On this week’s episode of African Voices, CNN International meets Kenyan music director, Enos Olik who is putting his mark on the country’s music industry. The self-taught star uses his millions of YouTube views and countless awards to help impact his community.
Olik’s love of the arts started at a young age as he fondly remembers: “I was a very artistic child, I used to be fascinated a lot with art and things relating to music because I grew up with a family from a musical background… And the school [I went to] was very into art, and music and drama and I was very active in those clubs, especially drama and music club.”
Whist in education, Olik helped form a group with other students and studied video production at a local trade school to shoot the group’s music videos. He says: “We formed a group with a couple of my friends and we started doing acapella, we used to practice a lot, and we used to sing at the parades, so that’s where my love for music started… our group decided to [do] commercial[s] and at that time the money that we were getting from the band wasn’t enough to invest in a very good video, but for me, I had the skills from where I was learning… So we went ahead and did our video, I edited the video at home, we put it out on YouTube, and after about 2 weeks, we had about 25 views.”
Although behind the lens, Olik’s name has been seen on the screens of dozens of music videos. Olik tells CNN about some of the personal aspects of his music videos: “Some of my videos, maybe people would say that maybe are my inner thoughts. Maybe [they] are [of] what I usually dream about or what I think about, so if you follow the videos, you can maybe try and read what I usually think about.”
As a music director, Olik explains to the programme what Kenyan music is and why it is so fascinating: “The music scene in Nairobi is very vibrant right now… We don’t have like a Kenyan sound, it’s just a mashup of different styles, which is very unique to us, meaning we can do any style without being boxed in one particular style, so the music scene is very diverse.”
With his success as a music director, Olik hopes to use his platform to impact his community. He says: “My role as a music video director… First is to entertain and second is to educate. Most of the time whatever we do is driven by either trend and inspiration and whatever is flowing at the moment. It’s always a juggle between trying to be educational, trying to entertain and also trying to inspire… there are videos that I do solely to inspire or to educate a particular topic, there are some just to entertain. I think my role, if I do all of that, either at the same time or spread out, I’m fulfilling my mandate now to society.”
On his hopes for the future, Olik explains: “My vision for 2019 is to work with a lot of upcoming artists and try and put them out there, and by doing that I hope that we’ll also build the industry.”