#TheCoverKe was an acoustic radio talent search aimed at giving up-and-coming talent a platform to showcase their skills.
In all honesty, I came up with the idea when it became apparent that most radio shows would only ever interview singers or performers if they were “famous”.
I mean, you still want to maintain (if not raise) your show’s stats right?
Well my radio show (#WBWR, Weekend Breakfast With Rae) had somewhat of a loop hole in that theory because, I play cover songs and most cover-song-artists are normally living on YouTube with no record deals, no accolades or star-status to their names. None of that. Just incredibly blinding talent.
Cover songs are how I escape day to day reality and I have thankfully found, through my show, that I am not the only one.
Two months ago, I had the absolute honor of meeting five incredible stars, most of whom got into the competition as good friends, helping to make a success of this idea of mine (thank you Gachago!).
With little to no resources, and trust me by resources I mean my good friend, sound engineer and producer Marco Silvestri, we pulled off a pretty exciting five weeks worth of music competition,even roping in team HBR Sheila Kwamboka, Tallia Oyando and Patricia Kihoro.
From afro-jazz artists to new-jack swing to contemporary, Gachago, Bensoul, Cheruto, Wangui and Raaay (our season 1 artists) each had their preferred genres of music but none of that mattered seeing as how they would instead be competing only with cover songs!
They converted African, Kenyan, EDM and even hip hop jams into acoustic ballards and it was Raaay that emerged the winner, getting his first EP produced exclusively and for free at Homeboyz Music Studios.
While we can’t wait to hear back from him and hopefully via an exclusive new single, I do have to say that hosting and more-so putting together a show like this one had its ups and downs.
For starters, elimination week was heart-wrenching!! I think I may have cried for a few of them.Then, to all the musicians and music producers out there, I will definitely be thinking twice before criticizing your work because boy does it involve a LOT! I watched all the artists have to re-arrange and prepare acoustic renditions to big songs in under two days, then record them (back ground vocals and all) in under two hours! One word,… insane!
Over the course of the competition, some artists’ creativity really shone like how Gachago re-did ‘One dance’ in Swahili and how Bensoul re-created Nameless’ ‘Coming Home’.
How despite having troubles with her guitarists and conflicts in schedules, Wangui still manged to sail through the competition, leaving us gems such as the cover to Sketchy Bongo and Shekinah’s ‘Let you know’.
Then there are two of my favorite (ok, I’ve got three if you count Bensoul’s Wake me up’ cover) and they are Cheruto’s ‘What I did for love’ and Raay’s ‘Oya come make we go’ cover.
Yeah one from the girl who was the youngest of the bunch and the guy who bakes as good as he sings!
Season 1 was a trial and error for Homeboyz Radio that despite the blow-overs that made one of our contestants want to opt out and new developments in other contestant’s career making it harder for him/her (not telling who!) to stay on, it proved that it IS possible to center a radio show on pure talent and not fame.
Really glad for having the kind of supportive audience that I have every weekend morning during what I like to call ‘too sleepy to tune in or to hangover to care’ shift because it was their love for the show that kept it at the top.
As we plan for much better executed and more rewarding season two, here’s a nine minute (or so) summary of season 1.