Wednesday evening closed-door press conference with MP Charles Njagua Kanyi popularly called Jaguar ended with mixed reactions. From the interactive question-answer session emerged seven reasons behind the rotten creative arts industry in Kenya. Sure enough, a conversation on the arrest of comedian Eric Omondi and why local creatives feel offended has only started.
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The youthful MP Jaguar addressed Kenyan content creators a day following Omondi’s dramatic arrest of November 16, 2021. Among those who appeared in the scenes are Mungai Eve, Presenter Ali, Nicholas Kioko, and Director Don. The musician turned politician did not spare washing the dirty linen of a broken creative media industry.
7 reasons why MP Jaguar slammed the creative arts industry in Kenya
MP Jaguar of 15 years in the music business reasoned that comedian Eric Omondi is running a good course but in the wrong direction.
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He proceed to list seven reasons why the country needs more than just the proposed Play 75% Kenyan Content bill.
1. Kenyan musicians do not value mentorship
Kigeugeu hitmaker clarified that most upcoming Kenyan artists lack sufficient mentorship in music production.
As a result, they struggle to produce hit songs using shortcuts and cliché lyrics. Worse still is not understanding how the industry works.
MP Jaguar insisted on consulting veteran musicians and opinion leaders before investing and wasting money on dormant craft.
2. Creative arts industry in Kenya failing for lack of coordination
Jaguar recalls struggling to mobilize Kenyan artists during his time in vain. He cites that most of these creatives are less corporative when it comes to attending decisive meetings.
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More so, he bashed artists of failing to attend crucial meetings with the Communication Authority of Kenya.
MP Jaguar emphasized the need to attend a once in two years CAK meeting where decisions on the percentage of local content airplay are signed.
Even so, he is optimistic that a higher artist turnout can push the figures from the current 40% to the requested 75%.
Speaking of un-coordinated artists, Jaguar referred to a failed protest in which no influential singer came out to support Eric Omondi.
3. The challenge of not taking music seriously and with creativity
Music like any other business is a soft spot for those willing to endure its pain and glory without giving up.
On that note, Jaguar expressed displeasure with musicians who record overnight and expect their songs to play on national stations the following morning.
Instead, he maintains taking music seriously by assigning enough time for a quality work of art.
4. Poor branding stalling the creative arts industry in Kenya
According to Jaguar, local musicians have failed terribly in branding their labels to attract better-paying deals.
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He says that some talented Kenyan musicians earn lowly for failing to protect their brands against exploitation in the universal world of music.
To drive his point home, MP Jaguar gave himself as an example of a Kenyan music brand that sold well in Uganda, Rwanda, and South Africa.
5. Producing less original music and lyrics
Copycat singers without a signature style of music are a part of the reasons why the Kenyan art industry is declining.
The lawmaker who has no problem with Eric Omondi demonstrating has advised Kenyan musicians to concentrate on appealing music that can sell on their own.
He noted that it is unfair to force radio stations and televisions into playing sub-standard music in the name of Kenyan music.
6. Faulting the law instead of working on better music
Jaguar confirmed that more than 3 radio stations in Kenya have previously paid a fine of Ksh. 500,000 for failing to play at least 40% of Kenyan music.
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The finding is a clear indication that the Communication Authority of Kenya is mindful of Kenyan artists.
That being the case, Jaguar assured that the percentage can only rise higher if Kenyan musicians concentrate on creating more lyrical tunes as opposed to coming up with legislation bills.
7. Spend drift Kenyan musicians crippling the industry
MP Jaguar said that the music industry is the highest paying in the country, but only for those who have taken time to understand how it works.
He said that less organized Kenyan musicians are mostly the ones complaining to the government.
In addition, Jaguar observed that musicians are notorious for staying in costly houses and riding big cruises without savings.
A press conference with content creators ended with Jaguar expressing interest to retain his parliamentary seat. Otherwise, he will fall back into the music industry.
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Whether the Play 75% Kenyan Content Bill will pass or not depends on how far comedian Eric Omondi will push alongside MP Jaguar. So far, both are openly unhappy with avoidable challenges facing the creative arts industry in Kenya.