Sol Fest, with an all-Kenyan line-up, made me immensely proud of the Kenyan artists, and I was encouraged by the turnout.
Edited for clarity.
How would you describe yourself?
Artist, actor, philanthropist.
How did you build your career?
Consistency! I built my brand from the ground up with the help of the Kaka Management team. I did my first mainstream song which was “Tippy Toe” and from there we continued to build on that sound becoming better with practice and research. It has been a long journey and I think the key is consistency, persistence and support; in this case, the Kaka Empire team.
Which corporate brands have you worked with before?
I have worked with several companies throughout the years including Safaricom, Guinness, Tusker, and Peptang…I have worked with many more, mostly on a short-term basis.
I am currently the official brand ambassador for Monster Energy. I am their first female brand ambassador in East and Central Africa. It feels nice, it feels great especially to be recognized by such a huge, worldwide brand like Monster. I feel like I am doing something, and that people are watching.
I’m Femi One. I am not trying to be Nicki Minaj, I’m not trying to be Nazizi, I’m not trying to be anyone else other than myself.
Why do you think these brands chose you?
I am not sure, maybe we should ask them. But one thing I know is that they love my music, they love my image and they love how I carry myself. I am one of the cleanest brands in this country. I’m also very hardworking, I have good numbers, I have a good following and I interact and relate well with people.
Which performance do you consider your best?
My favourite was Sol Fest which took place at the KICC. Watu wa Nairobi Wali turn-up Mazee. With an all-Kenyan line-up, I felt happy and immensely proud of the Kenyan artists, and I was encouraged by the turnout. It was the first Kenyan show that proved we can have a lineup of Kenyan artists na watu watokee. It’s all about doing good music, branding, being talented and Kenyans will support it.
Nyashinski’s concert was another. I was a surprise act, and the crowd went crazy when I stepped on stage. Those were my two favourites because they were from Kenyan artists and it was very encouraging to see Kenyans turn up.
How do you manage to remain so humble and grounded in this music industry in Kenya?
I think having the right people around me grounds me. My manager will say something like Femi you need to do this because of this and this and this, and it clicks. It keeps me grounded; inanikumbusha pahali nimetoka and how much I have worked for my brand.
I just wear what I am comfortable in. My style is quite simple, inspired by the 90s.
What is unique about you as compared to other artists in Kenya?
I think I have always been myself, kutoka niingie kwa industry. I’m Femi One. I am not trying to be Nicki Minaj, I’m not trying to be Nazizi, I’m not trying to be anyone else other than myself.
Secondly, having a good team is another. I’ve been with my team tangu nianze. I have an exceptionally good management team. Three, the kind of songs nafanya. Nimekuwa nikifanya very consistently na sheng to represent the streets – you know the matatu and dancing culture in Kenya. That makes me stand out.
My image as well. I put effort into how I look; my hair, my nails and how I dress up. The fifth thing…I think I’m very hardworking and just involve my family, my friends and my team from day one throughout the process. I do not make the decisions alone; I make sure I involve them…so I think those things make me stand out.
What is your favourite motto or slogan in life?
How do you manage to separate your private life from your celebrity life?
I just share my work on social media. My private life remains secret and just for people close to me. Social media is just for work.
Do you consider yourself to be a family person?
Yes, I am a family person.
Do you consider yourself to be a fashion icon?
No, I do not consider myself to be a fashion icon. I just wear what I am comfortable in. My style is quite simple, inspired by the 90s. The big hoops, sneakers with jeans, I wear sneakers with everything. I think on my wedding day I will be in sneakers (laughs).
I know how to dress my body, so when I am working with stylists, I already know how I want to look. I usually have the whole picture in my head, so I will just share ideas with the stylist anitafutie this and that.
I have my style figured out which I think so many artists do not and that is why it may be considered a fashion icon but I am not.
Success takes time and consistency. Just keep doing whatever it is you’re doing and you’ll make it.
What inspires your fashion sense?
I think Aaliyah inspired my fashion sense. Her fashion is very 90s – hip-hop, sneakers, baggy jeans, crop tops, bralettes and colourful, puffy jackets. It’s sexy hip-hop.
What other career path would you have taken and why?
I think I would still be in the entertainment industry. When I was young I thought I would work in the media.
What motivates you?
The money is good! No, I’m playing (Laughs).
I think what keeps me going is nataka madame wa Eastlands, mtaani,wakiniangalia they feel inspired knowing that I was born and raised in Mwiki. Nimekuwa mdame wa sheng kutoka niingie kwa music industry.Watu walikuwa wananiita ghetto. Nataka wakiniangalia wajue they can achieve anything. That they can achieve their dreams by just being themselves.
Any advice to aspiring young producers, musicians and fashion icons?
Believe in yourselves. Be patient when building your brands. It takes time and consistency. Just keep doing whatever it is you’re doing and you’ll make it. I believe there’s no way you can be doing something or building something for years and God akose kukureward. You know, God is a very faithful God
Any last words for your fans?
Thank you so much for the support over the years. I’m very grateful. You inspire me every day. Continue interacting with me on social media and subscribe to my YouTube channel and I won’t fail you.