Introducing Mari | A Young Passionate Kenyan Musician Attracting International Attention


Mari Gikaru popularly known as Mari was born in 1989. Raised in Nairobi, he underwent primary education before moving to Uganda for his secondary education and came back to Kenya in 2009 to later graduate with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Nairobi.

Motivated by a desire to make music that acts as an instrument of change for better life, he found inspiration from what is considered “conscious music”. In 2009 he decided to pursue his musical passion as a recording artist.

Between 2009 and 2010, Mari explored and developed his artistry during which time he worked with several studios, producers and fellow artists around Nairobi but it wasn’t until January 2011 that he finished recording his debut single, ‘Happy to be yours’.

‘Happy to be yours’, was released later that year in September. The single proved to be a success garnering a fan-base all over Africa especially East and West Africa. The video was later released a year later. It greatly propelled his presence as a conscious music artist receiving airplay from the renowned South African Music channel ‘Channel O’.

At the end of 2011 Mari began reaching out to his fan base through live performances and showcasing previously unrecorded self-composed music. This widened his fan-base further accelerating his popularity as an acclaimed singer and songwriter, which later opened doors for his career as a professional songwriter. In the same capacity he has written songs for other individual artists and bands alike. His popularity brought him musical attention when he received recording deals among other offers. Some of his compositions went on to win national awards within Kenya consolidating his brand.

Interestingly Mari attracted international attention with record and distribution deal offers from the UK, US, South Africa and Kenya. As a confirmation of his prowess, in late 2012, Mari began working on his debut EP project titled ‘Let it Out’ whose first single ‘Matilda’ an acoustic was released in late 2013. This was after a series of failed attempts working with numerous producers to achieve his unique sound.

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Listen to ‘Matilda’ below.

‘Matilda’, whose video is underway received love around the world and broadened his audience especially in Europe, Africa and the US. In 2014 he followed the success of the single with interviews on both radio and television. The most recognizable being a feature on Zuku TV’s ‘Raw Sessions’ that recognized him as one of the Kenyan artists to watch out for in the years to come.

‘Let it Out EP’ dropped in 2015 and its success climaxed with one of the tracks – ‘Break of Dawn’ – being chosen as the soundtrack for M-net featured Kenyan movie ‘Flowers & Bricks’ with the full ‘Let it Out’ album set for release within this year.

Mari’s passion in improving life for better is not only confounded to his music. His heart-felt appreciation of life has seen him give back to the community, particularly with a soft-spot for helping under-privileged children, partnering with several NGO’s within Kenya notwithstanding his own personal efforts to provide donations to and visit several children’s homes.