Daniel Simiyu, popularly known as Dantez, has faced many hardships but he's grateful to God. The 14-year-old upcoming artiste told Word Is his life took a turn for the worse in 2014 after he lost his father, the family's breadwinner.
"...life became unbearable. My mother could not afford to provide for us and I resorted to begging. I managed to collect Sh3,000 and recorded my first song Mawazo, which summed up all the challenges my family and I were facing," he said.
One day, while he was hawking his music, a good Samaritan linked him to Maliza Umaskini Foundation, changing his life. Maliza Umaskini Foundation works with the community to empower women and young people, and nurture talents.
The born-again form one student at Friends Bwake High School hopes to change the world through music and advises parents to support their children's talents. "If you have a talented child and cannot afford to help them produce music, just encourage them never to give up. Also to the talented youth, learn to balance school work and co-curriculum activities and give a deaf ear to critics. Remember God's timing is the best."
Dantez, who has so far recorded two songs Nishike and Nibarike says he looks up to gospel singers Papa Dennis, Daddy Owen, and Gloria Muliro. He has urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to support local talent.
"Dear Mr President, give upcoming artistes a chance to perform at national events also. I thank Sadat Muhindi and my manager Vusha Canaam, my fans and family for the support you've accorded me," Dantez said.
Vusha Canaam, who's in charge of mentorship and management at Maliza Umaskini Production, has praised the media for promoting local talent by playing their music. She advised artistes to produce quality music.
"...so that you don't give the promoters a hard time. Get a mentor who will encourage you, guide you and for gospel singers, work closely with the church leadership. Have a spiritual mother and father who will always guide you. Also, participate in church activities," she said.
"I manage quite a number of artistes through the mentorship and leadership programme. I teach artistes how to brand themselves."
Just like many in this industry, Vusha has faced a number of challenges in the music industry, one being dealing with producers and directors who don't meet targets.
Most young artistes, especially those in school, find it hard juggling between studies and promoting their music or performing at events but Vusha says, "We always ensure that we schedule all Dantez' shows during holidays so that we don't interfere with the school calendar."
Vusha manages five artistes signed under Maliza Umaskini Foundation.