Jackson Rakama, who is best known by his stage name Jegede, has been one of the fastest rising music acts in the country. Propelled to fame by the track ‘Gudi Gudi’, Jegede has gone on to release more bangers such as ‘Bolingo’, ‘Rampapa’, and ‘Pare Pare’.
Jegede, who doubles up as a producer, says he would have been a comedian if destiny did not lead him to music. He shares his journey from his early days as a dancer and what it takes to be at the top with Nation.
One of the biggest hits you ever did was “Gudi Gudi” which you did with rappers Naiboi and Kristoff what was the inspiration behind it.
“Gudi Gudi” was just a fun song that we decided to do and it came out as a big hit.
I am a Luhya from Busia, and the other guys and myself just wanted to do a song that praises the beautiful Luhya women; and not what has been interpreted by people.
You started out as a dancer?
Actually, I started singing first then moved to acting, and then dancing. Back in the day in Busia I used to be very active in social functions and gatherings, I used to sing in the hood. But the first thing I did was stand-up comedy.
However, as a young man you always try many different things before settling on one. At that time, dancing was a big thing and I remember the songs that were hitting were mainly lingala – I’m good at lingala. This is when I formed the dance group Everlast.
Then you decided to come to Nairobi…
I came to Nairobi in 2009, by the way. There were so many lights and beautiful women. I would sit at Ambassadeur, just looking at the beautiful women of the city, appreciating them.
Then in 2012 we took part in the dance competition Sakata and won. However, the group disintegrated later on as members went to pursue individual projects.
How did you switch to music?
After parting ways with the other members of the Everlast dance group, I was introduced to music production by my cousin – who had a studio in his house. And that is when I started perfecting my skills as a musician.
I remember one time I went to perform at a local university, as an up and coming musician, and it was a very enlightening moment.
My first song was a rap song and it did not do so well. My friends advised me not to rap but try singing instead.
This was not easy and it took a while for me to be able to find my sound. It took me like two to three years to find my sound. Because I realised that if I wanted to make it to the top or gain any relevance in this industry I had to come up with my own sound. And that is how I started my music career.
You make it sound so easy.
Actually, it was not, I appreciate the fact that I knew people like Naiboi who helped me in music while I was very new. We made a beat together and as they say the rest is history.
One of your biggest hits as a solo artiste is “Pare Pare” what was the song’s inspiration?
I translated “Pare Pare” from a Luhya word, meaning beautiful girl. I believe women are very special and we should always sing praises to them.
What lessons have you learnt throughout your career?
This industry is tough, but I appreciate the challenges because they make me a better person. I want to combine all my talents that is, acting, dancing, singing and comedy. I want my fans to have a unique experience; I want them to laugh and at the same time dance and enjoy my performances.
Could one say the reason you decided to move from dancing to singing is because there is more money in the latter?
Dancing is as good a career as singing and what I would say is that if a person feels that dancing is their thing, then well and good; they should do it passionately.
As for me, I wanted to do a lot of things and I wanted to have all these experiences. I later realised that I could not do all of them at the same time, so I decided to focus on music.
A word of advice for up and coming artistes?
I always say, first, understand your craft or art. Most of these new artistes want to do music because they have seen established artistes doing well and want to have the same kind of life. However, music is a business. They should also be creative and come up with different sounds.
What’s your favourite colour?
Favourite song of all time?
I love ohangla music.
Chicken and fish.
What do you like about Nairobi women?
Miguu zao safi.
What annoying habit do you have?
I do not like washing the dishes.