Nikita Kering. Picture: Supplied
Nikita Kering. Picture: Supplied

Kenya’s Nikita Kering is making all the right moves

By Liam Karabo Joyce Time of article published Oct 3, 2021

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At 19, Nikita Kering is not just East Africa’s biggest rising star, but the entire continent’s.

Following the success of her debut EP, “A Side of Me”, the Kenyan-born star was announced as the latest featured artist in Apple Music’s Africa Rising artist development programme. She is the first Africa Rising artist from East Africa.

As the youngest ever nominee, winner, and performer at The All-Africa Music Awards in Lagos, Kering’s noteworthy accolades include being named Afrima Revelation of the African Continent (2019) and Afrima Best Female Artist in Eastern Africa (2019), as well as being included in Mr Eazi’s Empawa Africa Top 10 artist programme.

Having been featured in more than 100 TV and radio shows, including a prominent feature on The BBC when she was 16, Kering’s ultimate dream is to build a talent academy in Kenya, for disadvantaged African children.

Capitalising on the enormous success of her single “Ex” (2021), “A Side Of Me” is the songstress revealing a lesser known part of herself to her audience, so they can better identify with her, a theme she’s championed since the release of her debut ballad “Happy With You”, back in 2018.

“I started working on it more than a year ago. It took a while because I wanted to make sure that people understood the message in my art, even without having to read the lyrics.

“I just woke up one day and decided to put something together ... My mother was a great influence in making that decision as well.

“I also felt that I had to make a piece that was an accurate representation of who I am,” said Kering.

While the EP has been making waves for the young star, she had no clear idea of what she wanted the end product to sound like.

“I actually never think about the end, I just take one step at a time and hope for the best. I feel as though putting any label into my work, before I am done with it, limits my creativity and imagination,” added Kering.

Kering describes the lyrical content as honest and intentional, while the sound is not genre specific.

“It's Pop, Rnb, Afro-beats, Afro-pop, it's actually whatever I woke up feeling that day. And from that, it offers something for everyone,” said Kering.

Kering admits that one of the biggest challenges with putting this EP together was her desire for everything to be perfect.

“I was definitely the enemy of my progress during the making of this project. I'm such a perfectionist, so I'd never be satisfied with just anything, which caused many delays. I don't feel bad about it though, because at least the project did well,” she said.

For the young star from Nairobi, “A Side of Me” signifies a good start for her.

“I'll always look back at it and know that this is where I started and that every time I look back, I know that I've grown and become 10 times better in my craft. It will truly be a reminder of how far I've come,” said Kering.

On her Apple Music recognition, she said: “I'm so excited for this new chapter! ”I’ve always wanted to stand out in Africa and the world as a whole, so being selected as Apple Music’s newest Africa Rising artist is definitely an awesome start. I can't wait to see what's next,” added Kering.

“A Side of Me” is available on all digital platforms.

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