“What sells is what is actively and deliberately sold.”

Hello my lovely people 🙂 its another week and as you know we are featuring another artist. Our  artist this week is Ciano Maimba. He is a singer, songwriter and guitarist whose music is aimed at uniting mankind by reminding us of our sameness. When I first heard Ciano sing I was electrified not only by his amazing vocal range but also by the ambiance set by his soulful music. I was extremely excited when I was given the opportunity to converse with him. He is simply amazing 😛

Courtesy of Derek Munene

  • How and when did your musical journey begin?

Well, I found out I could sing in nursery school but I didn’t really take it seriously until I was in Upperhill high school, when I joined an acapella group known as Voice In The Light  which I was a part of for all of my high school life. Those guys shaped my voice and my ideas of harmony deeply. I am eternally grateful. However, going to Sauti Academy immediately after high school is what truly speared my career in music and properly kick-started my journey.

  • How did your parents take it?

Haha! None of us knew how serious I’d be with my music when I started. I remember when I was in form 3 though, I was suddenly sure I wanted to be a full-time musician but I didn’t know what that would entail; so whenever I was asked about my career choices, I never mentioned music. But I kept doing shows with my acapella quartet and picked up the guitar in form four when I first started writing my own songs. I Then enrolled into Sauti Academy after high school , where I learnt a bit about how the music industry generally works and began to do my research on becoming a better musician and finding ways to get my message out there and make a living out of it. Now that’s  when I became  serious. I started doing solo shows and whatnot and my parents were quite supportive from the beginning. They bought me my first semi-acoustic guitar and paid the fees for Sauti Academy, even when they thought this would just be a phase I’d get over. They were initially worried about my wanting to just do music full time but slowly warmed up ( and are warming up) to the idea because they see how hard I work at it.

  • What are your thoughts on Jamhuri Festival and What has your experience been so far?

I think Jamhuri Festival is a brilliant initiative because it has brought to the surface many golden voices of my generation that would have not been heard as quickly or listened to as attentively without such an opportunity. It has eased the plight of independent musicians in and around Nairobi and has proven to those that have watched the videos or attended the shows, that this crop of musicians in Kenya are capable of creating genuinely written and composed and high quality music. As you can tell, my experience with them has been eye-opening as much as it has been exhilarating.

  • What are your thoughts on the music industry in Kenya? How do you plan to make an impact in the industry?

I honestly think the music industry in Kenya is rich with content and diversity. However, I feel as though there needs to be some more order in how things are run. From concerts to record deals and so on and so forth. That being said, things are progressively changing, so we will get there soon. I plan to make an impact by being consistently professional in everything that I do. From songwriting to performance while maintaining genuineness in my composition and lyricism, I also plan to make an impact by propagating fingerstyle guitar and live acoustic music in general to destroy two stereotypes:

1. That music is incomplete without a full-band 

2. That the steel-string acoustic guitar should always be in the background of any piece of music.

Moreover, I plan to impact the industry by being a living example that independent musicians can earn a living in Kenya without compromising on their initial plans regarding image, musicality and general quality of content. I want to prove that you can be successful as an artist just by being yourself.

Courtesy of Derek Munene

  • What challenges do you face?

The aforementioned stereotypes are the major challenges not just to me but to all acoustic musicians. Also the recurring lack of professionalism in the industry  (anything from shows that start late to a majority of sound engineers that are incompetent in as much as there are some who are really good at what they do).

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself having released two bodies of work; an E.P & a full-length album and running a regular festival.

  • Which artists have you worked with so far and what was the experience like?

Haha! I’ve worked with a number of phenomenal artists,  I have worked with the Coke Studio crew doing BGVs for Omawumi, I have also worked with Muthoni The Drummer Queen (MDQ) on BGVs and currently I’m working with Kato Change on a project and there are plans to also work with Eddie Grey and co write a song with Tetu Shani.  I guess you’ll see how the experience was when the projects come into fruition. But let’s just say it’s all going to be magical!

  • When do we expect an EP?

An E.P should be out by early next year,latest.

  • Which producers are you working with on the EP?

I’m working with M-cubed for the E.P. And it’ll be a collaborative project.

  • Any advice for all the upcoming musicians out there?

“Before anything else, work on your craft and your purpose for it.”

Courtesy of Derek Munene

Ciano will be performing live at Nyamamama, Delta Towers at 7:30 pm. Watching him perform will be an experience like no other, that I assure you.

Enjoy his Cover of Leta Wimbo

You can get his music on:

Soundcloud – Ciano Maimba 

Youtube – Ciano Maimba