He is arguably one of the most hardworking entertainers in the Kenyan showbiz and subsequently one of the wealthiest. Felix Odiwuor alias Jalang’o is a bonafide Jack of all trades working as a radio presenter, events emcee, comedian/actor, and an entrepreneur.
He spoke to Buzz about his humble background, work, studying, and aspirations for the Langata Parliamentary seat in 2022.
I wake up at three in the morning every day.
By 3.30 am or 4 am I’m in the studio preparing for my radio show with Jeff Koinange for about two hours. We do the show until 10 am then I go to the gym for about one hour. From there I go to my company, Arena Media, office where I already have guys working for me. In the evenings I go to school at Daystar University from 5.30 to 8, not many people know that. I don’t have a degree yet. I’m pursuing Community Development.
Most of the gigs I emcee are during the weekend but when they land on days I have classes I have to cancel them. I have a lot on my plate but you can always find time if you are focused and know what you want.
It’s a loss when I cancel some of the gigs and Daystar is expensive.
But I’ve given school priority now. I have school from Monday to Thursday evening and I’m free from Friday to Sunday, that’s usually when gigs come in.
Sometimes I do seven gigs in a week. I’ve been emceeing a lot of gigs. It’s not about my status being elevated but working around it. When you do a lot of media events you realise they want someone who understands them because they feel you are part of them. That you know the trouble and hassles they go through.
I also host corporate events which is my forte.
It is a lie that I never went to high school.
That was a lie that people picked up and ran with. I went to Nyangoma Boys Secondary School PO BOX 23 Bondo, index number 7. I was number seven throughout my school life. I got a D+ in Math, A in CRE, A in History, A in Commerce, D in Chemistry… all my As and Ds got me a C+. I was not good in sciences. There was a day I cheated on a Math paper and I got 42 (laughs).
Working with Jeff is the most exciting thing but we didn’t click immediately.
To bond, I went to his place and he came to mine and we went out for lunches. We had to understand each other. After that, we started blending easily. But we were friends before but never thought we would ever get to work together, but through the genius of our manager Fred Afune, he saw something that could be worked out and here we are at Hot 96.
I started going to the gym because I’d started gaining weight and it was affecting a lot of things, more so in the house.
But it’s also a lifestyle, investing in your health is a good thing and it’s also to motivate other people out there who are struggling with weight issues. I’ve been hitting the gym a lot and I know my six-pack is coming. The only I have now is in the fridge.
My children are my biggest supporters and motivators. They are the reason I wake up. They might not understand what I do but they see me on television and they sort of know what dad does. It’ll be a while before they get it.
I never pictured myself getting to this point in life.
Each day when you get an opportunity take it and run with it, don’t look back. Make the best out of it and don’t ever feel comfortable, that you have arrived. Always be hungry for the next catch, be the person that pushes yourself to the next level. If one door closes try in one way or another to open the next. I have one saying; if you can’t beat them, arrange to have them beaten, you don’t join them. You might be joining losers. Always forge your own path and try and make things work.
I work hard because of where I come from.
I’m not from a rich background. I’m actually going to school now because my parents were not able to afford my school fees. When my dad died he asked me to take my siblings to school and after I did I figured it was my turn. With the poverty and the struggles I went through, do I have a single moment not to have confidence? I’m the best emcee, radio presenter, father, husband, and father-in-law, farmer… I believe in myself in everything that I do. There’s no turning back and where I come from does not allow me to lack confidence.
I have impacted people in the society in leaps and bounds.
There are people who tell me ‘because of your morning show I smile’, or ‘what you do made me work even harder’, or ‘because of you I have never given up’ …We hosted Black Rhino Okusi, a Kenyan heavyweight champion boxer who lives in Huruma, with the championship belt under his bed. It doesn’t help him in any way. But in 10 minutes we raised more than Sh200,000 to help him. I’ve met so many people who because of what I do have not given up in life.
A gig depends on who the client is, the time of the event, how long it will be and who we are doing it for.
I’ve done weddings for free as my gift to a couple (for supporting my craft), gigs for a million shillings and others for Sh50, 000. Negotiations are always involved and you have to understand your client. It’s about agreements and negotiations.
I feel sexy when my wallet is full.
Anytime I have money in my wallet I feel like the sexiest, most handsome and sumptuous man in town. Money is not everything, it is the only thing. Period. That’s the only thing that makes a man sexy; otherwise, they would not be creating all these beautiful cars.
My favourite women in the world are my mother, my daughter, and my wife.
They are the most special people to me. Otoyo is the funniest person I know. I don’t think there is anyone funnier than Otoyo in this country.
My most attractive trait is my smile;
I don’t think I have ever been mad since I was born. I don’t know how to get angry and I don’t think I ever will. Smile more.
I’m not leaving radio anytime soon.
I’m doing this for the next five years, maybe then I will be done and try my hand in politics. I want to vie for the Lang’ata parliamentary seat in 2022. May God bless me and Lang’ata people, this is your MP to be.