What you need to know:
- I have a degree in Information Technology and graduated in the Second Class Upper Division.
- I never pursued that path because I don't like activities that limit my freedom of expression. I have always felt that being employed in an office would limit me.
- I had that experience when I went for internship. I chose to pursue art, which is what I am good at, and I like the fact that my work can speak for itself.
Tuku is a notable figure of Vijana Barubaru, a popular music group based in Nairobi. Widely celebrated for his music talent, Tuku has now ventured into acting, and is currently making waves as Taji in a new telenovela, Kasiri.
This remarkable shift in his artistic career is not only a testament to his versatility but also a sign of the enduring bond he shares with his music partner, Mwana wa Wambui. Their relationship, which begun in an audition room in Kikuyu, has blossomed into a powerful creative force, and their collaboration as Vijana Barubaru has captivated audiences since 2016
1. Tell us about your character in Kasiri. How did the opportunity to transition to acting present itself?
I play Taji in Kasiri. Taji is the first son of the man of the house, who passed on. He is the first son to the man’s second wife. I am here to explore my talent and see if I can make some money. The opportunity came after I attended a TV interview where Lulu Hassan was the host. We had a lot of airtime and we performed several songs during the show. Afterwards, Lulu asked if we could act and I said yes, although what I really wanted was to write songs for film.
The same day someone called asking for an auditioning video and I sent them a video, and I was called the next day. This is the first time I am acting. Acting has been with me, but I never saw myself doing it because I’ve been so busy singing. I am currently undergoing training and I have a very supportive team I am working with.
2. In terms of schedules, would you say acting is more intense than singing?
The intensity of your schedules as an actor depends on what type of film you are on, and how long the shoot will be. Is it a TV film, documentary or feature? You have to make various commitments and plan well. Art is unpredictable and you have to understand the balance. Thankfully, I have an understanding team, especially our manager who handles our bookings. He always communicates on time in case there is a change of events, so that we can plan accordingly. I still go for practise sessions and attend our music shows.
3. What did you study in school, and why did you deviate from the academic path?
I have a degree in Information Technology and graduated in the Second Class Upper Division. I never pursued that path because I don't like activities that limit my freedom of expression. I have always felt that being employed in an office would limit me. I had that experience when I went for internship. I chose to pursue art, which is what I am good at, and I like the fact that my work can speak for itself.
I started singing when I was a child. Everyone in my family loved singing – from my mother, dad, and grandmother. Music was part of us when growing up. My mum used to write lyrics for us. In primary school, I joined the choir, and did the same while in campus. I met my music partner, Mwana wa Wambui, while in campus and we started writing songs together.
4. What do you miss doing since you started acting?
My schedules are quite tight, so I don't always have enough time to sleep. I have also stopped cooking in my house as we mostly eat on set. I am not complaining, though. I am not looking at how good the food is, but rather, how much I am saving.
5. What personal aspects do you guard most closely from the public eye, and how do you manage the pressures of social media as a highly active online user?
I try to keep my dating life very private. My girlfriend is in the limelight, but I am protecting her. She and I are different in terms of what we post out there. Personally, I do not want my social media life to follow me when I am home. I want to be with my friends without being disturbed, distracted or judged. I don't want to lose that formal life. I feel the social media pressure and I would definitely like to have a bigger following, for business purposes, but I do not want to do that by having too much drama. I understand that everything people post on social media is the good side of their life. Nobody posts their low moments.