Posted on July 23, 2012
Tweli G Kaigwa, born to the late Major Kaigwa and Bella Kaigwa grew up in Garden Estate, Nairobi Kenya. As a young boy, he was introduced to music by his brother, Mark Kaigwa, a well renowned Communications Consultant in New Media, Web and Mobile in Sub Saharan Africa. Tweli grew up attached to music and he continues to relentlessly pursue his childhood passion with undying zeal. Tweli is currently living in Osaka, Japan..studying hard to get a Civil Engineering degree. I caught up with him recently and conducted an online interview…and this is how it went down!
*Maybe you can begin by telling us a little bit about yourself Tweli…
My name is Tweli Gichuhi Kaigwa, I am 21 years of age and I am a student/ producer/artist. I am currently living in Japan, studying civil engineering.
*And how was your child hood life like?
What can I say…it was pretty much just a normal childhood.. Born and raised in Nairobi, (representing Gardo, Garden Estate as always).. I went to Saint Mary’s Nairobi till class 6 then went to Serare School until Class 8…then finally ended up at MKASS for high school.
*Let’s fast forward to 2009 where you landed in Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology as a freshman. What course were you pursuing and how was campus life like for you as a first year…?
I was studying Telecommunications and Information Engineering. Life as a first year was pretty sweet actually. It was a great experience, making new friends as well as joining C.U…which I attribute to being one of the places I really grew as a christian and as a person.
*Then out of the blue…you landed a scholarship in Japan. Tell us more about that…
My Guka (grandpa) saw the ad in the paper and sent it to my mom who then showed it to me. So I was like cool, lets try it and see what happens.The process was really long. First if your KCSE marks meet the requirement, you then move on to take an exam, an interview and then get recommended to the Tokyo office for selection. Truth is that during that year, I just really felt like God was going to come through for me. Even some of my classmates were like ” You will pass!!”…so… here I am!
*Good for you! So, here you are in Japan…new country…new people…new culture…how was it for you adjusting to the new environment?
I live in Osaka right now. When I first came it was not really that much of a surprise for me since I had experienced living away from home on my own for some time at JKUAT, but it was good. The food was good, the people were good and extremely friendly, plus I had a lot of help from some of the guys who had come before under the same program.. they really helped in showing us the ropes.
*And its only last year where Japan was rocked hard by an earthquake. Shed more light on that experience. Were your folks worried by any chance that something had happened to you?
Umm, well not really because I live quite far away from any of the affected area. In fact I think I remember skyping with my mom and showing her the kids playing outside on that day so for me I was more concerned for my buddies in Tokyo but nobody was really affected. Japan is always having earthquakes so their disaster prevention technology is quite advanced.
*Enough of earthquakes…lets now switch gears to your love for music. When did you discover that you wanted to pursue music?
I would definitely have to say that it was my brother, Mark Kaigwa. He is actually the one who started making music on Garage band and then that sparked the interest in me as well.
* And what would you say your songs are about?
Well, over the years I have grown as an artist so I can say that, when I started out my songs were mostly about me, then it changed to having an expression of frustration with politicians and now about how awesome God is in my life and just some of the stuff I go through everyday.
*What genre do you think your music falls under?
Its hard to say since I love to fuse different genres but I guess since I rap for the most part, lets call it hip hop. I find defining genre for myself kinda puts me in a box per se’…so I always find this question hard to answer.
*You are associated with the name…‘One Trybe’ Tell me whats up up with that…
One Trybe started out as a clothing company started by none other than.. my brother, Mark, in which we made custom handpainted t-shirts. However, as time passed by, it became my nickname in High school and after my brother got too busy to make the tees so I ended up a sole entrepreneur. Currently it is on the shelf because of lack of time but it will definitely be reborn. The name itself is a state of mind: It represents unity.
*Together with your buddies; Willie, Bg, Wajee, Kunyiha, Kagume…you guys formed Hive studios. Is Hive still alive and what have you guys accomplished so far…?
Hive Studios was a dream. We were not able to accomplish much at that time, but it is definitely the origin of a great deal in the lives of the members. As for now Hive Studios is in hibernation.
*Well, I’m hoping it will not be in hibernation for too long. Anyway, what do you hope to achieve with your music?Right now, the dream is to penetrate the Japanese industry with a Christian message, as well as provide a platform for christian artists to make good music here.
*and what role do you think artistes like yourself have in society?
Hmm tough… I think we have a responsibility to produce music that can change or influence the mindsets of listeners in a positive way.
*Which famous musicians do you admire, both in Kenya and beyond? Why?
Sauti Sol, Just A Band, Camp Mulla, Coola Gang, BMF, Juliani, B.O.B, Kanye, YONAS, Andy Mineo, Lacrea, Trip Lee, Foster the people, Wretch 32, Ed Sheeran, Labrinth among a list of many others. I would say the reason begin that their music styles inspire me. I listen to all types of music so its hard to have a favorite.
*How do you balance your music with other obligations – like school work?
I must say it is hard but whenever I have free time I try not to waste it. I believe if anyone really wants to do something they can make time, however little it may be.
*What are your immediate music career goals and where do you see yourself…perhaps in the next 3-4 years? Immediate: Penetrate the underground Japan scene.In 3-4 years, I’d love to Tour Japan with a live band and a group of like minded artists.
*How would you define the word “success”? Musically speaking…
Producing the best music you can and having a platform to share it with people who can listen, relate to it and be influenced by it.
*Lets imagine for a short while you were the most influential musician globally…what would you do with that kind of influence?
Wow… Hmm.. Be myself. Do what I am doing now. I really cant think of anything else.
*Who would you vote as your number one role model and please tell me why…
My dad (RIP) and mom. I just have mad respect and admire them in so many ways.
THE QUICK FIVE::
*So, I also gat to ask…are you dating??…you know, maybe some Japanese chic digs you…or is it the other way round? (*_*) Yes I am. No details ( :P)
*Moving on swiftly, the five people in the world you’d love to meet are…and why?
I have actually never thought of this question before but.. hmmm Labrinth and Kanye. I would just like to watch him work in the studio and get some tips. Also Lacrea, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo. Hard question… I don’t actually know…
* What gadget wouldn’t you do without?
Most definitely my Mac-book Pro.
*Your most favorite Movie of all time?
Don’t really have one but John Carter comes close.
*What is your most embarrassing moment?
When I cried because my friend beat me at soccer on PlayStation One back in the day.
(Well well Tweli, dozing off during this train ride must have been quite embarrassing if you ask me…mouth wide open and all!! (^_^)You must have drenched that seat with gallons of drool!! With that mouth opened like that, I bet you let out a tsunami of drool, almost drowning off that white dude seated next to ya! hehehe. This pic takes the cup if you ask me!!(*_*)
…and with that, I called it a wrap! A BIG thank you goes to Tweli for taking his time to let us know a lil something about his life. All I can say for now is to wish Tweli all the best as he continues pursuing his passion for what he loves best…music. The sky is the limit man. Be relentless and forge on to realize all your God-given dreams. I find it so refreshing doing stories like these because I end up being inspired to also take up the challenge to live out what God has graciously given me. Hope it the same thing for you as well, wherever you are reading this from.
Feel free to checkout what this musical genius has been up to. I have embedded a widget with some of Tweli’s Tracks that he has worked on so far. You can also click on the link below which will direct you to Tweli’s sound-cloud profile…where you’ll find more uploaded tracks for your listening pleasure. Until next time…peace!