Celebrity musician and businesswoman Akothee has opened up about how she went to great lengths to break into the local music industry.
Speaking on Citizen TV’s Twitter space Wednesday night, Akothee recounted all the odds she had to beat to make a name for herself in the industry, including paying the media for airplay.
“I forced myself to Kenyans. I forced myself into their ears. Kenyans did not want me. They rejected me. I had to literally drag myself out there and make myself heard. In an industry full of cheap clout chasing, I had to either adapt or die. It took time but eventually, it paid off, “ Akothee said.
“I remember having to pay the media people for airplay. I would book flights for radio presenters, spend a lot on the media. In fact, I spent Sh4 Million on my first music video for the song ‘Shengerera Mama’ which I shot in South Africa just to be able to have it play on NTV’s ‘The Beat’ program,” she added.
The singer also faulted Kenyans for being overly critical of local music.
“Kenyans play a very huge part in killing the industry through criticism. When I started out, I used to be criticised a lot and that would hurt my brand. I went to Nigeria to understand what they were doing right. And if you asked Nigerians, they would say the artists they know from Kenya are Akothee, Diamond Platnumz and Sauti Sol. And yet I was not even being listened to in Kenya itself, “ she complained.
Akothee also disclosed that her then-fiance was not supportive of her music and even offered to pay her millions to quit music.
“He offered to be paying me 20,000 Swiss Francs(approx Sh2.8 million) for me to quit music, stay at home and delete my channel. I had to let the relationship of four years go,” she said as quoted by Citizen.
Akothee also revealed that she earned a measly Sh150,000 for her first show.
“I remember my first show, Jalang’o paid me Sh. 150k. And I wondered what is this money even doing to do for me. My operational costs cost me over Sh. 500k. But with time, with endorsements and all, I was able to start earning proper money from my music, which also took time,” she said.
Akothee also hinted at going gospel saying she started out as a choir member at the SDA Church
“I still feel the calling to be a Gospel singer inside me but the way the church is set up, I find a lot of the members very hypocritical and I hate being told what to do. My mother also didn’t support my music at first, she found it indecent and was not supportive when I started out due to the nature of the music I was putting out,” she said.
Akothee also mentioned she will use her new role as a member of the Talanta Hela Council to mentor upcoming artistes.
“I will use the opportunity to nurture younger artists and take them through the journey as they learn from me and adopt some of what I applied earlier to succeed in music,” she said.