Every once in a while, when you feel you have listened to all the new music Africa has to offer, and you can’t stand Sauti Sol’s over played ‘Sura Yako‘ or Yemi Alade‘s Johnny or tangerine anymore, the music gods hear your prayer for new music that does not sound anything close to South Africa’s Kwaito,House or anywhere close to
The Kenyan hit single Disco has had everyone going gaga in the last couple of days since the video came out a few weeks ago. The song was actually released some time last year. In September, someone recorded a video of the trio made up of Eric Wainaina, Patoh (Patrick) Njuguna and Frasha of P-Unit rehearsing a shuffle dance move which would eventually appear in the video to the song which was produced by Enos Olik.
Before this video, no one had an idea who Patoh was. When I first watched the video, I quickly did a search online and realized, there was very little information about this gentleman who, unbeknownst to him, is breathing new life to the local music scene.
I tracked him down on the twitter streets and sought to know, just who is Patoh and where
You were virtually unknown before the hit single ‘Disco‘, Just who is Patoh (Patrick) Njuguna?
Patoh Njuguna is a Kenyan born and bred singer, songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist with a passion for great music! First born in a family of three and brought up by a single mother. I’ve been singing since Primary school though I’ve mostly sang in Church. I’m Catholic. In 2009-2010 I recorded an album titled ‘My Inspiration, My Paradise’ but after selling a few copies I decided to study music business intensely before officially launching my career. That’s when I decided to join Brookhouse (2011-2012). After school I worked at Brookhouse for two years till 2014 when I felt ready to launch my career! Disco is the first song and it features Eric Wainaina and Frasha.
Tell us about your life growing up and what led to your journey into music
I grew up in Nairobi. Brought up by a bunch of people – Mum, Aunt and Grand Parents. Two younger siblings – a sister and a brother. I sang a lot in primary school during events but I didn’t decide to pursue music until after High School when my relatives suggested I should. I studied music in high school (Aga Khan Academy) but only because the subject I chose first, Child Psychology, was canceled. My intentions were to become a pediatrician after high school I picked up guitar when I started singing in church and basically started writing songs then. I taught myself keyboard to diversify my songs and songwriting.
When did you decide to write and become a musician as opposed to being a producer, something I see you are trained in.
When in studio I help out with production when I can. I haven’t ventured deeper into production because I didn’t learn enough to give the level of quality I’d be satisfied with. I also would like to specialize on singing and songwriting and so I’m giving as much time as possible to it. It started after High School, in 2009.
Which musicians did you grow up to and which ones have shaped your sound
I’ve always loved listening to local music; The late E-Sir and K-Rupt are among my favorites from the 90s alongside Nameless, Necessary Noise, Nonini and Jimwat. My mother would listen to a lot of country music when I was young and thus I fell in love with Country; Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Parton being my favorite. My writing is mostly affected by the latter.
Your hit single which is a collaboration with Eric Wainaina and Frasha has a more house and Funk sound to it, how did you arrive at that sound.
Disco was initially a ballad. As we started production in the beginning of 2014, it was hip hop but eventually we decided to ‘Funk it up’ just because we can We were actually trying out different styles for Disco and funk worked best. I also think it goes well with the title Disco. We wanted a song that would make people get off their seats, not just bump their heads.
I have no particular style of music. Till now I’ve written more than 170 songs from different styles and genres. My favorite styles of writing are Chakacha and House.
How did you hook up with Eric & Frasha and how was it working with them
I met Eric at Brook house. He was my songwriting and arranging teacher. Disco came as a result of an assignment he gave us in class; to write a song under the title ‘Disco.’ He loved it and two years after I was done with school, we went into studio to do a collaborate. He is a co-producer together with Will Kennedy from Los Angeles. We felt the song needed a rapper who could appeal to a vast audience and that’s when we invited Frasha on the song. It took Frasha a very short time to perfect his flow and thus Disco was born.
Working with Eric was in a positive way an extension of School He completely understands everything he is doing. He is jolly and always willing to listen. He kept saying, ‘We are at the service of the song’ and those words still echo in my head. He kept encouraging me when I was recording my parts. Frasha is the ‘King of Flow!’ He’s also very jolly and lively in studio. I didn’t get to meet Will Kennedy during the recording but all I can say about him is, he is genius!
Are you currently working on an album or what more music can Kenyans expect from you.
I’m currently working on more releases. I will compile them once am done but I intend to release them as singles. I will not stick to any particular style so expect anything! Most of my songs are themed around love and fun but expect some patriotic and inspirational songs as well.
Enos Olik produced the video to ‘Disco’, how has having a video to the song affected its reach and appeal?
Enos Olik is a great video producer! It took only a days shooting to produce Disco. His team were also very fun to work with. Having a video has first of all put my face out there for the world to see and that’s a plus. It’s always good for promotional purposes to have a video; the Disco video has put the song on the international platform through Youtube and TV shows.
Whats on your playlist?
On my playlist you’ll find Phil Collins, Sauti Sol, Eric Wainaina, P-Unit, Ryan Leslie, Train and House mixes. Every mood has it’s song and artist
If you could pick any artist in the world to work with, who would it be?