The Real Secrets Behind Sauti Sol’s Successful Career Revealed

Let me be blunt, the Kenyan music scene is a very stale and boring affair. With the exception of guys like Sauti Sol, Octopizzo and Khaligraph Jones, the rest are just shooting blanks if you ask me. You can crucify me, spear me and even brand me a fraud but you can’t change the truth which is Kenyan music is just boring.

Artists keep complaining that Kenyans do not support their music but I’m sorry to break it to you, no one is really going to spend their money on an album with songs like “Mbilikimo Mkora” or “Show me”.

Radio stations know this and if it weren’t for the government forcing them to shove these horrible songs down our ears, all we would be listening to is Nigerian music and Diamond Platnumz.

And if you check on any Kenyan’s mp3 player, even the shamba boy in Meru County, guaranteed all you find is Konshens, Kanye West, Beyonce, David Guetta, Diamond and Chameleon on constant replay.

The same applies to many guys out there, in fact the only recently released Kenyan track worthy of being on my mp3 at the moment is ‘Nerea’ by Sauti Sol.

But it’s not just Nerea, it’s Nishike (na Niache if there was a remix), Sura Yako, Still the One, basically anything these guys touch is just gold.

But have you ever wondered why? Why every song they do is on constant rotation on all radio stations? Why every one of their music videos has over 500k views on YouTube?

When these guys first came into the industry with their smash hit song “Lazizi”, we all knew they had something and if they could hone it they’d be very successful.

However if they had remained the same Sauti Sol as back then, singing songs like Lazizi to today’s audience they would probably have faded away into nothingness and we wouldn’t have noticed or cared. They wouldn’t have been the first Kenyans to win an MTV Award.

They Changed Their Style

They knew they had to change in order to keep up with the Kenyan audience’s tastes. Afro-fusion has a great sound but it’s only problem is that it has a very small niche market.

They had to not only find a new sound that fit international standards (because we Kenyans consume a lot from outside), but one that still sounded as Kenyan as Sauti Sol is. What they did was fused a pop sound with their own Afro-fusion sound and what came out the other end was just money.

And so after Lazizi came Money Love, Still the One, Nishike, Sura Yako, and Nerea. Songs that stand out in their music career all which we all love to listen to.


They Changed Their Look

Sauti Sol from Lazizi and Awinja looked like they had just come from a mjengo and decided to make a music video out of the blue. That kind of look just doesn’t cut it in showbiz. You may not want to hear this but the Kenyan audience is a superficial bunch; they’d listen to your horrible songs just because you look like Idris Elba’s cousin and not because you are talented.

Their new look clearly played a huge part in their success story.

From this:


to this:


Their Work Ethic

In a developed music industry like in the US, you have to constantly put out content in order to stay relevant. But in Kenya things are different.

Yes, you have to put out content, but you have to take your time with your craft before releasing it. People like Jaguar and Sauti Sol have realized this and that is why it can take them up to six months to release a song.

But every time they do release a song, it will keep playing for those six months that we won’t even notice that they’ve been away. Good music takes time to make and Sauti Sol have mastered the art of making good music.



As an artist you put your content so that you can make money, otherwise your career is not sustainable. But that’s not all there is to the music business, great artists like Kanye and Jay Z also sell themselves as a brand. And any good brand needs a good PR team.

Though we may not realize it Sauti Sol are doing the same. They are always on the limelight, and even when they are not making music they are doing something and letting their fans know through social media.

Case in point Sura Yako, even before releasing the official music video they had the Sarakasi dancers make a dance video for it. A few days later it was like Pharrell Williams song Happy, everyone was making their own version.


They Don’t Release Albums

In Kenya, no in Africa, Album sales do not account for anything because even you loyal fans won’t buy them.

Sauti Sol’s first album was good but I doubt it made them much money. But they learned that if you want to be successful, just release single after single and earn money from that.

It’s a sad reality that because of piracy the Kenyan Music Industry has not matured enough for things like album sales.

You might be reading this and thinking this guy is a total ass-kiss or maybe I was paid to do this. But if you are reading this and you have a dream of making it in music then you understand where I am coming from.

Heed my advice and you never know you might be the next Sauti Sol. Look at how far Amos and Josh have made it under the tutelage of Sauti Sol.

You too can get your own mentors like Sauti Sol if you register for the Star Africa Sounds 2015 Music Contest.

The Star Africa Sounds is the largest pan-African music contest bringing contestant from all over Africa for a chance to compete for an opportunity to make great music under some of the most successful record labels in Africa and make a lot of money when it is distributed all over Africa.


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