Musician Flexx Back to Kenya After 5 Years in Sweden
After almost five years in the musical backwaters, Sweden-based Genge artiste Michael Mwangi aka Flexx, famed for the songs Namba Yako, Kama Wanitaka, Nyundo and Amejibeba is finally back. He shared his experiences with CAROLINE NYANGA.
Pulse: Why the name Flexx?
Flexx: Well it was a name given to me by producer Clemo due to my ability to venture in to all styles of music. From Reggae, Ragga, Benga and Genge, among others.
Sweden-based Genge artiste Michael Mwangi aka Flexx
P: Tell us why you had to leave for Sweden, especially when your music was doing well locally?
F: I felt it was time to be closer to my fiancÈe Salma who studies in Sweden. Like they say behind every successful man there is a woman. I still recall the day we met in 2003. It was during my first show at Carnivore alongside Jua Cali, Nonini, Mahatma, Nameless, Rat-a-tat and K-Shaka.
There was instant chemistry between us as we chatted and remained behind that night after the show. In 2006, I proposed to her in Nairobi at California Estate in front of Jua Cali and his girlfriend Liz among others. We are blessed with a baby boy.
P: You have been on the low musically, did you think of quitting?
F: I have not quit music. For me, music is a long journey that requires time to come up with the right product that will appeal the fans.
P: We hear you have a new project?
F: I’m in the process of completing my new album that I intend to launch in September in Nairobi.
The album is recorded with Maich Black of Herbal Records and my producer in Sweden. Clemo only produced the song Trophy Gal.
P: How do you relate to Clemo?
F: Clemo and I are still good friends. The only problem is that Clemo is ever busy despite my short notice visits hence forcing me to look for another producer. Maich Black offered me a good deal that I’m contemplating taking.
P: Your style of music seems to now sound mature, have you dropped sexual overtones?
F: Music being an art it is important for us to set a good example to those who look up to us by relaying positive messages that will help educate, and inform the society besides entertaining them.
P: How is your music doing abroad?
F: It is a misguided notion that Kenyan musicians abroad perform in small shady clubs in front of a handful of people. So far my music has been well received. The fact that I have managed to stage several shows in Sweden’s Vastaras, Germany’s Stuttgart and Finland’s Turku in front of a large number of people mainly whites in attendance is a clear indication that music has no barrier. Besides it is no secret that the African beat has quickly gained popularity the world over.
P: Has it been easy juggling your studies and music at the same time?
F: Well, although it has not been easy but the fact that I have my own studio Hut Records where I record some of my songs using my producer Robert (the Tanzanian) has made it a bit easier for me. Robert has also recorded Nazizi and TID.
I’m studying music production at SAE International School Sweden.
P: Was it easy adjusting to life abroad?
F: Initially it proved a bit tough but I have since adjusted. I had to study the Swedish Language for a one year and be able to speak it well before I could be allowed to settle there.
P: Tell us about your childhood?
F: I was brought up in Gatundu before moving to Jericho, Nairobi. I attended Kaibere in Gatundu and Dr Livingstone Primary Schools before deciding to run away from home after my parents secured me a chance to join SSD Secondary School.
It was not long before I recorded a Reggae/Ragga album at Hills Media studio South B with my cousin Saji under the name Yardman Crew. I joined Calif in 2000. Clemo was pleased with my work agreed to record my first song , Kama wanitaka for the sum of Sh1,000, which he later gave me back. Later I recorded a 12-track album, Mwana wa Mtaa that was not released.
P: Best Kenyan musician alive?
F: Juliani he is one person who understands what serious and good music entails besides stage performances. On the other hand, my role models are R Kelly and the late Nate Dogg. Locally it would be Hardstone.
SOURCE: EAST AFRICAN STANDARD