Nigerian artist Onyido Nkemjika, popularly known as Ketchup, has said that Kenyan musicians are comfortable being kings of Kenya and are not ambitious enough to break into the international market.
Ketchup made the remarks during an interview on the Kenganda podcast, where he was asked to compare Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya. He said that Nigeria is the most powerful and popular country in Africa, and that Kenya is trying to level up and catch up with the West Africans.
“The competition is a lot steeper in Nigeria because when you talk about entertainment, there is so much raw talent in Nigeria,” Ketchup said. “A little bit more than 50% of the youth are doing something that they actually believe in, wasn’t given to them by the government, weren’t taught about it in school. They’re comedians, actors, people that didn’t even go to school for acting. They’re doing this thing. Musicians don’t even know this thing for doremifasolatido- they didn’t go to school for music but they are making great music and the world is feeling it, you see?”
Ketchup also said that Kenyan artists are not as ambitious as Nigerian artists.
“For me, I feel like the comparison in being compared to Kenya- Kenyan artists are a little comfortable, they like it when they are the king of Kenya, they’re like ‘I’m good, I’m okay, Kenyan people love me’…but in Nigeria, it’s like ‘once Nigerian people know me, what about that other side of the world? Let’s go to that place and ‘destroy’ everything. We want to be everywhere at the same time,” he said.
Ketchup’s comments have sparked a debate on social media, with some Kenyans agreeing with him and others disagreeing.
Those who agree with Ketchup say that Kenyan artists need to be more ambitious and should not be content with being popular only in Kenya. They say that Kenyan artists should focus on making music that will appeal to a global audience.
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Those who disagree with Ketchup say that he is being unfair to Kenyan artists. They say that there are many talented Kenyan artists who are working hard to break into the international market. They also say that it is not easy for any artist to break into the international market, regardless of their nationality.
The debate over whether Kenyan artists are comfortable being kings of Kenya is likely to continue. However, one thing is for sure: Ketchup’s comments have put the spotlight on the issue of Kenyan music and its place in the global market.