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Joy Bigo: Fast-rising Gospel Artiste Looking Up To Gloria Muliro

To most Kenyans, the name Joy Bigo may not ring a bell; but her gusto and obstinate determination in the gospel music industry is difficult to ignore. She managed to be 2nd runner-up in the 2022 FEMA awards as the new artist of the year.

Joy hails from Vihiga County and has had a passion for singing since she was 10.

She has baptised herself the name Songbird and she sings in both Kiswahili and in the Luhya dialect. Her latest release ‘Rulamwo’ (get out of) encourages Christian faithful to abandon sinful tendencies and incline themselves to righteousness.

WoK had a brief interview with her, narrating to us her career, best and worst moments, and her future plans. Here is a sneak peek into the interview:

WoK: Hello Joy, you’ve got a very big passion for music. When did you start singing?

Joy Bigo: I started singing when l was a little child 10 years of age but l began my recording journey in 2017.

WoK: Great. How has the journey been so far?

JB: It’s been a learning process full of ups and downs, each time l feel like giving up l look back at where I have come from and gain enough strength to carry on.

WoK: Talking about this, what were the best and worst moments of your career?

JB: My best moments are when I am in the studio recording, l love the way l voice out easily without struggling because I am passionate about it.

My worst moment was when l went for a video shoot in Kitengela (in a desert) and unfortunately, the camera got spoilt and we couldn’t shoot. Because we didn’t have a backup camera, we went back home after the long journey. l cried and almost gave up.

Another difficult moment was when I went for a shoot and the owner of the venue ordered all the footage to be deleted since l had not paid for the venue due to financial constraints, so l had to redo the video the following day.

WoK: That must be quite disheartening. Talking about finances, how do you manage to foot the recording expenses?

JB: I have mostly been supported by strangers. God instructs people to help me accomplish every recording and shoot. This is the one reason l can’t give up (because) it is not easy doing it alone.

WoK: Great. You recently had an issue with your producer over the copyrights of your new song Rulamwo. Tell us more about this.

JB: It was sorted out and l wouldn’t want to work with such producers again. I was threatened if l dared speak about it on any media platform. But since they stopped messing up with my work, I’d rather keep it low, I’ve learned my lessons anyway!

WoK: Did you have any agreements with them before recording? What exactly happened?

JB: No, we didn’t have any agreement. He had uploaded my song (mp3 form) to all paying music platforms so when l complained the person who helped him do it deleted the song within a few days and l got the right back.

WoK: Now tell us about the song ‘Rulamwo’. I can see it’s doing quite well on YouTube.

JB: Rulamwo, done in Luhya is a Gospel song that encourages everyone to stop sinning and draw close to God. It was an instruction given to me by God to tell the world to stop sinning since the wages of sin are death.

WoK: Great. You are more inclined to sing in the local dialect as opposed to Swahili. Why?

JB: The message came in my local dialect and I also have Kiswahili songs on YouTube as well. It is sometimes hard to change the exact tune into Swahili because it might change its origin.

WoK: Fine. You come from Vihiga County where some of the best gospel artists come from as well. The likes of Reuben Kigame and Gloria Muliro. Do you get any inspiration from them? Do you have any mentors or role models?

JB: Gloria Muliro’s songs have inspired me so much, I have heard people say l somehow sing like her. If she gives me that opportunity to collabo with her l will be grateful because I have always been looking up to her.

WoK: Have you ever found an opportunity to meet her?

JB: We spoke sometime back before she relocated to America but she said if it is the will of God for us to collaborate it shall be done.

WoK: I wish you all the best on this. What else do you do apart from being a musician?

JB: I have not been permanently employed but have been trying different temporary jobs to keep going.

WoK: Finally, what music projects are you currently planning, or rather where do you see yourself in the next 3 years?

JB: There is a lot in store if l get enough funds to do it. In 3 years, l should be doing live recordings.

WoK: Thanks a lot for your time and I wish you all the best.

JB: Thank you for the opportunity, I’m humbled, God bless.