- According to a report released by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the Kenyan entertainment industry is ranked third in Africa in terms of revenue
- Statista, a market and consumer data company, predicts that the entertainment revenues in Kenya will hit US$2.96 billion (Sh 353 billion) in 2023
- Sauti Sol tops the list of the highest-paid musicians in Kenya, followed by Nyashinski
Kenya is home to some of the finest musicians in the continent who have taken the local and international industry by storm.
Two decades ago, music was not considered a serious career in Kenya. Over the years, artists have transitioned from selling their music on compact discs (CDs) to streaming on YouTube and holding live performances. The rising technology has played a big part in this.
According to a report released by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the Kenyan entertainment industry is ranked third in Africa in revenue. In 2019, it was estimated that the industry raked in Sh 347 billion.
Statista, a market and consumer data company, predicts that the entertainment revenues in Kenya will hit US$2.96 billion (Sh 353 billion) in 2023.
Which Kenyan artistes charge the highest per show?
Sauti Sol is a Kenyan band that was formed in 2005. Members of the band are Bien-Aimé Baraza, Savara Mudigi, Willis Chimano and Polycarp Otieno.
The vocalists released their first album, dubbed Mwanzo, on November 1, 2008. Since then, they have never looked back, releasing hits after hits. Some of their popular songs include Suzanna, Sura Yangu, Melanin, Short & Sweet, Insecure and Kuliko Jana.
The group has held successful performances across Africa, Europe and the United States (US), earning millions of shillings. The band’s net worth is estimated at US$20 million. Sauti Sol performed at State House, Nairobi, in 2015 when former US president Barack Obama toured the country. In an interview on Singleton Stories, Bien described it as a great moment.
“You know anyone can be in an MTV award but dancing with former US president Barrack Obama was like a really great moment,” he said.
Nyashinski formed the group alongside Roba (Robert Manyasa) and Collo (Collins Majale) while still students at Nairobi School.
They later joined the Ogopa DJs and released their first single in 2002, Freak it. However, they broke up in 2009, and members began releasing solo hits. In 2016, released Malaika, which has garnered over 15 million views on YouTube.
His other songs which have performed well on YouTube are Free, Now You Know, Bebi Bebi, Hayawani, and Lift me Up. Nyashinski charges US$20,000 (Sh 2.4 million) for an hour show.
3. Bien Aime Baraza
Individually, Baraza charges US$7,000 (Sh 827,000) away from the Sauti Sol band. According to Party Verse concert organisers, the Mbwembwe hitmaker doesn’t come cheap.
An agent revealed that the vocalist charges the second highest performance fees after Nyashinski.
“Bien is the second most expensive artiste in the country at the moment. When we couldn’t agree on a deal with Nyashinski, we went for him. He initially asked for $7,000, but we managed to bring him down to $6,500 (Sh770,000) and he showed up with his band. His live set was dope,” the agent disclosed.
4. Otile Brown
Otile Brown, whose real name is Jacob Obunga, is an R&B singer who rose to fame after releasing his Imaginary Love song in 2016 that featured Khaligraph Jones. Besides Jones, the musician has done collabos with other prominent Kenyan artists, including Sanaipei Tande, King Kaka and his ex Vera Sidika.
The 28-year-old, who was born in Kisumu and raised in Mombasa, started singing at the young age of 13. Otile charges US$4,500 (Sh 500,000) for corporate performances per hour.
5. Khaligraph Jones
Khaligraph Jones is one of the most successful Kenyan rappers. The 32-year-old singer is known for his hit songs Mazishi and Yego. Jones is popularly referred to by his stage name, Papa Jones or the OG.
He began his music career in 2008. A decade later, in 2018, he was crowned the “Best Rap Act of the Year” at the All Africa Music Awards. Jones charges US$4,500 (Sh 500,000) for an hour’s show, but the rate could come down depending on negotiations.
6. Sol Generation
Sol Generation brings together Bensoul and Nviiri The Story Teller. Sol Generation is a recording label launched by Sauti Sol, with the duo being signees. Bensoul and Nviiri The Story Teller’s flat rate for a show is US$4,500, but the cost depends on other factors such as how long they perform, the location and the event.
Booking the duo as a package is cheaper, according to a source who said they come energised. When booked separately, they charge US$2,800 (Sh 330,000).
7. Prince Indah
Evans Ochieng Owino (Prince Indah) was born in Siaya on August 9, 1994. He’s the third born in a family of five.
Indah ventured into the music industry after the death of his parents under the Ramogi Ohangla Rhumba (ROR) band. He learnt how to compose songs from his paternal uncle Emma Jalamo considered the king of Ohangla.
He recorded his first album in September 2014, composed of six songs. The main hit was Cinderella. The musician launched his second album (Tenda Wema) on December 23, 2016. After launching his second album, the singer formed his band named Malaika Ohangla Rhumba Band (MOR). The band now has over 20 members. His 2017 hit Nyakisumu 2 under his third album propelled him to fame. It costs US$3,360 (Sh 400,000) to hire the Adhiambo singer.
8. Nadia Mukami
Nadia Mukami is the founder of the Kenyan record label Sevens Creative Hub. The Maseno University graduate recorded her first song Barua Ya Siri in 2015. Her second song, Kesi, became a hit and propelled her to fame.
Her Radio Love song, which featured her husband Arrow Bwoy, released in February 2019, was a breakthrough for her as it dominated the Kenyan radio and television airwaves.
She has collaborated with Khaligraph Jones, Fena Gitu, Sanaipei Tande and Otile Brown, among others. Mukami is one of the most after-sough female artists in Kenya who charges between US$ 2,520 (Sh 300,000) and US$ 3,360 (Sh 400,000).
Samuel Muchoki (Samidoh) is a Kikuyu musician who doubles up as a police officer.
He has revolutionised mũgithi music in the country. The musician, born in Subukia, Nakuru county, was introduced into the music industry by his brother Kariz Magic, who also sings mũgithi.
Samidoh is married to Edith Nderitu but has been dating popular Kenyan politician Karen Nyamu and sired a child with her. His hits include Murata wa Ngai, Ndiri Mutwe, Mumbi and Wendo Maguta. His charges for a one-hour show range between US$1680 ( Sh 200,000) and US$ 2,520 (Sh 300,000). Samidoh was one of the artists hired by the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party led by Raila Odinga to perform at its rallies during the 2022 campaigns.