Kenyan artiste Phy

Phy talks about Kenya's music scene to 'African Voices'

This week, African Voices focuses on the evolution of popular music on the continent and how African artists are using their personalities to stand out from the crowd.

The programme reports from Kenya, where it meets Phy, an upcoming star who is looking to redefine the country’s music scene after becoming the first winner of East Africa’s biggest music competition Maisha Superstar.

Tune in to Phy's story on African Voices on Tuesday 31 January at 07:30 EAT and 13:30 EAT on CNN (401).

Despite her recent success, Phy tells CNN that pursuing her music career wasn’t easy while still studying at the University of Nairobi: “Before Maisha Superstar, I did live music for four years… I was about to quit music. It had been four years and we were not getting paid… There were times when I had to go to school and I have a gig at 01:00.”

However, Phy ended up being named a finalist in the Airtel Trace Music Star competition, which proved a turning point for her career.

Phy explains: “A week later Airtel Trace called me and said, ‘Hey, you know what you have made it to the final six.’ That, in a way, was my breakthrough after that. Two days after Trace finished airing, I started Maisha Superstar and the rest is history.”

African Voices joins Phy in her private studio, where she recently recorded her latest hit, Taboo. In two months, the song had over 80 000 views on YouTube and boosted Phy’s profile even further.

The programme accompanies her to an interview at one of the most popular radio stations, Capital FM.

Reflecting on her influences and looking to the future, Phy says: “I grew up listening to a lot of R'n'B. My role model in life and musically is Indie Arie… I also look up to people my age in the music industry.”

Also in this week’s African Voices, we meet Tanzanian rapper Diamond Platnumz and Senegalese singer-songwriter Mao Sidibe, who outline how they translate their personalities into their music.

Remember to catch Phy on African Voices on Tuesday 31 January at 07:30 EAT and 13:30 EAT on CNN (401).