Recently, there has been a series of interest in knowing the richest musicians in Kenya. To shed light on this, we have decided to present you with detailed information on the ranking together with some of their notable achievements in the music industry.
In recent moments, great attention has been centered on the Kenyan music industry as notable musicians continue to flourish in luxury and wealth. Besides their presence on the music scene, some of these Kenyan musicians make money from business dealings and are wise enough to combine music with other profitable activities without leaving any void.
In general, people believe the major sources of wealth for musicians are endorsement deals, international tours, and the constant sales generated from albums/records. However, there is more to these and that’s why we need to discuss how some musicians managed to advance from nothing to something.
Top 10 Richest Musicians In Kenya
1. Sauti Sol
Sauti Sol is a music band established by the trio of Savara Mudigi, Willis Chimano, and Bien-Aime Baraza in 2005. Regarded as one of the prominent Kenyan music groups, Sauti Sol is greatly admired for its music genres which encompass R&B and Afro-pop. Established in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, Sauti Sol has remained an active music band as far back as 2006 –the second year from its establishment. Although the music group was formed by three persons, it currently consists of four members. The latter member (being Polycarp Otieno) is an expert guitarist. Meanwhile, the group began bearing the name “Sauti’’ after Polycarp Otieno became a member.
Over the years, Sauti Sol has made great waves as a spectacular music group and this is evident from the collective achievements of the four band members. In 2008, they launched their first studio album titled Mwanzo, and about three years later (in 2011), the group came up with Sol Filosofia –its second studio album. Impressively, Sol Filosofia was welcomed enthusiastically by the music audience of Kenya. Consequently, the album [Sol Filosofia] brought them great accolades as well as significant nominations.
Without any dubiety, Sauti Sol is one of Kenya’s leading music groups and it has widened its horizon beyond the country. Having staged important concerts through tours across Europe and Africa, Sauti Sol has gathered great international recognition for itself.
Sauti Sol has added a number of prestigious awards to its gallery. Meanwhile, these awards include BET Awards 2015, Kisima Music Awards, MTV Europe Music Award for Best African Act, and Channel O Music Video Awards. Besides, the group has engaged in musical collaborations with important international and local artists among whom are Yemi Alade, Spoek Mathambo, Sasha, General Pype, and Edo Bumba.
With a series of musical breakthroughs, Sauti Sol (as a music band) has carved out a great niche for itself. Moreover, it has earned massive returns from improved sales, tours, shows, and several endorsement deals. Although we don’t have the details of the group’s actual net worth, some media reports have claimed that Sauti Sol is Kenya’s richest music group.
Going by the birth name Kevin Mbuvi, Bahati is one of Kenya’s prominent and talented gospel singers. He rose to the Kenyan music floor in 2012 apparently with the remarkable single Siku Ya Kwanza. Since he became one of the country’s notable musicians, Bahati has remained a vibrant artiste with important performances across the country. Sadly, Bahati had to strive to succeed as a child due to the many unfavourable conditions that surrounded his childhood. Bahati was a very young child at the time he lost his two parents. For this reason, he grew up amidst unfavourable circumstances while in Mathare slums where he was admitted to the ABC orphanage to acquire his academic standards. Later on, he proceeded to Kajiado-based Nakeel School for his secondary education but he eventually completed his secondary education at St. Theresa’s Boys School in the Kenyan area of Eastleigh.
Despite the challenges he encountered as a child, Bahati has eventually fashioned out fortune for himself precisely through his musical talent. In fact, his talent has given him the grace to outdo several gospel artistes on Kenya’s music floor. Meanwhile, Bahati reached the limelight of his music career in 2014 when he received the Groove Awards identifying him as the best male gospel musicians. Today, his success has brought him great wealth, making him one of the richest musicians in Kenya.
Currently, the third richest musician in Kenya, Going by the birth name Esther Akoth, Akothee is a well known Kenyan artist who grew up in the Kenyan city of Kisumu –her birthplace. Akothee, who doubles up her music profession with business dealings, resides in the popular city of Mombasa. She has been on the Kenyan music floor for years and her impressive performances have yielded her accolades such as the Best Female East Africa AFRIMA Award she bagged in 2016.
Akothee completed her secondary education in 2004 at the time she had already given birth to 3 children. At the age of 24, the married woman returned to school to complete her academic course. In her story, Akothee encountered a number of marital challenges, particularly as regards how she lost her first marriage. But with the desire to mend her ways, Akothee delved into business, working as a matatu driver. After a while, the artist relocated to Mombasa and soon established herself as a taxi driver driving passengers from one corner of the city to another.
Today, Akothee is one of Kenya’s richest artistes with an ostentatious lifestyle associated with buying expensive assets. Truly, the female artiste fancies fashionable things as she can be seen shopping around some of the stylish European stores. Moreover, she owns expensive assets including houses located in Nyanza, Nairobi, and Mombasa.
Born into a music-oriented family, Akothee’s musical talent is apparently a strong reflection of her family background. Also, she is widely admired for her sensational songs including Katika, Pashe, and Nimechoka.
Jaguar, who goes by the birth name Charles Njagua Kanyi, is a prominent Kenyan who has made his mark as a philanthropist, politician, entrepreneur, and musician. Although he is best known for his musical roles in Kenya’s entertainment industry, Jaguar has made a great name for himself in several other fields.
