Entertainment: Jamaican reggae singer Stephenson enjoys massive fan base in Kenya

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 30 Jul, 2019 00:00 | 3 mins read
Jamaican reggae singer Duane Stephenson enjoys a massive fan base in Kenya.
Manuel Ntoyai 
What were your expectations during your second time performing in Kenya?

I really enjoyed the first time I was here in 2017 and from my earlier online interactions with my Kenyan fans, I knew they had been waiting for my second coming and so was I. This time was different though because I did it along my brother Daville, whom I used to curtain raise for back in the day. 

What projects are you working on in Kenya?

Under the leadership of Ken Ring, Masa Music and myself are working on a number of projects in the country involving music and sports and Ken is investing in a studio and a sports facility.

It is all about talent development of our young brothers and sisters coming from challenging backgrounds. Once everything is set, the whole world will know about it because it will be massive. 

What part are you playing in the projects?

I am investing in Kenya to help music and sports grow. We have done it in Jamaica, so we now know how to identify the opportunities. It is also about not just business but also helping the music industry grow.

Ken is putting in huge amounts of money in the project and I have seen his plans for the studio that will have state-of-the-art equipment. It is such a great vibe. 

How far are you on your project with pioneering Kenyan rapper Johnny Vigeti?

Johnny is one of the most talented rappers around and it is so unfortunate that he had to go through what he underwent with drugs. However, life is a journey and I know he is getting there.

Working with him has always been part of the plan and I can’t wait to get into the studio with him.

There was a hold up because of his rehabilitation process, but I know and understand his talent and the vision is to make something unique, fresh and powerful to drive social change.

In the changing reggae scene, are African tunes getting enough airplay out there?

People such as Alpha Blondy have laid the foundation for many of us, but he is in his twilight years. However, we need more young and fresh artistes to come into the scenes to add more energy to the movement.

Yes, they are coming through, but not as quick enough as we need them to. Good thing is that there are investments being made to make sure that Kenya is the place to bear such talents and I believe in that vision. 

From a Jamaican national perspective, how easy or hard is it investing in Africa?

Just because we don’t require a visa to visit Kenya, it does not make it any better at the airport. Nut our heads of governments are making efforts to make it easier for us to operate between the two countries. President Uhuru Kenyatta was in Jamaica recently and I am happy with the way things are going. 

What’s your opinion about fake unscrupulous music promoters?

Sadly, that is something that keeps occurring. Personally, it has not affected me, but it’s just bad. Back in the days, people used every opportunity to ‘steal’ from others. However, that does not help anyone and anybody doing that needs to go legit and build proper businesses instead of reaping where they didn’t sow. 

Should Kenya legalise marijuana? 

The government needs to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. It’s not about the regular man smoking it by the roadside. It’s about the billions of money the industry can offer, especially from the health angle.

Africa has the right conditions and land to make it work, but why are we not earning the money? Western countries are reaping big when we go there for medical care. 

Why can’t we use some of the benefits that come with marijuana to invest a vibrant medical system locally?

Is it a good thing that some Kenyan youths are copying Jamaican lifestyle?

It’s a good thing when we learn from each other. Life is no longer about the one-way street. The whole landscape is changing through things such as technology. So, we can definably borrow from each other in areas including business, music and tourism. It’s not any worse. 

Are you a Kenyan in the diaspora with a story to tell? Do you know someone of Kenyan origin doing something remarkable in the diaspora? Do you have an opinion that you would like to share? Email us at [email protected]

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