There was a time when Kenyan gospel was all the rage. The biggest celebrities and all the biggest stars were gospel artists. Back when J Blessing was still a godfather within Kenyan entertainment, Bahati and Willy Paul were still gospel stars, and every new Dawn brought about a new gospel artist to the fore.
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Back then gospel was such a huge deal that you’d hear it played even in clubs. There was a time when secular music seemed to be uninspired and uncreative and as such artists who feared falling off would make the quick switch to contemporary gospel music.
The biggest DJs what was that spun final and made mixes of contemporary gospel. They had the most cloud the biggest fanbase and were often the most booked with the exception of maybe one or two secular DJs. In fact, they were so popular that most companies would hire them for events favouring them over their secular counterparts.
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Those days have long since died. The Kenyan gospel scene is bereft of any Talent and what we have seen is a reversal of all the games that were made previously. Most of the top acts have since switched to secular music. And it’s almost as if they took their fanbase along with them because the gospel audience has greatly diminished.
Why is this the case? Why did it suddenly become uncool to be associated with gospel or the ministry? Well, the biggest problem that plagued gospel in Kenya the fact that most contemporary acts are wolves in sheep clothing. Over the course of a decade, so many were unmasked and exposed that fans quickly lost faith in their role models resulting in them completely abandoning contemporary gospel artists.
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The notion was created that it was only traditional and vernacular gospel artists – you know, the type who were linked to churches the type who had come up through the Church choirs – who could be trusted.
We got to see the likes of Willy Paul the likes of DK Kwenye Beat, Mr Seed and the rest all get implicated in sex scandals. It got to a point that anyone who saw them as role models could no longer publicly identify with them.
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Thus an entire generation of young congregants was lost. And we have since then not yet rebounded with regards to building back the gospel market. Is also due to the fact that churches and church leaders do not connect with the youth. There is no one to bridge the gap between the old flock and their young Gen Z youth base.