Andrew Mugambi alias Richie G is a Kenyan singer, video director and audio producer. When he is not all about music, Richie G serves husband to songbird Dianarose ‘Dida’ Damian of Tanzanian origin who has found her home in Kenya.
They recently dropped a song together, Good loving, that’s slowly growing on listeners.
Richie G spoke to SDE on his juggling act, singing with his wife Dida, the Kenyan gospel scene and his latest hit ‘Shida’.
How did you end up having an artistic name?
When I was starting the studio I was using the name Andru, a short form of my real name but later on, I was given the name Richard Gitonga by our pastor on baptism. And it stuck.
You started music way back in 2003, how has been your journey like?
The year 2003 was simply doing recording as I was still in college. After school I got a job, so music became an on-and-off affair. But in 2011 I took music more seriously. Therefore, I quit my job to concentrate on it. But it has not been easy.
You are a video director, audio producer and the same time a musician. How do you balance the three roles?
It is a bit hectic. It has been a process because I started out as an artist first, then went on to become an audio producer then with time I became a video director.
Handling the three roles at once became hectic, so I dropped the audio production role to concentrate on video directing and singing, which is still demanding.
Being a parent, how do you juggle between your career and family?
My wife also sings. Having her in the music industry has made things easier for us since we are together most of the time to discuss matters music, production and the industry at large.
This has strengthened the family bond even more as opposed to if she would have been in a different career altogether. I hang out with my son a lot too.
Tell us about your wife
She is called Dida. She is widely known for her song Alarm featuring Dj Verah that performed very well.
Would you encourage your son to pursue music as a career?
If that will be his passion, why not? I will give him all the support he needs.
You’ve also done a song with Dida Good Loving, how was it like to sing with her?
It was a normal experience, just like singing with any other artist. We’ve worked together in the past where we wrote a song, recorded it and even shot a video.
Do you think there are some challenges a couple in music industry faces different from couples in other careers?
I believe couples in the entertainment industry support each other more. A good example is Nameless and his wife Wahu. I once saw Nameless during the shoot of one of Wahu’s songs.
What is the best project you have ever worked on?
The song Agenda that I did with Naiboi was among the projects that did very well. Shida has also done well.
Which artists in Kenya do you feel you should work with, but you haven’t yet?
Redsan, because we do the same kind of music. Arrowboy, Sudi Boy, Otile Brown are my other alternatives to mention but a few.
Do you produce your own music?
Not really. I own a studio, ATL Entertainment and we have a producer who has worked on some of my projects. Nevertheless I have worked with other producers like in the case of Shida and Good Loving projects.
Have you had issues with artists like the case of Redsan and his producer Dr Sappy?
Differences usually occur, but nothing like the case of Redsan and his producer. It is just like any other business where customers complain. It all has to do with how you handle it.
How is the video creation process?
When artists come to seek our services, they usually have an idea of how the video should be. We sit down together and write down the script. For those with no idea, I guide them through.
What are some of the challenges you face while shooting videos?
Bad weather and law enforcers sometimes can interfere with the shooting process.
What do you think of the Kenyan gospel industry?
I think it’s being done solely for entertainment. Very few gospel artists are pushing the word.
What is the average cost for shooting a video?
Every musician has his own budget. Besides, the script of the song plays a vital role in determining the final budget. For an all-inclusive video it will be around Sh150, 000.
Aside from music what are your hobbies?
I love cooking.