Since the pandemic started, Sauti Sol have been doing solo projects, launching songs, videos and albums individually, while still presenting a united front. They have been doing all the songs under the Sauti Sol YouTube channel, and in traditional media, they present a united front, going to support each other in interviews and concerts.
But how long can this united front last? The genie is already out of the bottle: Bien is the “Beyonce” of the group. The most famous one who holds it all together. It bears out in the numbers. Most of Bien’s latest solo songs and collabos have all hit multiple millions of views, while Chimano’s latest songs don’t get past 100k views and Polycarp and Savara also only get several thousand views each.
It is clear from songs like “Mbwe mbwe,” “Niko sawa” and “Inauma” that Bien is the one who really gets what Kenyans want. He’s probably the one who steers the direction of Sauti Sol to the modern acoustic vibes which everyone loves, inspired by rhumba pioneers such as Daudi Kabaka and Rhumba Japani.
Much as he’ll probably blast me for writing this piece, the writing is on the wall. Bien must see by now that he is the one holding up the entire structure of Sauti Sol, and the evidence points to it. He is now doing solo shows across the world as Bien alone:
And now, three weeks ago, he finally opened his own personal Bien channel on YouTube, where he uploaded the video for his latest mega collabo with Arya Starr – “My Baby.”
Also from a money perspective, the math just makes sense. As a band of 4 with an extensive backoffice staff, Sauti Sol has had to charge a whopping 1.5million per show MINIMUM just to stay afloat. Of course very few clients were able to afford this. If Bien goes solo, he’ll be able to charge much less than that while still maintaining the same income as when he was sharing the money with 4 others. This is usually what causes bands to split up all across the world: money.
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