We had a brief chat with one of the TTU Alumni, Baraka Phil alias Philo, BPS Class of 2016. A gent. passionate about music at large. However, he is currently, evidently, more inclined towards Gospel music. Back In college, despite the burning desire to venture out as an artiste, this never really seemed to be at the forefront of his varsity pursuits. A couple of years after campus though, as he narrates, Music was a dream worth revisiting, and so he did, releasing his debut single, ‘PAPA’, a song inspired by reflections on his journey through life thus far and as a testimonial to God’s Un-ending Grace. So, he asserts.
Hello Phil! Congrats on your Debut Single. Long time… Basically how’s it been with you?
Am well bro and Thanks so much man It’s been amazing!
So singing has been a passion all along?
Yes man. I knew I could from class 3. Back in my village primary. I used to get my friends pay one Bob each, they sit round in a circle and then I sit in the middle singing Jose Chameleon Luganda songs. I could sing all the lyrics so well yet I didn’t know the meaning
Must have been a long time coming. Learned you were a psalmist. In campus, CATCOM, Tell us about that
I was in Third year then and I was the chairperson of St. Rita SCC (small Christian community).. all my first year and second year I avoided any church responsibilities I was a Sunday and probably Thursday mass attendee. So I joined SCC in my last semester of second year. Then they made me the chairperson in third year.
Now SCCs used to animate masses on Sundays. I mean organizing the whole mass process. The readings, liturgies and prayers of the faithful.. So everyone took the first, the second reading and prayers. So I picked the psalms reading and they all laughed… like you can’t do that alone … So I told my team I can do it and they gave me the benefit of doubt.
So, I went to the pianist and he made me a sort of a country music tune and he saved it… it was a long night… Then I did sing but so terrified inside and that is how I rejuvenated the passion again
Impressive. Do you consider TTU as an environment that shaped your passion and how did this passion synchronize with studies?
Absolutely, TTU has been an environment that has constantly reminded me of who I am… however much I tried to ignore the call… I used to practice with instrumentals I had downloaded from YouTube, mostly bongo and rhumba in the evening alone at the fields. I remember there was a time Mseto campus tour was coming to TTU. So I had prepared all my lyrics well, rehearsed but my fear overwhelmed me to even register my name to register at the stage… Am a person who is active in the mornings. Mostly my personal studies I used to do in the mornings, classes during the day, then discussions in the evening from 8:30 after my field time
Basically TTU catapulted what I was afraid of starting all from my childhood
Great. Tell me about this current project. What has it taken to pull through, is it your first project as well?
Yes, this is my first single project. I have been going to studios yearning to record but I get turned away eti ‘sijafika bei’ someone told me that am too Swahili and am not from coast that’s 2018… So I decided to keep writing and practice with singing covers. Last year I was training with a friend, a gospel artist too… He is the one who made my first meeting with the Producer I have worked with three songs that are coming.
Take us through the conceptualization of this first single, the inspiration, the writing and production process, to the actualization eventually
Man, it was this time I was looking at a photo of mine when I was 2yrs. Then I remembered my entire childhood. How I strived to rise on various aspects of life regardless of my humble family origins where we were deemed as failures. How God has pulled me out carried me to who and where I am today. Then I remained with one word “Thank you my God” there came Papa
Awesome! how were the production hassles?
Production was a bit easier because I got a producer who understood my melody and fell in love with the lyrics. With Grace of God we enjoyed the whole production process and so he gave it all for the audio.
What do you do professionally though, currently?
Am a logistician currently employed at a certain private entity
How has the reception of your first project been?
Well, I think the reception is positive and I believe the message will get to more people. I am praying for favor and his words to touch his people. I am glad to have had a few air-play(s) such as Radio Taifa and on Youtube we are heading to 2000 views so far. Am grateful to all who’ve shared whether through views, comments, shares likes and much more. Keep doing so.
What do you look forward to…what should we expect musically speaking?
I am looking forward to an amazing experience we praise God through music. I have projects already in the pipe-line… I am praying for and seeking support, support, and more support Amen
Do you intend to pursue gospel purely?
My intention is to inspire the world and society through music that will bring them closer to God and to their right and moral conscience in the best way and however I can.
Technically do you consider yourself a Gospel or secular artiste…or just an artiste?
I am a Gospel minister. I believe I minister through music…yes sir, I am a Gospel Artiste.
What are your thoughts on the debatable secular influence on gospel music?
For me, I will say there is no effect at all. There is space for Genuine Gospel content in the society. If you bring content relating with people’s spirituality they appreciate. Besides, we all have freedom of choice. It’s upon the listeners to sieve off the chuff from the grain
Who do you look up to in the industry?
I admire and learn a lot from Goodluck Gozbert, Walter chilambo, Eunice Njeri, Evelyn Wanjiru and a few more inspiring gospel ministers both locally and globally…I am always inspired by their content and creation processes.
To any student who might be currently in a similar situation, you were in, back on campus as far as naturing their off-the-class talents are concerned, the dilemma on what, when, and how to pursue their innate interests; What would be your advice?
It’s okay to feel scared. It’s okay to feel shy at times… But keep practicing genuinely and consistently as you wait for your turn… Everybody has their time. And it will always come as long as you stick to the course.
Great!Regards & All the best. Blessings on Blessings, Baraka!
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