After the extraordinary success of his groundbreaking virtual concert which coincided with his birthday on April 8, popular Kenyan artist and BD 2019 Top 40 under 40 honouree Nyashinski released his highly anticipated debut solo album “Lucky You” last Friday.
The pre-release performance complete with the 4 Count Band, featured a total of 19 songs, including 6 from the new album.
“It took a lot of preparation including getting the band and support teams to live in a rental residence in Nairobi for the period of practice and concert,” says Nyashinski. “We went an extra mile and brought in healthcare professionals to conduct health checks on the team before rehearsals.”
In the last 4 years, since returning from a decade long sojourn in the U.S, he has released a string of hit singles “Now You Know”, “Mungu Pekee”, “Malaika”, “Aminia” and “Lift Me Up”, but there hasn’t been a complete solo album. “The making of an album requires a lot of inspiration, dedication, commitment and takes time to perfect and that is why I did not want to rush the making of this album,” he explains
The album is a representation of Nyashinski’s strengths as an artiste, showcasing his lyrical prowess with stinging jabs on naysayers on the title track, and the streetwise tracks “Wach Wach” and “Too Much”. This clever wordplay been a trademark of his skill since his days as a member of the group Kleptomaniax in the 2000s. There are also the rhythmic songs that showcase the vocal quality of the artiste such as the romantic “Flowers” and the percussive beatboxing on “Greener”.
Nyashinski says the title of the album is a representation of how he views himself as an artist who is dedicated to his craft and not necessarily the hype and fame of the business. “Fans looking into my life sometimes are filled with envy and think about how lucky I am to be famous but I sometimes look back at them and think about how lucky they are to be living a ‘normal life’ without all the scrutiny that comes with the life of an artist.”
The buildup to the release of the album featured a social media campaign with the images of a set of 12 playing cards which is according to him is a representation of the different elements that contribute to the body of work. Each card represents a song on the album for example the No. 2 card with a flower burning represents the second song on the album “Sweet Aroma” whose chorus says “fire burning on a flower”
“Each of the cards on the album cover contains the letter ‘N’ as in my name, but the other images represent the different elements that form the artworks of the songs,” says Nyashinski. Every track has a different sound but he has tried to maintain some harmony across the production, for example, some of the songs are partly acapella like “Greener” and there are other tunes with beats but with a lot of harmonies. “The focus is on lyricism just changing the sounds from one song to the next, to a style that best fits the message in the words.”
The opening single “Glory” is a hard-hitting hip-hop track about living life on one’s own terms but he is leaving room for the fans to try and uncover the hidden meaning in some of the lyrics. “As we continue with the album roll out I will be unpacking the meaning of each song so you better stay tuned,” he says cryptically.
The making of the album was an ‘intense process that involved some of the best minds in the music business. Besides the two tracks self-produced by Nyashinski, he also enlisted the talents of Desmond “$ire” Bosire, Sam “Are” Ali, K Da Great and Cedric “Cedo” Kadenyi to oversee production.
The use of digital platforms is the way of the future, according to Nyashinski. “I am able to interact with the fans a lot more virtually. However, I am still looking forward to returning to the stage for performances all over the world as soon as the current situation stabilizes.”
What impact does he think this album will have on people around the world, coming as it does during these very uncertain times? “My hope is that people get to experience the album wholly as it is dedicated to them. I would want people to sing along as we collectively think about the realities of the social issues that we face,” he says.