Music in Kenya is becoming less than a hobby and more of a business but Elani stand out in this envied field of expertise because they have figured out the art of blending their talent and generating income. Here is more on what they had to say about their well-firmed career.
First things first, interviewing Elani was a humbling opportunity for us here at the founder and I hope that by the end of this article you will also feel the same. Elani is a Kenyan Music Group that first comprised of five talented individuals when it was founded but now they are down to two beautiful ladies, Wambui Ngugi and Maureen Kunga and the only guy in the group, Bryan Chweya. Well their bragging rights vary but the ones they have in common is titles such as vocalists, songwriters, entertainers among others. Enough with the background information let us get down to the really amazing interview that happened at around 11:00pm about half a kilometer from the Daystar University gate; no not at Lukenya…in the middle of the road!! Yeah we are go-getters like that.
We came to find out that Elani is an Agiriama and Greek word meaning ‘light’ and guess who came up with that name? Maureen! A business-oriented mind would think that they would earn more money doing solo projects but they insist that together they shine brighter, the music they make is more magical and they would never have it any other way. Luck may have brought them together but they credit God for bringing them together and fueling their chemistry to be what it is now. Any by-stander can tell that they are one admirable functional family even by how they respond to our questions. A query on whether their motivation to delve into the music business may have come from the successes of Sauti Sol (MAMA and BET award nominations) and Maureen was not shy to say,
“ We are so humbled that you can even mention us in the same sentence but when it comes to pace-setting, everyone has their own goals…Yes they have set a pace, yes it has never happened in the country and congratulations to them but we are focused on our own plans and desires. If BET comes, if MAMAs come…Yaay! we will be happy either way.”
Wambui does not hesitate to say that they are out to sing what they believe in and what is in their hearts which I found quite remarkable because most singers just sing whatever their producers tell them will be a ‘hit’. As a businessperson in any field, I would definitely take pointers from Elani. The best things are those done from the heart; it is not just about making the money but the feeling of satisfaction when making it. Brian chips in and says that thanking God is paramount and they do not confine themselves to one genre of music. The cake is big enough and so the pieces are numerous for more musicians to join in and make the world realize that it is not all for fun and fame but the fact that any given song is a product and a musician is a brand in itself that can be traded.
We just had to ask them if they were to trade their lives with a celebrity who would be their person of choice. I got to say, this one caught them off guard but the answers we got were also out of the norm. Brian and Maureen stuck on to the fact that they love the space they are in and the growth that they have had over the past few years so they are comfortable being themselves. Wambui on the other hand, had quite the response,
“That is very admirable (referring to Brian and Maureen’s response above) because I would like to be Jaguar because I like the Range Rover and I would like it to be mine. Thanks Jaguar!”
Their final advice to any dream chasers out there is simple and clear cut, honestly I couldn’t have said it any better,
“Believe in Jesus, don’t take drugs and don’t give up! Believe in God because sometimes it gets so hard that if you do not get your strength from him, you are out and don’t take drugs because they will slow you down, “Wambui says confidently
Brain then adds on his two cents, “Plan your work, work your plan…keep working because you never know when your break will come.”
[Tweet ““Plan your work, work your plan…keep working because you never know when your break will come.””]
“Be the best you can possibly be! Just keep going,” Maureen concludes
[Tweet “..“Be the best you can possibly be! Just keep going”]
Their confidence in the future is quite venerable because they are all excited about the future saying how we ain’t ready and we should keep calm and wait for Elani. (Spoilers: they said they should have T-shirts printed out with that phrase, what do you think? Yay? or Nay?) Undoubtedly, we all had fun during the interview and learnt a thing or two from these amazing talented youngsters. Their wisdom and humility is evident with all the responses they gave and if you want to catch it all word for word, do not miss out the video below