Every other Thursday we have our Mics And Beats segment where we feature artists. This week’s Mics And Beats artists are a band called Recapp. Recapp is an urban mission oriented music group based in Kenya and have been active both in ministry and the music industry since August 2nd 2012 to date. They are a group of four young talented musicians who consist of Edward Obura, Tedd Askoye, Nelly Tuikong and Emmanuel Mwongela. The word Recapp comes from the musical term ‘recapitulation’ which means to go back to the beginning. It also means a state of monotony and renewal in going back to our first love God.
You all remember the Kenyan Hiphop group, Camp Mulla? Imagine the same antiques of the group but this time with groovy gospel tracks and an unending fire to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
They have their diverse musical abilities. Emmanuel is a songwriter, rapper, singer and guitarist. Nelly plays the guitar, sings and also writes songs. Edward is an outstanding rapper and songwriter. Tedd is a spoken word artist, singer, beatboxer and can also play the clarinet. The group decided to come together to form one of the best gospel Acapella groups in Kenya.
Ever since their debut EP release dubbed ‘Proud To Be A Christian’ in August 2014, they have been able to make a name for themselves in the Christian music industry. They tell us more about their musical journey.
When and why did you start playing/singing?
We met in the year 2012 while we were all in Moi Kabarak high school. We formed the group with Edward and Emmanuel first, Nelly and Tedd joined us later on. We all had a passion for Christ. We yearned to make and listen to good music, and so the journey began.
Which instruments do you play?
Emmanuel and Nelly play the guitar and Tedd can play the clarinet.
Do you have a formal musical education?
We do not have formal music education but we have been exposed to a lot of music in church and in high school as well.
What musical influences did you have as kids?
We were raised at a time when Gospel Hip-hop had really hit the streets. Some of the artists we really listened to are Lecrae, KB, Don Moen & Zaidi ya Mziki and Wernono Crew from Kenya: they really were a hit back in the day!
How is the music different from what you listen to now?
Music back then didn’t just have content, it also had a lot of truth. This is a hard thing to come by nowadays considering people just want to make music for the money and fame. The music around us right now isn’t quite different from back in the day, except now most artists just talk about sex, drugs, women and fame in 99% of their songs.
What made you first realize that you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Music has always had such great power over people since the beginning of time and we were blessed to have always had our hearts in music from a young age. We have also been inspired by some of the artists who have been there before us to pursue a career in music. The most fundamental thing however is the fact that this is what God had called and purposed for us to do.
Who are your favourite musicians now? Groups? CD’s?
We listen to a lot of different artists but our list definitely includes the American based ‘116 crew’, Juliani, Rigga, The T412 and Alice Kimanzi. Our favourite CDs are Kamlesh Kagaba’s latest album “Breaking News” and Nasara’s “Overflow”
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
We actually just work with it and go with the flow. We noticed that audiences love realness so if at any time one of us forgets the lyrics, we can turn the mistake into an opportunity to throw in a freestyle session.
What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Nerves will always be there, no matter how many times you’ve gotten up on stage. The good thing is that the audience doesn’t know that. We usually don’t treat our performances as mere forms of entertainment but as opportunities to tell people about Christ and with that the grace to perform flows freely. Also put in a lot of time into practise and learn to depend on God completely.
How often and for how long do you practice?
We practise whenever we meet and we also try to make it as enjoyable as possible because we love doing what we do. On some days we can even decide to go a whole night practising and writing up new songs. We however cannot go for long periods without music in our lives; it’s who we are.
How would you describe your music to somebody who has never heard you play before?
Our music is very diverse. It ranges from Acapella to Hip-hop to Worship music and with our different abilities in rap, beat boxing and acapella; it fuses to become very groovy.
What can people expect to see at your live performance?
A life changing experience through quality music that is diverse and has an impact on lives. We also love creating new sounds so you can always expect some head-popping (due to the Hip-hop aspect) and a generally power-packed engaging performance.
Out of the songs you have performed which is your favourite song?
5 stones featuring Rigga. The song was produced by Saint P and is inspired by the book of 1st Samuel 17; the story of David and Goliath. The message of the song is to encourage people that they can go through any challenge as long as they have God on their side. We went through a lot of challenges to see the song being produced and the response we got was overwhelming. It was definitely worth all the work.
What do you think your biggest break or greatest opportunity has been so far in your musical career?
We have had quite a few. Before the launch of our first EP which was received well, we did a church tour called ‘Safisha Tour’ which had us partner with artists like Christ Cycoz, Kelele Takatifu and Dee. This involved a fun, interactive and intimate church tour where we ministered in over 40 churches around the country in a span of 40 Sundays.
We have also performed at the 2015 Groove Awards where we were also nominated for Group of the Year, Kubash 2015, Groove Party 2015 and TSO 2015. We did several shows around the country while ministering to churches and over 70 high Schools with Kkrew; we also did a brief tour in Morogoro and Dar-es-salaam Tanzania for a show called ‘Jeans and Tshirts’.
If you had a chance to change something in the music industry what would it be?
It would definitely have to be having more unity in the gospel industry and having the true Christian spirit of love where there would be no ‘beef’ but we would rather all seek to grow and love each other. Artists should also strive to be authentic. Audiences relate to particular sounds knowing that even when they walk across the street and hear a certain song; they can pinpoint the song to the artist, even without being told beforehand. Having your own sound as an artist is what makes you who you are.
What are the lessons you have learnt being part of a band?
Team work is very fundamental and for a band to work communication has to be up to par. A good relationship among band members is also fundamental. We’re not just band mates, we are very close friends. Our relationship cuts across to our families who are also very close to each other.
What is your favourite type of music and is it different from what you play now?
We all love Christian Hip-hop and it’s very similar to what we sing. Most of us grew up listening to it and it has influenced us greatly and helped us grow in our different skills as well.
What are your other interests outside of music?
Nelly does voice overs, Tedd does side gigs as a beat boxer, Edward writes a lot of rap and Emmanuel has a day job. In addition to that we all attend university at various institutions: Nelly is pursuing Law at the University of Nairobi, Emmanuel is doing Economics and Statistics at the same institution, Edward is doing a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce in JKUAT while Tedd is pursuing IT at JKUAT as well. Even with our education, music still revolves around our day-to-day schedules.
What keeps you going as a musicians?
We love music and there is no day where we have imagined our lives without it. The Grace of God and God’s purpose for us also keeps us going. We have been given these gifts to be able to bring people closer to Him and we live to see people giving their lives to Christ; it drives us even more when young people, just like us, strive to live their lives dedicated to serving God.
Where would you like to see yourself within the next five years as artists? What are your long term career goals?
At the top as we make even more music haha. Maybe even do world tours by the grace of God. We would want to have our music influence the culture of Kenya, Africa and the world at large in a Godly way; in a way where they can be Proud To Be A Christian.
If you were to perform with anybody/group in the world, either dead, alive who would it be? (You can name a couple of people)
Definitely Lecrae, KB and Andy Mineo; all from the 116 crew. The Unashamed Tour that they did in Africa was so amazing, we would definitely love the opportunity to grace the stage with them.
What are your up to date performance plans? New releases? Tours? News
We recently released a new single with EkoDydda which is a remix of ‘All Day Err Day’ from the EP. We’ve also been endlessly working to finish our 2nd album ‘Ambition’ which is almost done, thereafter we shall hold a tour.