Jaguar is associated with a renowned music label –known as Main Switch Studio –and some of the eminent artists he has collaborated with are Elani, Mafikizolo, Iyanya, and Ay. Jaguar, who was born and bred in the suburban region of Nairobi, has three siblings and from his pathetic stories, it is believed that he passed through several hurdles before becoming a great character in Kenya’s music industry.
At a tender age, Jaguar had his mother as the only parent and benefactor. Unfortunately, his mother died while he was 11 years old, leaving him with neither a benefactor nor a guardian. Consequently, young Jaguar had to look around for informal jobs with which he could fend for himself.
At first, Jaguar revealed his talent as a recording artist and this was marked by “Utaweza Kweli’’ –his debut single launched in 2004. Meanwhile, he came up with this single under the aegis of his first record label –Mandugu Digitali.
Today, Jaguar boasts of several singles in his gallery. Besides, he has widened his business horizon with substantial investments in top sectors like aviation, transportation, and real estate.
5. Willy Paul
Willy Paul, who goes by the birth name Wilson Abubakar Radido, is one of the contemporary gospel artistes in Kenya. He is an acclaimed songwriter who hails from the Nairobi area of Kasarani. Considered one of the remarkable characters in Kenya’s contemporary music arena, Willy Paul is the winner of the 2013 Groove Awards for the male artist of the year. His inspirational gospel songs like You Never Know, Kitanzi and Sitolia are the main factors behind his international recognition, particularly in the United States.
Willy Paul rose to popularity apparently through his collaboration with Gloria Muliro in the release of the remarkable song titled Sitolia. Despite being his mentor, Willy Paul had an issue with Gloria Muliro, with the claim that the latter was receiving the largest part of the money made from the song (Sitolia).
Nonini, who goes by the birth name Hubert Mbuku Nakitare, is a renowned Kenyan artist born in the Kenyan capital [Nairobi] in 1982. Nonini, who is in his mid-thirties, is best known for his fascinating music genres which encompass Genge and Kenyan hip hop. Besides being a musician, Nonini widens his ambit as a radio presenter. Considered one of the richest and most popular Kenyan stars, Nonini has done music with several artists including Jegede, Jua Cali, and P-Unit. Currently, he makes great waves under the record label Prohabo Entertainment.
Also, Nonini is considered consequential for being “the Godfather of Genge’’ though some people have criticized him for mingling his music with lyrics considered sexually offensive. Nonini emerged into Kenya’s urbanized music category with the release of “Nonini ni Nani?’’ as his first single. Although this was a hit song, it wasn’t enough to take the artist to the height of national recognition. In 2002, Nonini eventually bagged great recognition at the national level after the release of “Manzi Wa Nairobi. With a string of musical successes, Nonini elevated his stance with Hanyaring Game, his first album. Released towards the end of 2004, Hanyaring Game became an acclaimed album as it featured the remarkable song “Keroro’’.
7. Size 8 (Linet Munyali)
Going by the birth name Linet Masiro Munyali, Size 8 is an acclaimed musician born in the Kenyan capital [Nairobi] in 1987. A resident of Nairobi, Size 8 combines artistic roles as an actress, songwriter, and singer. Her music genres are quite inspirational as they span across urban contemporary, contemporary gospel, Afro-pop, and R&B.
In 2013, Size 8, who previously was a non-religious character, declared herself a born-again and took that advantage to launch her debut gospel single titled “Mateke’’. Considered a remarkable song, Mateke has earned Size 8 some popularity and made her one of the impressive gospel artistes in Kenya. Besides her role as a musician, Size 8 is well known for being a famous character in Masataka –a legit comedy.
Size 8, who is in her early thirties, is married to DJ Mo and is blessed with a single child. Also, she is one of the wealthy Kenyan singers who has collaborated with Willy Paul –another eminent Kenyan artist.
Born Kevin Waire, Wyre is a Kenyan singer who has been in the music industry for many years. Through his music genres, Wyre skillfully combines reggae with R&B. He became popular for being part of East African Bashment Crew as well as Necessary Noize. Since 2001, Wyre has remained a vibrant superstar and has included two solo albums in his gallery. Meanwhile, his most recent album is Ten Years Wiser which he launched in recognition of his 10-year music career. Some of the music stars Wyre has partnered with are Morgan Heritage, Cecile, Alaine, 2Face Idibia, and P-Square.
Nameless, who goes by the birth name David Kamoni Mathenga, is one of the successful pop stars in Kenya. Married to Wahu Kagwi (another Kenyan musician), Nameless is blessed with two children – both of whom are daughters. Together with his spouse Wahu Kagwi, Nameless is said to be one of the originators of Kenya’s contemporary music. Apparently, Nameless rose to popularity in 1999 and his first album was launched in 2004. Remarkably, Nameless has bagged a significant number of accolades and despite having been on the music scene for long, his fame continues to speak for him.
Coming last on our list is one of the most popular artists in Kenya, Ongenu Nyamari, with the stage name Nyashinki, formerly part of Klepomaniax, a trio rap group. Nyashinki later went solo.
That’s all about the top 10 richest musicians In Kenya.