Michael Bundi: How Tik Tok saved me from house eviction, poverty

Michael Bundi

Content producer Michael Bundi and his son Fayez.

Photo credit: Pool

If you told Michael Bundi at the beginning of the year that he would be smiling all the way to the bank, he would’ve gawked at you. 

Things were bad. Very bad. His good music which includes a collaboration with Jamaican dance-hall queen Etana that earned them a Grammy nominee wasn’t paying.

In March this year, the 26-year-old music producer's young family was almost evicted from their house over rent arrears. 

Then the stars aligned when Bundi and his five-year-old son Fayez started recording their music sets and uploading them on their various social media accounts with Gen Z’s popular App TikTok being their favourite platform.

Eleven months later, their lives have changed for the better. There is now a steady cash flow. 

When TikTok released their Kenyan report of top content creators of the year this week, Bundi and his son Fayez topped the list of ‘top breakout stars’.

Bundi topped, besides being on the list of ‘Most viewed artist on TikTok’, beating Bongo Flava singers Zuchu, Diamond Platnumz, Ugandan Bruno K, Willy Paul, Nandy, Mbosso Khan, Wahu Kagwi, Guardian Angel and Timmy TDay who made up the top 10 list.

“Wow! This is unbelievable. It’s quite an achievement considering how we began our year. It started at a slow pace for us, things were really tight to the point that in March, we were almost kicked out of our house over rent arrears.” Bundi told Nation.Africa on phone.

Any moment from now, Bundi’s TikTok account will be clocking 2 million followers, a growth he doesn’t take for granted.

The bubbly soft-spoken man revealed how he has mastered how to cash from his TikTok legion.

“I have just signed g a huge endorsement deal with a big brand. It’s Fayez’s first endorsement deal, I am not sure if I am allowed to mention the brand as yet but it's huge.”

Before this deal, Bundi who describes himself as a man of God says he has previously received several different offers which he turned down.

“We are very careful when it comes to choosing brands we want to work with. We want to work with a brand that will help secure the future of Fayez. Brands that don't only look at their interest but that of the child as well. Brands that teach kids to be responsible like savings and creating wealth. Not brands that will call me at night to go perform with my son,” he said.

Of the several brands he has turned down, he mentioned one that came with a Sh300,000 offer. 

“It was a difficult decision to say no but it was the best card. During the nature of our engagements, I realised the brand kept shifting goalposts just because they were offering a colossal amount and I opted out.” 

Interestingly, Bundi says since bursting into the limelight, they have never performed at a concert gig with his son other than their recorded performances at his home studio.

“There are several reasons for that. One, kids were in school but two, even when he was available there weren’t really good gigs that were offering to pay us what we feel is commiserate to what we bring on the table.”

 Another impact that he notes has been brought by their rising fame on TikTok, is the growth of his YouTube subscribers.

  “For those who want to see our full set will always rush from TikTok to YouTube and that has seen the account grow. Now we are making some money from the YouTube channel.”

 Bundi has also been collecting a colossal amount of money through tips via his TikTok account where he has his numbers displayed as his PayPal account.

Another hook has been doing TikTok live shows which has a tipping feature where anyone can be tipped in any currency.

“TikTok Live has been huge for us, I bought my first iPhone 13 Pro from the live tips.”

iPhone 13 Pro retails at an average price of Sh130,000 in Kenya.

He is now looking forward to their first performance gig which could be in Zambia next year.