Interview with Penya artist Dela: Part 2
::KenyaChristian blog:: Did you look at other Kenyan labels, before landing at Penya, and why did you choose them?
Dela: Yeah, I have worked with a number of other smaller labels. Penya presented a bigger opportunity, so I went for it.
::KC:: Your music sounds very soulful, how would you classify it?
Dela: It is soulful, music for the soul, and it's also African so I call it "Afro-soul". I fuse it(Afro-soul) with a number of different genres like reggae, blues and jazz.
::KC:: Who would you say are your musical influences?
Dela: India Arie! I love India Arie and some of my other influences are Asa, Ayo and Miriam Makeba
::KC:: Did you grow up with music around the household, or is it something that you discovered later?
Dela: I grew up with music and we sing a lot at home; we do everything singing. I sang in the school choir, church choir...so yes, I did grow up with music.
::KC:: When I was listening to you perform first of all, let me say I was impressed within minutes of hearing you. But also one of the first names that jumped into my mind was Mercy Myra. Would you consider that a fair comparison?
Dela: I must say I'm flattered! I respect Mercy Myra she's a good musician, though I'd like to think that I'm different. I'm me, I'm Dela
::KC:: Vocally, I think you are just as strong as her. She has been on the music scene since around 1997 and has paved the way for many Kenyan soul artists. Do think you can fill her shoes?
Dela: Though I haven't heard any of her music of late, I admire that she was able to pioneer soul music in Kenya. I'm bringing "neo afro-soul," and I feel I can fill her shoes. She's got great taste anyway!
::KC:: Have you met her(Mercy Myra)?
Dela: I've never met her, but I hope I will one day.
::KC:: Sauti Sol will be travelling on their first trip of Europe, will you be joining them? (Blog note: As of this post, Sauti Sol are still on tour)
Dela: Yap, I am and I'm really excited! Actually, we'll be touring lots of places in Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.
::KC:: Sauti Sol seem to have come very far and gained a sizable following in such a short time. How would you explain their almost over-night popularity?
Dela: They've carved a niche for themselves. Times are changing and people's tastes in music are changing as well. Kenyans are tired of listening to unwholesome music, you can only eat so much junk it's unhealthy! We at Penya want to do music that deals with everyday situations rather than ignoring the real issues. Everyone, despite age, creed or nationality can relate to our music. That, I believe is the reason for the huge response.
::KC:: Technologies such as the internet and applications like Twitter, Facebook and Myspace have really changed how artists connect with their fans. Would you consider technology more of a good thing or bad thing?
Dela: It's a good thing. It's so much easier to advertise shows and get your music, both video and audio to the masses. Technology is great and it's here to stay, so we've definitely got to maximize on it.
::KC:: You seem to have already recorded many songs. Were they all done at Penya, or had you already recorded some prior to joining the label?
Dela: Around 99% of my album has been recorded at Penya. Though I have worked with other production houses too.
::KC:: I heard you perform at least one political song at the concert. What topics do you prefer writing about, and do you write all your own material?
Dela: I do write my own material, though from time to time someone else will write for me. I write about everyday situations; politics, life, love, lessons learnt...anything that I think will make a positive impact.
::KC:: Speaking of politics, would you say Kenya needs a revolution? Do you think one is inevitable if things keep going like this?
Dela: Definitely!we need a revolution! Lakini it will not happen overnight. Kenyans have to come together as one,put aside our differences,abandon prejudice and stop waiting for a miracle. It's up to us to make it all better for ourselves.
::KC:: Are you working on your album, and how is the recording process coming along so far?
Dela: Actually, I'm done recording and it's gone to press! Recording the album has been great, I really enjoyed every moment of it.
::KC:: Do you plan on touring other parts of the country apart from Nairobi?
Dela: Yes, I do,actually. Plans are underway and we intend to start early next year.
::KC:: I definitely think you are a Kenyan artist to watch. Are there any more gigs lined up in the near future, where people who may not have heard of you may come to check you out?
Dela: Definitely, all I would say for now is just watch this space.
::KC:: What kind of music can we expect from your album in terms of the sound and the content/lyrics?
Dela: It's what i term the new East African sound. Afro-soul plus reggae plus hip-hop with thought provoking and heart-warming lyrics for the soul.
::KC:: Where can fans keep in touch with you?
::KC:: Just A Band performed at the Sauti Sol after party, have they joined Penya too?
Dela: I think you know the answer to that....yes they have:)
::KC:: All the best in your future Dela, it looks bright from where I’m standing.
Dela: Thank you! Thank you so much for this:)