Wednesday, 8 April 2015


I don’t consider myself to be (very) religious but I try depending on your standards. So, I know one or two things about the glory of God. While keeping up to date with current affairs (idling) on Facebook a couple of days ago, I stumbled upon the tiff between Bahati and Willy Paul. I guess you have too. The two are supposedly the biggest gospel artists in Kenya (debatable). Their case brings to fore the complete ignorance of copyright laws among Kenyan music fraternity but that’s a topic for another day.

Personally, I don’t consider the duo to be gospel artists because I don’t find anything inspiring to bring any lost sheep closer to God.  Things went from bad to worse when they started comparing God to women and other nonsensical comparatives all befitting the definition of  blasphemy. In fact, if you replace God with your guy or girl in their lyrics you get yourself a perfect love song. Ha!

You can’t compare their songs with the likes of Sarah K or Christina Shusho locally (I don’t know about Rose Muhando, I think she makes a lot of noise in her music) or Don Moen on international standards. Whereas I am a passive fan of gospel music, in general, I must say that the standards of ‘true’ gospel music in Kenya has been watered down with gospel artists trying to appeal to both secular fans and gospel fans. What we have now is gospel artists masking elements of secular music in their gospel songs. They can’t have it both ways; you are either a gospel artist or a secular artist whichever the case is fine but there is no in between like Kalonzo.

On another perspective, I think gospel artists are under immense pressure to be in their best behaviours especially in the eyes of the public. They would like to indulge in the earthly pleasures of the secular world but they fear they will be judged harshly. They feel caged and suffocated by societal expectations placed upon them. They therefore decide to pretend and we all know there is nothing worse than being a pretender.

That aside, in my view I think Willy Paul really wants to be a secular music artist and the ‘gospel’ artist tag is somewhat (really) holding him back. We haven’t seen the best of him yet. He wants to sing ‘bongo’ just like Diamond Platinumz Msafi and be successful just as much.  On the whole, I think Willy Paul is better than Bahati (don’t bite my nose) even if he steals other people’s songs and being way over his head. His delivery is slightly better as compared to mama singer.  I dare say he should cross over to the secular music and fully unleash his full potential as gospel music is not for him.