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Kenya artist named Spotify ambassador

Fena Gitu tells us she is a true testament to resilience and seeing her dreams through against all odds.

The Kenyan music scene is vibrant in part led by its soulful contemporary pop and afro-fusion artists who infuse different types of sounds and genres, producing a compelling blend of music that travels from the country’s bustling streets to the global stages. The streaming giant Spotify’s entrance into Kenya in 2021 amplified this vibrancy with more and more artists finding new fans across the globe and in addition, spotlighted artists through its various programs aimed at uplifting and supporting their careers. 

One such program, Equal Africa, is focused on African female artists rotated via a monthly ambassadorship, aimed at fostering diversity, equality, and inclusion within the music industry. It offers on- and off-platform support to artists.

For February, Spotify’s Equal Africa ambassador is Fena Gitu, a highly acclaimed Kenyan recording and performing artist who has been in the music industry for over 13 years, boasting an extensive music catalog consisting of 60+ released songs. 

Fena Gitu gave a question-and-answer session to talk about her music;

What is that one surprising thing your fans might not know about you? 

In multiple lifetimes, I would love to be a gospel choir director, an EDM DJ / Producer, a race car driver, an international diplomat, a fashion director, a comedy/drama writer, a film producer, and many other hidden curiosities. And still, I’m an introvert. 

When did you realise that making music was your destiny and what is your WHY for pursuing this craft?

When I was born, doc said I sang instead of crying. My mother and sister are impeccable musicians, greatly influencing and supporting my love for music from the jump. I started writing, producing, recording, and performing music in primary school and got serious about it in high school where I would write winning pieces for competitions and such. The palpable energy of hosting disruptive “concerts” in the dorm after lights-out in boarding school reaffirmed my passion and desire to be a global star. I carried on through university and eventually broke into the Kenyan music scene. 13 years on and still hungry, I am a true testament to resilience and seeing my dreams through against all odds. My sights are set on the global stage to represent home. Itajipa. 

Which African songs or artists did you grow up listening to?

I grew up listening to a lot of Kenyan pop and gospel music. Artists such as the late E-Sir, Kleptomaniax, Nazizi, Ogopa Deejays, Gospel Fathers, and many more, were my first impression of what being a Kenyan superstar looked and sounded like. I was also listening to international artists such as Missy Elliot, India Arie, Destiny’s Child, a lot of Jamaican dancehall (Beenie Man, T.O.K., South African Kwaito (Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Brenda Fassie,…) and many more. All these cool urban sounds influenced my writing skills and perspective from a young age. I listen to a lot of Kenyan and African pop/fusion, keeping up with the best of the best on the continent.

To someone who has never heard your music, how would you describe the sound, tone, and style? 

I describe my style in music and fashion as Fenamenal; soulful Afro-urban fusion. The tone is aspirational, seasoned, nostalgic, refreshing, witty, and calm. Keen on lyrical wordplay and melodies, wrapped in an irresistible Eastlando bounce. 

Any advice for someone dreading following their dreams? 

Do it afraid. Just, keep doing it. 

Check out Fena Gitu’s Acoustic version of Let Me Go on the EQUAL Africa playlist.

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