Why Coastal Artists Dont Shine.

Posted: January 26, 2010 in Published Works

Time and again coastal artistes have continually complained of being neglected and sidelined by the media hence their inability to penetrate the national market despite being as good as their Nairobi counterparts, if not better. Their argument is that the media is entirely to blame for their relative lack of success in the entertainment industry, arguing that the media has purposefully sabotaged their attempts to break through by denying them radio and t.v airplay as well as coverage in the case of print media. I beg to differ.

While it is true that the media is biased against non-Nairobi artists, they are not solely to blame for the coastal artists’ woes. The artists themselves are also responsible for their failure as are the fans.

For starters, the artists are justified in claiming the media is biased against them but anyone who has been watching the industry keenly enough will have noticed that the media is biased against all Non-Nairobi artists and not Coastal artistes per sse. T.V and radio stations give the lions share of airplay to Nairobi based artistes and even this is shared almost exculsively among the so called ‘A-List’ celebs. The rest (which is where Mombasa based artists fall), have to share the crumbs amongst themselves. The sooner coastal artists learn to live with this cruel fact the better.

In order to break away from this spell, coastal artistes need to revise their strategy. While they may be facing barriers within the media, the artists themselves have done very little to boost their image. For one they have to change their style so that it appeals to the nationwide market. Most coastal artistes are too localized and do not connect with Non-Coasterians. Artistes also need to learn to market themselves. Having a good song will do you no good if you cant get people to hear it and know you. Make mixtapes, organise gigs, develop yourselves as brands and market yourselves nationally.

For coastal artists to grow, the local fans have to accept them first before the rest of the country follows suit. Unfortunately, coastal fans have little love for their aristes. They would rather pay to see ‘Jua Cali’ in action than attend a free ‘Nyota Ndogo’ show. Im not saying they should not attend ‘Jua Cali’s’ shows but if at all Mombasa artistes are to shine, the fans have to give their artistes maximum support.

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