Jimmy Gait – “I am more focused on my message now because I know for a fact that God has called me to give hope.”
Jimmy Gait is a well-known musician in Kenya, whether he’s famous or infamous depends on the type of music you like. Jimmy Gait, however, is adamant that the continued backlash he gets online is his best motivator. He spoke to KBC’s Samuel Njoroge about his online infamy, his blueprint to success, his new success cards and his future plans.
Interview By Samuel Njoroge
Transcription by Kevin Kamunde
I am not the kind of person who flaunts his success.
Samuel Njoroge: What have you been doing in between the years 2014 and 2017? Jimmy Gait: Vitu mingi bana! Mimi ni yule jamaa hustler. Hii Kenya nikujipanga (I’ve been doing a lot. I’m a hustler. In this country, you have to sort yourself out.) (Smiles). In all seriousness though, I have just been working. I have been recording a lot of new music and videos and I am also into entrepreneurship. I am pretty much-doing business now.
SN: Part of your background is in entrepreneurship, bring us up to speed about how those projects have performed over time.
JG: I am not the kind of person who flaunts his success. I would describe myself as an introvert. I run three companies concurrently and so far, God has been very good, we are doing exceedingly well. Now I am ready to focus on my music.
SN: What are these three businesses that you are engaged in?
JG: I run an IT company, an agency and we also handle internet security. Those are some of the things that we are doing. Of late, we have also been getting into merchandise mass production.
I realized if you want to be successful in what you do, you need to be your own person, follow your own path.
SN: How would you describe your musical journey?
JG: It has been an interesting journey. If you consider where I started I have grown. I now look at things differently. There’s a lot of improvement in how I deliver my message. I am more focused on my message now because I know for a fact that God has called me to give hope. That’s the message I push. I realized if you want to be successful in what you do, you need to be your own person, follow your own path. Be faithful to it, work on it, improve it and stay on it until it has made an impact.
SN: Speaking of your musical journey, we have seen you tried and tested, to what extent have those challenges shaped you?
JG: Let me tell you, I love challenges. I do not run away from challenges. I understand the facts and principles of life. It’s (Life) about going through this and that. It is about the ups and downs and being stuck in one place but as I keep saying, hope is all the recurrent medium of transaction you need. I have gone through some tough times but hope has kept me going.
SN: You broke down on national television, tell us what was going on at that point?
JG: At the end of the day, I am a human being, I have emotions and sometimes I break down. I do not try to be superhuman. If it’s time to cry, I will cry, if it’s time to be happy, I’ll be happy and if it’s time to joke then I’ll joke. I am only human. At that point, I was just expressing my humanity and I am allowed to. Someone can’t judge you based on your emotions. People connect with real people and that’s why I try to stay true to myself at all times.
Sometimes, when enough people hate you, it’s easy to forget about the people who love you.
SG: What would you describe to be the highest point of your career so far?
JG: Actually the highest point of my career was when I was the victim of backlash. All that hate pushed me to become a better person. That’s why I consider it my highest point.
SG: When you were making the song “Love” what was the intention? What message were you trying to pass across?
JG: The message I was sharing was love. I was just addressing the people who were ‘hating on me’ online. Sometimes, when enough people hate you, it’s easy to forget about the people who love you.
SG: Let’s move on to success cards. Exam season is almost upon us, and you’ve made success cards branded with your messages, why success cards?
JG: I’ve always pushed myself to succeed and I want to push others to succeed as well. I want to motivate an army of people who believe in success. I want them to embark on the journey of success and to never settle for failure. And students are as good a place as any. It’s also a good age to instil an attitude of success. I also want to inspire the students during this time and let them know that it is okay to have a winning attitude.
I want to give hope to the students and I need Kenyans to do the same.
SG: Where can I get the success cards?
JG: I have partnered with African book hub, they are the main distributors of the cards. We have also partnered with the Postal Corporation of Kenya so the cards are available in every post office in the country. We are also distributing to regular shops and I think by the end of the week most of the shops will be stocking them. You might even find them in the streets.
SG: How much are they?
JG: They are just KSh.100 and with KSh. 150 you get a stamp. However, if you send the money to our till number, which you can find on my social media accounts, with the name and contacts of the candidate, we will send the candidate an autographed card. I will sign the card myself.
SN: Speaking of exams, how was your experience when you were sitting for your exams?
JG: I never liked exams, a lot of people don’t like exams. At that time I was tense and full of fear. I wish I had somebody to encourage me and give me hope. That’s why this project means a lot to me. I want to give hope to the students and I need Kenyans to do the same. These cards are full of messages of hope.
The youth especially, need to develop and create a path for themselves. God created every one of us for a particular purpose.
SN: What would you like to achieve in the next 5-10 years. What should we expect from you?
JG: My journey now is all about hope. I want to give people hope, to touch lives, to shape lives and empower lives. And the best way of empowering people is by giving them information. That is the next phase of my life. I want to empower the youth.
SN: Finally, you mentioned something about leaving a legacy. What is this legacy? What does it look like? Give us an impression of this legacy you want to leave behind?
JG: For me, it’s really about shaping people’s attitudes. How far you go in life is determined by how far you see yourself going. One of the major reasons I got this far is because of the attitude I possess. I look ahead and envision whatever it is I want. Then I commit myself to that vision. A lot of people don’t have a vision, don’t have a sense of direction which is what I try to help with. The youth especially, need to develop and create a path for themselves. God created every one of us for a particular purpose. For me, it’s about helping people especially the youth to get on that path.
NB: This interview originally aired on KBC Channel 1 on the show Good Morning Kenya.