How Waithaka wa Jane is dethroning 'king of Mugithi' Samidoh

Samidoh and Wa Jane

Kikuyu musicians Wa Jane (left) and Samidoh.

Photo credit: File | Courtesy

Until recently, the Mt Kenya one-man Mugithi beat has been dominated by Samuel Muchoki, alias Samidoh, who came into the music scene in 2016.

Samidoh, 33, ruled the airwaves since then and has become known as the ‘king of the Mugithi jangle’ owing to his tantalising beat.

He became an inspiration to many other artistes who adopted his unique beat and by end of 2019, the region was home to dozens of youngsters working hard to emulate him.

Airwave coup

One of such talents was Waithaka wa Jane, real name John Waithaka Mwangi, who has executed an airwave coup against Samidoh in only one year.

Wa Jane, 24, has shocked seasoned names in the industry as he is now a highly sought after one-man guitarist in Nairobi and Central region.

He has become a common feature in music played in public transport, bars and homes, especially after he uploaded his work on YouTube and has not restricted downloading.

Wa Jane has released both secular and gospel hits, with his music accessible in audio and audio-visual formats.

“It is God…I do not consider myself better than anyone else. I am not in competition but I hit the chords and the mic determined to be better by every dawn. The hard work is paying off since I am booked three months in advance,” he said.

And despite his growing popularity, he still acknowledges Samidoh's popularity and the path he created for fellow musicians.

“I might be gaining huge popularity here in Mt Kenya region but Samidoh performs even abroad…I’m happy that I am now treated as the new king here at home…but I am playing catch-up to Samidoh,” wa Jane said.

Politics and music

However, Samidoh's popularity seemed to wane due to political choices and love scandals.

“The entertainment industry reacts negatively to sideshows. Samidoh was doing fine until he started popping out in showbiz for unrelated shows…Fans are there to get entertained on the dancefloor and on media. But Samidoh started trending on matters to do with pregnancies, polygamy and domestic violence,” says Martin Munene, who is a retired chairman of Music Composers and Producers Association.

Mr Munene adds that the August 9 General Election also affected many artistes' work, especially those who supported or were seen to support Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party.

“Entertainment and politics are Siamese twins…plus, religion and the media too. All are about mass communication. It is now a proved fact that Mt Kenya was in United Democratic Alliance (UDA)…The crooners who were captured opposing that popular formation are struggling to win back fans,” he adds.

And politics seemed to have worked in wa Jane's favour -- he associated himself with UDA and his popularity rose rapidly during this time. But he also worked hard, even sacrificing by taking low pay, to win invites in vernacular radio stations during the Covid-19 containment measures that banned live shows in entertainment joints.

“I was approached by several vernacular radio stations…Since I was an upcoming artiste, I was ready to take low pay given that everyone else was affected by the pandemic. I went into the shows to build my name and the tactic has paid off,” he told Nation.Africa.

Mugithi stars

Both wa Jane and Samidoh have almost similar backgrounds, with both growing up in humble backgrounds. They each have six brothers, but Samidoh, who comes from Subukia in Nakuru County, has no sisters while wa Jane, who hails from Mathioya in Murang’a County, has two sisters.

While wa Jane is the last born and a form three dropout, Samidoh is the third born in his family and a police constable.

And even while he is being given a run for his money as king of Mugithi, Samidoh said he recognises wa Jane as a talented man with a good future ahead in the music scene, adding that it was his time to shine.

“I support him…We found great names in the industry, we had our time, we are not permanent and others will keep on rising,” he told Nation.Africa.

“This is a field of fast changing fortunes. This time you are up and this other time you are down. It is all in the game. Wisdom is to cash in on the glorious moment and get fortitude to handle the waning trend. We are all doing fine as per prevailing circumstances.”

From 2016, wa Jane has grown from playing drum sets and the guitar through the mentorship of Mr Pato Wa Gathoni. 

“While performing in the media houses, I quickly realised that musical oldies (Ngogoyo) were well loved and I made a commitment to master as many as possible,” he added.

Samidoh scandals

Besides political affiliations, Samidoh’s fading from the airwaves began when he featured in love scandals within his polygamous family.

While he has been married for over 10 years to Eddah Muchoki and they have three children together, he has also confessed that he got into a relationship with Nairobi politician Karen Nyamu who is now a nominated senator.

Yet, in a media interview on October 11, 2020, he urged fellow artistes to remain true to their relationships and endeavour to solemnise them to avoid promiscuity. Coincidentally, most of his songs are about love affairs.

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