Not cool at all. See what groove awards just did.

IMG_20160524_092642_913So, the groove awards is here and we’ve seen the groove bus doing rounds in major towns portraying the gospel industry’s cream. Awesome. I totally support this initiative as it helps in identifying and developing talent and in the long run change lives in so many ways. I also support the fact that everyone nominated should only be nominated on a merit basis, regardless of their color, tribe, religious affiliation and character. Yes, I said character. I do not believe that the nominating committee should not play judges and disqualify individuals for what they may term as “uncouth” in their eyes. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, right?
I don’t know much about the Bible verses but I know for sure that there is a verse somewhere between Genesis and Revelations that talks about a speck and a log. Additionally, there is one that says something about us all being sinners in the eyes of God, and that no human being is divine enough to judge others. Groove awards, being a religious outfit, you would expect that they know these stuff and should be the ones to portray their applications onto our society. I believe this wasn’t the case in ignoring Bahati and Willy Paul.

So far, the groove awards committee hasn’t come out openly to approve or disapprove the fact that character was the reason why the two were ignored. All I know and believe is that, these two artists are two of the best the Kenyan gospel industry has ever produced and they had major hits released between January and December 2015, so they really stood a chance of being nominated in at least one category out of the many that are up for grabs. I believe that Bahati and Willy Paul are like the Diamond and Ali Kiba of the Kenyan gospel music. You really can’t complete a one hour gospel mix without either’s music in the mix, or at times both. If you think I’m making this up, go watch your TV on any given Sunday and tell me what you observe. From Crossover, Tukuza, The switch, Kubamba, Blessika and…which one did I forget? Yep, changamka. I believe these are the top 6 gospel shows on Sunday mornings. Bahati and Willy Paul’s music rule the airwaves. It’s also evident that they both attract friends and foes alike. So what went wrong?

Mainstream gospel music, in as much as it is ministry, it is also showbiz in a major way. Artists commence their musical journey as a ministry and then proceed to run their music as a business venture that is supposed to support their daily living and help them in their ministry. It’s common knowledge that if I call the artists to perform to huge crowds for zero pay so as to spread the gospel and expand their ministry, they may come for the first two shows – for the most generous ones – and on the third show, they are gonna need some cash, reason being, they have to survive on that music. This basically portrays the fact that you can’t get the “biz” out of “showbiz”.
Now that we have agreed on the gospel “ministry”, “show” and “biz” components of this discussion, let’s identify a few housekeeping rules in the showbiz industry. Honestly, I prefer to concentrate on the “showbiz” part verses ministry because I believe my input may make more sense that way. The “ministry” portion will be better served by a religious leader of your choice. So, showbiz… On a regular basis, we hear of scandals involving Various Artists on both sides of the divide. Some of these scandals affect the fans in a major way, since, as fans, we get attached to our celebrities. OMG!  We want them to be super awesome and angelic in some manner, with no faults at all… Let me burst your bubble…pssst! No they ain’t. Do you honestly believe that those scandals are genuine reporting?… Go ahead, you can take an extra minute to think about it… Got it?…I thought so. That’s just showbiz, artists create news to suit their various marketing strategies at hand. They will discredit their major competition just so as to gain some sympathy fan base and maybe eat into their already existing one. It’s normal, pastors do it all the time. If you talk to pastors, they will tell you, “I need to  convert more followers”, and in the process of doing this, they may eat into one another’s flock. That’s why a guest pastor is not allowed to “advertise” their church while preaching at another church. Don’t get me wrong, they can talk about it but that’s as far as they may go. They can’t start converting followers from that. So what’s wrong if our artists do the same?

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In order to remain relevant, artists have to keep reminding us that they are still around and that they are doing good. Do you really think that Bahati and Willy Paul hate each other that much? You must be really slow to believe that. All that these two guys have for each other is a “chronic obsession” with each other’s talent. Neither of these guys can go to bed without thinking of the other’s music and strategize on how to create better music. This is all about competition, and in a competitive market, the consumers stand to gain – Yep, we do. Only a person of limited showbiz experience believed when Bahati “quit” music coz he was “demoralized, and people were plotting his downfall, and the industry was against him, and his friends were now backbiting him” only to come back after one week with a major hit “Itakuwa sawa” talking about exactly that.

Rumor has it that the song was originally recorded at Jumbosound Records when Teddy B was still the producer. So, we are talking about a song recorded before September 2014 being released in or around December 2015 sold as, “I wrote it after they wanted to finish me musically”. That’s where I dot my first lol at those who believed that. But, honestly, his public relations guys did an awesome job on this. We gotta give it to them. The song is doing awesomely well, you know,  a song he did to show that he is “unbreakable” by whatever you guys say, c’mon guys!

How about my man Willy? I have a major admiration for his music prowess. He is undoubtedly the “godfather” of gospel bongo and he has reaped handsomely for that. However, my boy willy has curved a niche for himself as “Mr. Controversy”, and if you ask me, this has served him quite well. Not once, but on numerous occasions, he has been portrayed as the “gospel bad boy” to his advantage. You remember the KICC story with Pendo? The various smear campaigns with Bahati? Or stories about him and his mum? Honestly, I can go on and on for a really long time. This goes on to reinforce my assertion that there is a difference between “ministry” and “showbiz” in the gospel industry. It’s all about cutting your own loyal fans and implant a notion in their minds that you are the  best and your main competition isn’t. I wouldn’t fall for these schemes, but the groove awards committee really did.
I know for sure I can go on and on about this for a couple more pages but that won’t be necessary. So, from where we stand, I have established that both “ministry” and “showbiz”, are major components of our gospel Music Industry, Bahati and Willy Paul are great admirers of each others talent and what is happening is just showbiz and that both Bahati and Willy Paul had better songs that deserved to be nominated. So, I won’t be wrong to say that groove awards committee got it wrong this time. The decision lies with fans who vote and if there could have been another formidable force in the gospel awards industry, we could have “ignored” you too. It outrightly proves that groove awards is “competition averse” and the awards this year do not really represent the fans’ choice. How about this, just keep on with your boardroom awards. You may, as well, pile up all the awards and give them to Mercy Masika and stop parading your incompetence in the “gospel” awards industry.
I rest my case.
Bahama Breeze Factory
Nairobi, Kenya