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Kenyan musician narrates the hustle of recording without a single cent

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Upcoming musicians often refrain from recording an album or a single song just because they are waiting to be signed by a record label before they do so. The case is different for 26 year old, Ondiso Madete or Ondi for short, whose passion in music surpasses her desire to become famous as a musician..

Her music passion enabled her to find ways of funding her album recording without signing with a record label. The mother of one mainly funded her album by the help of social media and crowd funding. She remembers the journey as a unique one, where she learnt a lot.

“It’s not necessarily about money, it’s about the idea of sharing, giving and receiving. The audience receives the gift of music and the artist receives the support, feedback, food, a place to stay or sometimes money,” Ondi narrates.

She came up with the idea of doing her album, Tangawizi which will be launched on July 5th, while in Spoleto Italy. She had not recorded any music in two years as she wa raising her newly born son. She was performing from time to time but did not record any new music.

[Read: Innovative storytelling to highlight 3rd Nairobi Film Festival]

While in Italy, Ondiso was mainly basking, doing music in the streets where as she narrates making money was not a priority. All she wanted to do was entertain the people of Spoleto with her music. Sometimes they would put something in her guitar case while sometimes people joined in and sang along both of which she counts as support. It is this experience that motivated her to do her first single album, Tangawizi.

When she came back to the country, she was focused on doing an album but the only thing that was hindering her was funding. Based on advice she got from watching a ted talk on YouTube, Ondi sorted to social media to ask for help.

“I contacted recording studios telling them I want to record an album but I don’t have any money. At first, I was not even asking for money, I was asking for advice. How do I record an album without any money?” she recalls.

After several attempts without any success, she was finally contacted by East African Records in Uganda who were willing to record her album for free. In return, the studio would distribute the music which was a win-win situation. Ondi wanted to record her album and she had found a studio, the recording studio would distribute the album.

“I had found a recording studio and that was great so all I had to do was get to Uganda. Our deal was good for me both ways. They wanted to distribute which was great for me because they put it online, making my music visible,” Ondi said.

Getting the recording studio was the first step, she did not have money to facilitate her trip to Uganda so she went back to social media to ask for help. This time she was really asking for money, and people sent the money, an act she terms as ‘ridiculously beautiful.

“They did not know me, what they believed in was my music. It is not that I sent them receipts for my tickets or told them the exact amount of money I spent for my trip. I didn’t get so much money from people, I got the exact money I needed for my trip,” she said in an exclusive interview with a business today reporter.

Ondi’s journey is unique, a lady with a dream that was achieved solely by passion. Her passion drove her to record an album and record an album she did.

[See also: Author tells of his journey to chronicling Kenya’s football intrigues]

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Kevin Namunwa
Kevin Namunwahttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Kevin Namunwa is a senior reporter for Business Today. Email at [email protected].
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