On his latest release Fine Settings, Trio Mio (real name TJ Mario Kasela) raps that he is a breadwinner at 16, further vowing that his era of domination in Kenyan music has only just begun. The Cheza Kama Wewe star celebrated his 17th birthday on Friday, October 22.
In the space of just over a year, Trio has become one of Kenya’s most acclaimed artists despite still being a Form 3 student in high school. Trio’s lyrical prowess, voice and his ability to craft catchy hits have made him one of the country’s most sought after rappers – earning from features, performances, streaming and product placements among other revenue streams.
He caught the attention of fans in mid-2020 at a time when schools were closed due to the Covid-19 pandémic. It was during this period that he released Cheza Kama Wewe, a melodic banger that organically started buzzing in Gengetone circles before explóding onto the mainstream.
Not before long, Trio was collaborating with the likes of Mejja, NellytheGoon (Ochungulo Family) and Exray (Boondocks Gang) on the Cheza Kama Wewe Remix, releasing his debut EP Son of the City and headlining shows including NaiFest.
He also showed off his versatility, dabbling in both rap and Gengetone effortlessly. Importantly, Trio also uses his music to address the societal pressure that comes with being a 16-year old superstar.
Among other things, he has spoken on being inundated with unsolicited advice from Kenyans who either ask him to focus on his studies or on his music, and others who tell him that fame doesn’t last forever, particularly for a youngster like him.
He’s been able to maneuver through it all – steadily releasing several hits while balancing his studies. Trio stated in a past freestyle that when it comes to filtering out the noise, he only cares for the opinions of those who pay his school fees.
Whenever he gets a chance, he records music and new videos. His mother Irma Sakwa takes a keen interest in his career and studies.
It was Sakwa who called out Trio Mio’s former manager Wilkins Fadhili in January 2021, and sent him packing for allegedly defrauding her son of over Ksh100,000 in earnings. It paints a picture of a super talent finding fame and fortune as a 16-year old in a murky music industry that isn’t lacking in unscrupulous figures.
If his ever-growing fanbase and long list of hits released is anything to go by, however, Trio’s star is only set to shine brighter.