ONE ON ONE: Kristoff – Daily Nation

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By JOSEPHINE MOSONGO
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You call yourself Mluhya wa Busia, were you born or raised there?

I’m the only one in my family who was born in Nairobi, I think I was just lucky to grow up here. My family is also from Busia so… 

Do you go to Busia often?

Mostly December, so just once a year. 

Christopher Barton Namwaya.

You feature in a lot of collaborations that are mostly club hits like Dandia, Eish, Gudi Gudi and Dirunk, is this a calculated move on your part or is just coincidence?

Definitely a calculated move because it means I get more airplay and shows which translate to more income, royalties and exposure. 

Then you’ve been lucky considering you have worked with big names.

Do you think some of those hit collaborations overshadow your solo efforts?

For me there’s nothing like solo efforts, it’s always about good music. 

Well, you’ve done Diambo and a few other solo projects that didn’t have the same impact.

Yes, but a song like Diambo is not a mainstream song, that’s for the street. I still have another song, another “Gudi gudi” like song coming soon. 

What’s the difference between what you call street songs and club bangers?

In the commercial songs, the lyrics are catchy, funny and something that almost everybody can relate to. A song like Diambo is hip hop, it’s street, it’s for guys to nod their heads when they are in their cars. 

Do you, or will you ever do songs that really let people into your life as Christopher?

I hope you’re not talking about gospel songs (laughs) because I will just be lying to everyone and then tomorrow you’ll meet me at Choices drinking. 

Do you think doing a gospel song will take anything away from your spirituality?

I think if you want to do gospel music just get saved and do it. 

I meant doing songs that touch on your personal story

No one really knows my story because my life is private, that’s why people just try to come up with stories they think suit the way I live. Apart from people close to me, no one knows anything about my lifestyle. I don’t want people to know about my personal life. 

Doesn’t it come with the territory, being in the limelight and all?

Yes, people can listen to my music, watch my videos and see me during my shows but it’s hard to get into my personal life. I don’t even post anything personal on my social media pages. 

You’ve had gigs every weekend this month…

That’s the good thing about doing hit songs. When the club owners and show promoters feel like spending, your name is always top of mind. I’ll be doing my fourth show this month on Saturday (yesterday) and it will be in Malindi. 

When do you get time to just sit back and relax?

I just clear my calendar and don’t do any shows unless I get a very good deal. I need time with my family, I have people who love me and they need me so I must create time for them. 

Who would you say are your closest friends in the music industry?

I’m friendly with everyone, but I’m closer to Gabu, Big Pin, Nyashinski, Frasha, Collo, Naiboi, Everlast and Khaligraph. 

Your recent collaboration with Femi One seems like an odd pairing…

I wrote the entire song by the way, and created the beat. She’s a good rapper but I told her I wasn’t going to do a ‘deep’ song with her because I already had Diambo which I wanted to push. So we decided on a commercial, feel good track and I think I made the right decision because Diambo is picking up on the streets and Tippy Toe is doing well commercially. 

You seem to have a strategy for everything…

Yes, to be able to trend I have to. You must have a strategy so that people can talk about you. You can’t just wake up in the morning and release stuff without a plan. 

You’re not new to controversy; the alleged relationship with singer Yvonne Darcq, rumours that you were broke and homeless… Do you wake up dreading what the gossip rags will say about you next?

Controversy is my best friend, I don’t even flinch when I get a call and someone asks, ‘I heard you were hit by a bottle?’ Even if I answer, I know they already have a story written so they’re just calling for a quote. Controversy is good, at the end of the day any publicity is good publicity. 

Won’t it hurt your brand?

It depends on what people are saying, there are those stories that are true and of course there are those that are glaringly fake. If a story comes up and there are pictures to prove it, then that could definitely hurt me. But when guys are just yapping that Kristoff did this or that, I don’t care. 

But you got into a brawl with a blogger who alleged that you were having an affair with Yvonne Darcq.

That blogger made the issue between me and him look like it was because of Yvonne Darcq and was not telling the whole story.

People want a juicy story, you can’t write that Kristoff was spotted at Java taking a milkshake, that’s not going to trend, but if you say Kristoff left without paying the bill, then that’s a story. I always wait for these stories to die out. If people forgot about DJ Creme’s sextape, then nothing is too big a problem. Remember, any publicity is good publicity. I don’t think there is anything worse than his (Creme) sextape but he’s still with his family so whoever leaked that tape went on a stupid mission because he helped him gain followers. 

What was your life like before the music and the fame?

I was just a normal guy, hussling and minding my own business. But now when you’re known someone will step on your shoes just to see what your reaction is, and the cameras are waiting to take scandalous photos. 

When did you professionally get into the music industry?

Considering you were a deejay at Homeboyz with some experience in the music industry, was it hard to break through as a rapper?

Nothing is easy in this life, even if it’s something you love. If it’s too easy then you will lose it the same way. But deejaying became too much work for me. Nowadays deejays don’t have to carry CD bags, all they need is a laptop and internet. But I lost interest in it, so I play for fun in my house because I have the machines. 

Did you have anyone to hold your hand when you were still green?

That would be P-Unit and Collo. 

You and Gabu are the celebrity faces of Huduma Card, is this your first endorsement deal?

It is, again I say, this is the reason for doing a hit song, or being in one. Just become popular, let people know who you are, it’s as simple as that. People work too hard instead of working smart. I love music, I could go for a week without watching television, just listening to music. 

What if you fell out of love with music one day?

Then I’ll have to make way for other artistes, you can’t be there forever. 

Don’t those artistes need to make their own way?

There are big artistes who no one will ever take their spot, like Jay Z, in my opinion no one could ever replace him. He’s old but he is still working. There are so many rappers in the States but I don’t think anyone could get to his level, so when he decides to take a break and a new name pops up he is going to be called the “new Jay Z”. 

Are you still in a relationship?

Yes I am, do I look single, and can I even be single? The most I’ve ever been single is two hours.

rn rn

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