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Most promising Artist of the Year

Clark keeng art by dip vulgar

The Charismatic and conscientious: singer, songwriter, performer, producer, composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar. and drums), live performer, and many more, visits his: diversity, talent, spirituality, and overall great love for music upon your eardrums and further into your spirit using his voice, thoughtful melodies, and harmonies and his moving stories and many more of his artistic tools. Clark Keeng and his music are an amalgamation of quite the plethora of things that are sure to speak to the depths of your being. Let's get to know our friendly neighbourhood rockstar!

  1. I'd like to know about your journey. But first of all, who are you? And what do you do?!

“This question is normally hard to answer because Clark Keeng is an artist alias. I guess I'll start with Clark. Clark is the part of me that's interested in life. He just wants to go out and travel and win at things. A very adventurous, very determined and hyper focused guy. On the other hand, my non-official name, aka my nickname, is Wami. And I'm gonna be honest. Wami is the most lazy and ridiculous part of me that exists. I'm a hard worker outside the house and then I get in the house, and I can't wash a cup. I am lazy when I'm not being an artist.”

2. How did you get to be Clark Keeng?

"Everybody has really good theories. I love people's theories because they're all better than what actually happened. When I decided to become a musician, I knew I wanted a name that had King in it. So what happened was, in 2019, I was really listening to Nasty C and in one song, he has this ad lib at the end of every line where he says King. And then I had a lyric that said, 'cause I was talking about Clark Kent.’ And I liked the vibe of it. So I went to the studio and made a hip hop song where I put King ad libs randomly in the middle of it. I also write a line, “call me Clark". So, at the end of the project, I asked myself, why Clark King? Clark is a symbol of hope, and I could be that. God's put this thing in my mouth, maybe if I use it well enough, I'll help somebody, you know? And then Keeng, with a double E instead of an I. Because, well first, royalty, king and queen and secondly, it's not about the semantic gender of it, it's more about inclusivity. My message is not for anybody, it's for everybody!”

Clark Keeng Performing

3. What would you say motivates Clark?!

"I'm very hungry all the time for food but also generally speaking, for success. I have people in my life who are markers for the stuff I could do better. So I have friends who are so much better than me. And they're all, to some degree, my role models. They are all to some degree the people I want to become like."

4. What do you do? Could you give me the spectrum of art that you occupy?

"I'm an artist and an entrepreneur. I do too many things to give you a list.The spectrum is on the visible front. I play a lot of instruments. I play 3 instruments, I sing, arrange, compose, produce, teach. I occupy the audio visual space, but right now it's more audio than visual (however, I'm learning and improving). I want to dabble in visual arts as well in future, specifically film. Film has to be the most optimum form of art.You get your greatest musicians, your greatest painters, your greatest designers, whatever it is, and they just put together something that you will see for a split second, wow. Right now though, the thing I love with all my heart is music. I cannot put words to it. If I died poor, but I did music the rest of my life, I think I'd be fine. I'd be dead. But I'd be fine."

5. So in that case, from what I've seen for the work you've done with Zawadi for your EP ‘Color’, I'm inclined to ask. Will you do live/reality music videos? Or is animation something you'd want to keep going with?

"I have started. Like for Joe Boy, for example? Like in all, well almost all of his music is animated. And people got to enjoy that more because he tells a better story. So to answer your question, yes, I am definitely going to lean more into animation than anything. In animation, I can capture anything. I get to put logic aside for a second and tell a real story.

Clark keeng with band

6. How did you know music is what you wanted to do?

“So, when I was in Sunday school, I used to sing in choir, because I wanted to be loud and make noise and participate. So, I was doing everything; memory verse reciting, collecting offering, ushering, you name it. Same thing in high school. I was an A student and it felt like every other A student I talked to, had some plan. I was like, “I just don't know…” I was a good swimmer, so I said, “I'm going to swim for the rest of my life, become Michael Phelps”. That died. I was a footballer, goalkeeper. “I'm going to become Van Der Sar.” Nothing. I played rugby. I was like, “I'm going to become Humphrey Kayange.” Then I broke my hand. My mom got scared. She said, don't go back to the thing. So, I didn't.

I had all this potential, but I didn’t know what I wanted. Nothing ever clicked for me, until after Form 4 when I went to the UK. I stayed there for three months. I went for a workshop at the University of London, and they talked about uni not being everything. They said, “ask your heart what it wants.” And in the house I was in, they had a music room, where they had a grand piano, guitars, drums, record players, cassettes.The first time I played the first chord of my favorite song on that piano, I felt truly alive.

From then on I'd sit on that piano for hours. Later I went to an institute called ICMP and auditioned for their music program. They accepted me. I didn’t know about scholarships for international students then, so I didn’t get to go. But that’s when I knew I wanted to be a musician. When I came back to Kenya that’s what I chased after till now.”

7. I know it hasn't always been easy, what are some challenges you went through and how did you overcome them?

“I lost it properly for a bit. Especially when I left high school, I was very bitter. My Uni wasn't working. I had a terrible relationship with my ex. My mum had lost her job. I was broke, directionless, I was just bitter. I was like “Screw God, where is he now?” And it's very easy to get there. But I decided in 2020 I'm going to read. I read a book called The Defining Decade. I highly recommend that book. Then I started studying the works of Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, the works of those who really criticize Christianity. And the more I did that the more they reinforced my faith. Not because they made logical sense, but because they argued for a more optimal way of living. And then I found the church I'm in right now and it's a breath of fresh air.

2020 was also the hardest year. For context, I lived with Zawadi. When COVID happened, our primary source of earning became the very things that were closed, we were struggling to pay bills. And leaving music has never been an option for me. Our friends every once in a while had to send us food, or cash to buy stuff. Like, we'd be sitting in the house, we're just like, “So now what?" And then someone calls and they're like, “let me send you this.” That pushed us for a while. It was tough as hell. My mum paid for us rent for two months. She was jobless and had to pay where she was living as well. So she couldn't support us more. I had so many people help me. Eventually, In November, we had four days till the end of the month and the landlord said ‘’you guys are behind on rent if you don't finish this month get out.’’

I was literally losing my mind because I didn't know where we’d go. So as I was going for a walk, I met a friend of ours, we talked for a bit and then she was like, “That's what's going on with you? Okay.” She gave us money for food that day. The next day, her and her boyfriend came with a pickup to our house, told us “come live with us for a bit.” So, we stayed in November, December, and January.” They literally fed us and took care of us. I mean we were helping out where we could with chores but when it was getting to February, we felt we had to go.

So in 2021, stuff started to clear, we started doing gigs a bit and I went hard. I didn't have much, but I had a client who I was teaching piano. Remember, all the piano I know, all the singing was mostly self-taught(but shout out to the owner of Sauti Academy), all the production, all the business. I knew if I don't get this done, I'd be screwed. The place I once was, a couple of years ago, I am determined to never go back. And I'm taking everybody along with me.”

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Dip Vulgar
Dip Vulgar
Sep 15, 2023

All faxx! No lies detected.

I remember the short meet I had with him at The Alchemist. As an illustrator who's drawn many faces and studies peoples faces a lot, I can confidently confirm that Sir Keeng had a flame in his eyes similar to that of Kyōjurō Rengoku. I know he's about to shake some isht up. Of that, I am certain.

Big up, Fluffy Bunny!

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