Kenyan Gospel Stars

By Eddy Ogaro Facebook
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Gospel New Kid on the Block

Gospel has taken off recently, seeing secular music listeners intrigued by the awesome beats that are being used to praise God. Especially the Kenyan Gospel market has grown in leaps and bounds, and it doesn't look like it's slowing down with these guys keeping the church on fire. See gallery

Willy Paul is arguably the hottest gospel act in Kenya currently. He has churned hit after hit and it did not come as a surprise when he won this year’s ‘Male artist of the year groove awards’. This young versatile musician laces his lyrics with a bongo flavor making him a darling of the wider East African community. His music is currently receiving massive airplay in local radio and TV stations.

His latest song, Sitolia, that he collaboed with the equally talented Gloria Muliro has received over 170,000 hits! Willy Paul unlike his contemporaries took a very short time to penetrate the crowded gospel scene thanks to his originality and experimentation.

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Juliani: The Gospel lyrical Giant

The Kenyan gospel music script is incomplete without mentioning Juliani. He plays with words with much ease as he delivers his message to his ever growing fan base.  The dreadlocked artist performance on stage is electrifying with his concerts being touted as the best. His journey to stardom has been long but dedication and a switch from secular to gospel music gave him the break he needed. Juliani is currently riding high with his new hit single Utawala which is getting favorable airplay in the media. The utawala hit maker humble nature and poetic lyrics endear him to many fans both locally and in the diaspora.

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Daddy Owen lyrical mastery is undeniable

Daddy Owen aka Papa Fololo bestrides the Kenyan Gospel scene like a colossus. The soft spoken gospel artist has won numerous prestigious awards including the Best Anglophone award in 2010 for his song Tobina during the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA). Tobina acted as a springboard for the King of Kapungala who has never looked back and continues to churn conscious music that is appealing to both the young and old. Last year Papa Fololo collaboed with Deno to release one of the most requested and talked about song. Mbona tries to bring on fore the plight of people with special needs. Denno is a blind artist whose music career can be attributed to the ‘King of Kapungala’.

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Size 8 sees the light

On stage she’s simply unstoppable. Her voice is electrifying and her stage performance is second to none. Many remember size 8 for her provocative dancing moves in skimpy dresses as she pelted her popular hit songs reminiscent of the late Brenda Fassie. Opinion is divided over her decision to cross from secular to gospel music with some arguing that it was a publicity stunt to remain relevant in the local music scene. Speculation aside, Size 8 has gone ahead to release Mateke which is gaining a foothold in the local gospel music chart. At the moment it’s very early to gauge her since she’s still new in the gospel industry.

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Gloria Muliro

Her lyrical prowess, strong vocals and consistency is what defines her sterling gospel music career. Gloria Muliro illustrious career began in 2005 when her first song Omwami alesta in luhya hit the airwaves receiving positive reviews from music pundits. This year she collaboed with the multi-talented Willy Paul to release Sitolia which went to gift her with the coveted  ‘FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR’ award at the just concluded Groove awards that were graced by the president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta among other luminaries. She has been performing in major gigs across the country and she doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

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And the GROUP OF THE YEAR is……

BMF is an acronym of Be My Faithful ones and the gospel quartet have been faithful to their style since 2006. The four members who make BMF met and horned their music skills at the Kenya Assemblies of God where they attend church.  BMF recorded Amka Ukipraise in 2007 whose reception was poor but did not dim the spirits of the gospel artists. The group went ahead to Mpenzi wa Surprise and I live for you which catapulted them to the limelight. This year BMF was awarded the prestigious ‘GROUP OF THE YEAR’ at the Groove awards beating seasoned groups like MOG.

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Emmy Kosgey-Keeping it real

Emmy Kosgey is one of the few gospel artists who has not forgotten her identity. Her style is fresh with a rich cultural beat that makes all her songs. Unlike her contemporaries she doesn’t lace her songs with that fake Jamaican patois or naija accent that is so prevalent with most gospel artist. Her originality is evident on the choice of language she uses on her songs. Emmy has not done a single song English or Swahili but her native Kalenjin language. Her song  taunet ne lel topped the charts for a very long time. Emmy Kosgey has performed in national events across the country thanks to her melodic voice.

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Roughtone comeback

Roy Smith Mwita aka Roughtone ruled the airwaves with his hit single Mwikulu-meaning heave- in his native Luhya language. Roughtone brought a new beat to gospel music that got everybody dancing. The gospel artist spread across Africa and he was nominated for several awards including the Kora Awards Male Artist of the Year 2003, Gospel artist of the Year 2003 and America Gospel Music Awards-International Artist of the Year 2004. His star started dimming with the entrant of his brother Daddy Owen who overshadowed him. Roughtone has rejuvenated his gospel music career with a peace song that has received massive airplay.

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Eunice Njeri

Her journey to success in the local gospel music industry has been bumpy and she kept the faith and now she’s reaping the benefits. At only 30, Eunice Njeri has literary ruled the airwaves with a soulful gospel hits like Umeniweza, Bwana Yesu and a host of other songs. The praise and worship leader has been nominated for several awards and her big break in 2011 when she won the Groove Songwriter of the Year Award. Her distinctive voice has seen her music become her permanent fixture in local media outlets.  She has travelled far and wide to spread the gospel through her music.

 

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MOG trio

MOG abbreviation for Men of God trio have been consistent in delivering danceable gospel music that have endeared them to their ever growing fan base.  The group has been dogged with controversy but that has not had a negative impact on their songs. MOG have won several awards and have collaborated with who is who in the gospel music industry. This year has been rather quiet for them but trust MOG to surprise with a new tune. The latest songs by MOG has heavily borrowed the Naija accent. The group has stuck together and we expect big things from them this year.