The local gospel industry has had its fair share of drama in the recent past, with none taking the heat more than controversial gospel artiste Jimmy Gait. He sets the record straight, writes Wambui Virginia
You’ve been in the music industry for nine years. Can you sum up your experience in the entire period. I have seen a lot of growth from where I started. I have learnt so much and gone through many experiences, both good and bad. It has helped me to learn and hence grow.
Your big break came with the hit Muhadhara. What was that like?
Muhadhara debut two years after I decided to pursue music as a career. Life was difficult at the time. I had gone through a lot, from being kicked out of a house for failing to pay rent of Sh150, sleeping hungry, walking home because I couldn’t raise the cash needed for fare.
There was even a time I was ditched by my girlfriend because I was broke. However, in all these challenges, I remained hopeful and believed that somehow I would make it.
Your Hello cover caused a stir. The Internet was aflame, with more negative reviews than positive. How did you handle the criticism? I have been able to build a strong positive attitude.
I see my best even at my worst. I also have a strong management team now that is advising me on various issues, so you can expect a brand new Jimmy Gait going forward. I harbour no hard feelings whatsoever towards anyone that might have negatively attacked me.
However, I am happy it happened because it has made me a better person and helped me learn a lot. All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). Always remember that.
With recent past in mind, do you think people are taking your work seriously?
Based on the response I have received from my latest song, Cool Your Temper, I can confidently say yes. Our hashtags have been trending and I thank God for the platform he has given me.
What are your thoughts on the bluff memes on social media?
I actually laugh at them. I don’t know who makes them, but whoever they are, they should probably join The Churchill Show or something. These are the things that make my life interesting, so I don’t take them personally.
Do you think that kind of publicity is good or bad for you as a brand?
As the word publicity suggests, it is about the public, so you can’t always choose how they react. As a public figure, you just have to make the best of whatever publicity comes your way and stay positive.
What are your thoughts on your fan base?
Just scan through Jimmy Gait hashtags and social media feeds and you will see it is intact. And while I can’t please everyone, I have a lot of people who support and appreciate what I do. It’s what keeps me going.
What was the inspiration behind your new single Cool Your Temper?
Past experience. I wanted a song in which people who have been going through a hard time can relate to. The main message is that even if things might not have worked out for you as yet, at the right time they will.
Just stay hopeful and never give up! God has not forgotten you and He surely will come through for you, just hang on. I have seen God come through for me after a long wait and I can assure you that waiting on Him is never in vain.
The longer the wait the better the blessing. Always remember you were born to #makeitormakeit. Don’t settle for anything less.
How would you describe your genre?
My genre is contemporary, authentic Kenyan music.
Your sense of fashion has been criticised greatly, with some raising questions on your sexuality. Care to comment?
I think it’s quite sad they thought my style means something more than it does. They were judgmental. As someone in the limelight, it is assumed that you have to keep up with the current trends.
Fashion evolves and I with it too. As time went by, I have learnt to deal with criticism, either good or bad. As of now, Jimmy Gait as a brand is more mature, and more collected.
Are you dating?
Yes, I have someone in my life.