Tetu Shani is a singer, songwriter from Nairobi. He won silver at the Global Music Awards in 2017 and 2018 is off to a good start for him because his song, The Void recently made beehype’s Best of 2017 list. He talked to Kahawa Diaries about his sweet tooth, his devotion to music and his upcoming album.
What kind of music is on your playlist?
Well, surprisingly I don’t really have a music playlist- this really shocks people because they say “Oh, how are you a musician and you don’t listen to much music?” I think I am so focused and devoted to creating the music that, funny enough, I do not have as much time to listen to a lot of different stuff intentionally. So, for now, the music on my playlist is music from my rehearsal sessions, trying to make my own music type.
What do you love most about living room concert sessions?
The opportunity to get into an intimate space. The way it works is that the people who love my music agree to host me at their house and I tell them to invite about 15 to 20 of their closest family and friends. When you are enjoying music with people who aren’t strangers to you, there’s this vibe, there’s this freedom that makes people be honest with me. And, you know, it’s just so intimate and so magical, I love it!.
What is your favourite kind of coffee?
Probably a mocha because it has three things that I love.- chocolate, cream and of course coffee. I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth. So whenever I visit a restaurant or a bistro or coffee house I’ll ask for a mocha- first on my list- or a cappuccino.
What is your favourite pastry?
Umm…I love cinnamon rolls. I also love Danish pastries. I don’t know what they are called. I just know them as Danish pastries, which have hazelnut flavour. Below that would be doughnuts.
If you could go on a coffee date with anyone in the world, who would it be?
There’s really only one person that I would take for that coffee date and that would be my beautiful wife Louise coz she’s my best friend and we NEVER run out of things to talk about.
What is the best thing about being a musician?
The opportunity to change lives and to be able to see that change as it happens in real time in front of me. There’s a young friend of mine who’s about 18 years old and he once told me: “You know what man, one of the reasons why I envy you is because your impact is immediate.” You know if someone is working as an accountant in an office, it’s a little more difficult for them to see, hear or experience the impact that they are making on that organization or people’s lives. But what I love most about being a musician is that I get to see the joy on people’s faces. I get to hear their responses, I get to connect with them and get an immediate response.
What do you have for breakfast?
Generally, if it’s just kind of a regular day I like to have oatmeal, I like to have fruit and I like to have either eggs or sausage… something like that.
What was your best performance last year?
My best performance from last year was at an event called Engage, the 16th edition. It happened at the Kenya National Theater. It was just so dope. There were about 450 people and everyone in the room was responsive, and completely dialled into the performance. They were responding to me, laughing with me, talking back and those are the kinds of performances that I love most.
What project are you working on currently?What are you currently working on?
I am working on my album. It’s called Back to Basics. I recorded it the first week of January. There is a lot more stuff I need to do to it but it’s the project that I am most excited about right now. Hopefully, it’s scheduled to come out later this year