One On One: Ali Kiba Talks Loving Kenyan Music, Musicians Using Drugs And Nigerians Winning


Singer Ali Kiba has just made history as the first Tanzanian artist to perform at the Savoy in Los Angeles.

And as the accolades continue to pile, the singer is now being seen more than just an artist; he is a role model to many young people.

He recently hooked up with African Warrior Magazine for an exclusive interview in which he opened up on loving Kenyan music, the drug menace in Tanzania and why Nigerian music has managed to penetrate several continents.

Ali Kiba performing at the Savoy, Los Angeles

While one cannot take away the fact that Nigerian have great music, a fact that translates into success across the globe, Ali Kiba believes, however, that their population has helped greatly:

“Nigerians are everywhere,” he said.  “It’s because of Immigration. It’s as simple as that. It helps and its good for them.”

African Music is slowly getting worldwide recognition. Kiba, being among the selected few from the continent to have won international awards, feels that African music can make an impact in America, and the world:

“Music knows no boundaries. I remember back in the day when I released the song Cinderella and a radio station in Oakland (California) gave the song substantial airplay. They would later invite me in California to do an interview! See, music knows no boundaries. Today you have big Hollywood films like Get Out with Swahili soundtracks! Music is an art; it is an expression of life.”

What’s your take on Kenyan music?

“I love Kenyan music,” Ali Kiba told African Warrior Magazine team in Los Angeles.

“It has a rich history. There are a lot of great artistes. I don’t have to list them. But above all, I look at myself as someone who cuts across countries. I don’t just see myself as a Tanzanian musician. Maybe in terms of identity; but I also support a lot of Kenyan musicians more so the new artistes who look for inspiration and guidance.”

Tanzanian’s President John Magufuli recently launched a war on drug cartels in the country. Over five artists were arrested for questioning in the process. The singer, still, believes more can be done.

“As a kid in primary school I used to read about the drugs Menace. I am now an old man and we are still talking. All talk no action,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate and My heart breaks every time I read in the news of such cases. We have to do more as a society. It’s not about pointing fingers and allocating blame. This is something we all have to fight as it affects the people we love in society. At the same time, people should also learn how to manage stress and more so by living within their means and not engaging in useless competition. At times people turn to drugs to drugs because of stress. Then you have to ask yourself what causes this stress..there is a trail…See this problem has persisted for a long time. Yet we don’t come up with solutions.”

Kiba, who also shared that he looks up to himself as an artist so that he can improve, shared some of the biggest challenges artiste face in the music industry.

Biggest challenge is being true to yourself,” he said in the interview.

“Because when you have certain principles and others don’t like them, they will say you are prideful. being real. I hate that in our industry there are many fake people. Having said that, I like all people. I don’t have a favorite in terms of musicians. maybe my brother. That’s why I support all people.”




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