol Generation, with singer Bensoul as their first signing. They exclusively talk to Alfred Wanjohi, Grace Angela and Peter Sagini about the milestone
Tell us about the inspiration behind your recently launched record label Sol Generation and why you signed Bensoul?
This record label has been our dream for a long time. We think it’s one of those fusions where the market forces have met with our dream. We have been preparing for over two years and we have been attending Bensol’s concerts in the last two years checking him out and in a sense, nurturing his music talent. He is the first artiste to work with the label and we are happy for him.
Which other artiste are you looking forward to signing?
We cannot disclose any as of now, but all we can tell our fans out there is to just stay alert, as we have great artistes lined up for big things. It won’t take long before we unveil other artistes; probably two or three months. But to give a snippet, there’s a girl, solo artiste and a group. So, watch this space.
What are your other plans as a group?
We are planning to start campus tours just to introduce campus students to artistes like Bensoul. This year we will travel to record a new album, so fans should expect more Sauti Sol content from Sol Generation.
What are your views on the #PlayKenyanMusic debate?
We feel that the debate started with a lot of finger pointing and different industry stakeholders had different opinions, which they are out rightly entitled to. But at the end of the day as an industry, what we need to fix is our policy on music. If there is 80 or 60 per cent Kenyan content on our media and everyone follows that policy, then it will become a game changer for everyone.
What’s your view on the quality of Kenyan music and the role of media?
For sure, Kenyan artistes have great and highly quality music. That is not debatable. But we think the media has a big role to play to ensure that this music gets the attention it deserves across borders.
The audience is transic, meaning what you give them is what they will take. So, just the way you set the agenda on politics, set the agenda on music as well. Make sure that the agenda setting is done in a way that artistes are primed above other industries.
Tell us more about African Sauce, the new album you launched this year.
Basically, just as its title suggests, the album is a collaboration between Sauti Sol and a host of other African artistes. It was a well-executed idea and we have released the whole body of work to iTunes and other digital music distribution platforms. African Sauce is a gift to our fans to enjoy.
How was it like working with Vanessa Mdee in your new song Kamasutra?
We have been together with Vanessa in the industry for a long time, so every time we meet we feel that we have so much content burning within us.
One time we were at the studio and we casually started singing and that’s when we realised we had great content. And that’s how Kamasutra was birthed. It always feels great when you work with awesome artistes such as Vanessa. There are many up-and-coming artistes who look up to you.
What’s your piece of advice to them?
Follow you dreams. Especially in this era of social media, rehearse; meet Sauti Sol and other top artistes, apply for music symposiums, just do anything that will make you grow in music. In short, remain focused and do what’s to be done. Above all, be true to yourselves.
The most interesting stage is when you get to the scene, you have mastered your music and people are listening to you. You can easily lose it at this stage. The best thing is to remain true to yourself. Artistes also need to invest back on their craft, so please invest in your music.