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Didge: I can handle the heat now

Max Nyatome commonly known as Didge has been missing from the music scene for a while now. His time as one of ‘the rich and famous’ taught him many lessons, some so hard they forced him  into ‘exile’.

He is now back; bigger and rejuvenated. He talked to Chillax  about how music, fame and the fast life almost made him lose his mind.

Where have you been?

I have been around venturing into different businesses that do not involve music. I tried to open a company but it did not work out and I ended up losing a lot of money. It was a tough time for me. I’m  currently working on a new album which has more love songs.

I plan to release it before the end of this month. When I first came into the limelight, I was scared because people had such big expectations of me and I feared I might fail them.

Tell me more…

After taking part in the South African music reality show Project Fame everything happened so fast. I was being pushed by producers and fans to put up a certain image that was not me. I  was very depressed with the fake smiles and everything else.

All that you believed in gets changed so as to satisfy the market. All this really got to me that there was a time when I almost lost it. Were it not for my family and my pastor who encouraged me, you would be writing  a different story.

That is why this new album will be different because it is 100 per cent inspired by the changed me. The previous songs I did were being influenced by other people.

Seven years is a long time to be away. Should we expect this to happen often, even after you release the new album?

I hope not. Music is all about talking about something not just making songs that do not have direction.  I call my album vintage Swahili blues and I want to put Kenyan RnB music on the international charts.

Breaks are healthy for any musician, they give you time to reflect on your music and gather up what to say in your next album. I will take breaks but hopefully not as long as this one.

You say that you want to put Kenyan RnB on the international charts. Have current artistes failed to achieve this?

I think the problem with my colleagues is how they write their music. The songs that I am about to release are all about life’s challenges, such as the death of a loved one, learning to love again, the difference between lust and love among other topics.

All these are situations that we can relate to. In addition to this, the artistes who have made it need to work with upcoming ones as mentors so that they can understand what they need to develop when joining the industry.

You see a lot of talented youths who try out different genres but never get anywhere because they were not guided. We need to find out why Kenya’s entertainment industry is not doing well as Nigeria’s.

What is the hardest thing that you have ever gone through?

Coming back to the industry. That is the hardest thing for any artiste who was there before, but I have learnt that for an artiste, you have to adapt or die. You need to evolve with the music and the new styles in the market.

Are you going back to radio or is music all you are interested in doing at the moment?

I am thinking about going back to radio — right now there are two stations that want to hire me. I am also trying to do a couple of TV shows. I am trying to be the Kenyan Ryan Seacrest, involved all-round in media.

I also plan to go back to school and become the chef I have always wanted to be. I love cooking. This year will definitely expose what I have been working on all the time I was away.