Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seven traits of highly effective entertainers

Now, that headline as many of you know has been borrowed from one of the most popular self-help books in the world — The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People — which has sold more than 15 million copies in 38 languages since first publication.

I am not a self-help books kind of a reader, but this title just hit me and had me thinking, what are some of the traits that make an entertainer an effective and successful one? This is what I came up with.

The first question any artiste should ask themselves is whether they entertain. That is all you are supposed to do and if you do not entertain, then you are in the wrong boat my friend.

How do you know if you entertain? Simple, do people like your work? If you have been in the industry for ten years and are still regarded as an up and coming actor/musician/model, then it is time to pack up and leave.

The second thing is, do you set standards or are you are a sheep and all you do is follow? You know you are influential when you do something and people take it up. Look at Rihanna! She decides to shave off her hair on one side and suddenly you have girls all over the world doing the same.

Kanye West shows up at an award show wearing shades with grills on them and soon every teenage male is rocking them. By the way if you are over 19 and you wear those shades, then you need to pay more taxes.

Kenyan entertainers are at a point where they can influence culture. I want to watch a Marya, Wahu or Amani video in which they are introducing a new trend, not just following what international artistes are doing. If you can influence a generation, then my dear friend, you have made it.

Third. Do you command respect from your peers and the market? Respect differs but it pretty much boils down to one thing — do people sit up and listen when you release a new show, song or trend?

People do not have to like you to respect you. Confused? Good. I do not like Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber for instance, but I respect the force that is their brands.

Get me now? When these two do a song, you can bet that I will want to listen and watch the videos to see what they have come up with.

Fourth. What is your strategy? I am really sick and tired of being sick and tired of artistes, both up coming and established, asking me what I think their strategy should be.

Many do not have a strategy when they set out to join the entertainment industry. They just do a song, it hits and they are left wondering what to do next. That is not how to grow a brand.

From the word go, know your style and have a road map for your career. Know who to deal with, associate with, and how. This helps your fans understand you better.

Fifth. Do you take risks? Local artistes are renowned for being square. The style that they start with is the same style they will go out with.

Take risks, they do pay off. The fans may not like it at first, but they will respect you. Now here’s the difference, don’t make crap music saying that is taking risks, no, that is being dumb, risks require rule number four — strategy.

Sixth. How well do you research on your art? Did I mention that there are Kenyan artistes who do not know what a ‘rider’ is? Really, how do you not know of the one thing that is very important to your career?

You need to know what the new trends across the world are, and what your fans are feeling. Look at STL’s music, it goes with the worldwide trend but she doesn’t get lost in the mic.

And the last one, originality. This is an easy one; is your style unique or you copy what every other person is doing? Are you doing gospel or Afro fusion because everybody is, and that is what’s in?

You can adopt to suit the current trend but don’t change to copy what’s happening. Adapting and copying are two totally different things. Class is dismissed.


  1. Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one! painters melbourne

  2. Wow! mind blowing! Kenyan artistes need to read this and gain a trick or two...

  3. Thanks for the review of the book. It sounds very interesting. I can't wait to grab a copy for my own. Thanks for this! Marie Greenhalgh

  4. Hello Phillip, lovE your blog posts to the E...
    Could you please listen to this song "Fly Away" by Lacuna a new Kenyan artiste. Tell me what you think.


  5. I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! What an enjoyable time looking through so many sites. It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !

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