Tetu Shani is a self-taught percussionist, guitarist, singer and songwriter who describes his sound as a blend of indie rock, Afro-pop and folkloric rhythms from Kenya.
In 2014, he got a scholarship to study Performance at the prestigious Berklee College of Music but he turned it down; “because I wanted to be a part of the musical renaissance happening in Nairobi and to help build up the local music scene”.
Since then he has won a silver medal at the 2017 Global Music Awards, opened for Grammy winner Joss Stone and been featured on CNN African Voices as one of the trendsetters in Africa.
Here are 11 rapid-fire questions with Tetu Shani.
- Best moment on stage last year?
It was probably at J’s Restaurant. The place was packed; the most packed I have ever seen.
The audience was so engaging. I also loved my performance. It was an amazing experience.
- Best hobby?
Watching other people play video games on YouTube. (Laughs) I do not own one, but I enjoy seeing other people enjoy the games.
- Worst habit?
I am addicted to gummy worms or anything that is gummy!
- Best high school experience?
Being involved in numerous plays stands out. When I was in secondary school, I loved performances. Acting in the musicals was amazing.
- Best thing about being a Kenyan?
I get to be part of a group of people who are hilarious. Kenyans have a huge sense of humour. We are experts at creating memes and making light of difficult situations.
- Best lesson learnt last year?
Consistency is an important quality to have as a musician.
- Worst advice you have ever received?
That I need to collaborate with a gengetone artiste because they are really hot right now. That’s bad advice because I do not believe in collaborations based on hype.
- Best thing about being an artiste?
I’m able to see results of my work. For example, when performing on a live show, I can gauge whether people like it or not immediately.
- Lowest moment last year?
Realising I wouldn’t release my album this year. I recorded a fantastic album and I can’t wait to share it with the world.
- Greatest achievement in 2019?
In July, I challenged four artistes and I release to one song a month and I am proud that I followed through.
- If you were to come back as an app, what would it be and why?
I’ll go for a website instead of an app. I’d want to come back as Google. They are the biggest company in the world and do not even advertise. Yeah, I’d want to come back as it.