Nairobi News

ChillaxWhat's Hot

How Caroline Mutoko helped Size 8 become a successful musician

By Sinda Matiko December 30th, 2023 3 min read

Broke and broken, the chanteuse who now moonlights as a preacher, turned to music to make money and along the way stumbled on fame.

At 20 years of age, Size 8 Reborn had completed her high school studies at the prestigious Hillcrest International School having landed a fully paid scholarship.

Born Linet Munyali, she would then land another scholarship (this time partially funded) to further her studies at one of the reputable Universities in the United Kingdom.

But her family of parents and five siblings lived in squalor sharing a small house in the ghettos of Maringo and later Kariobangi, Nairobi suburbs.

“My father couldn’t raise the other half of the money needed so I lost the chance to go to the UK. I was so heartbroken and that is when I decided I would go look for money,” she recounts.

At the time, the once-famous singing competition Tusker Project Fame was auditioning. She participated but failed to make the cut for being below the required age.

But it’s at the audition where she would meet legendary music producer Clemmo of the famous Calif Records.

“Clemmo believed in me but I still couldn’t raise money to record, so I asked him to employ me as a cleaner at Calif and he used to pay me Sh6,000,”

Size 8 would gather her little resources and record her first hit Shamba Boy.

“Unlike these days, you had to hawk around your music CDs to DJs, radio, and TV stations and plead with them to play your music. At the time Kiss FM was the hottest radio station in the country so I would send an email every day to Caroline Mutoko and plead with her to play my song. She ignored me for several weeks then one day while hosting the show with Jalang’o they finally decided to play Shamba Boy.”

I immediately borrowed Sh100 from the nearest shops and rushed to Kiss FM. I waylaid Caroline and as she left the studio I rushed towards her and said ‘Thank you for playing my song’. That was the first time she met me, she was so moved and the following many days to come, she would start the show with Shamba Boy, and now every other station was blasting my song making it a hit,”

And with the hit, for the first time still very naïve, Size 8 found herself getting called up for gigs.

“Things started happening, I was now getting road show gigs, and my financial challenges reduced. Every time I got home I was packing and leaving for the next roadshow,”

With the little money the singer made, she scaled up and moved to a one-bedroom house in BuruBuru, a middle-income residential estate in Nairobi.

As time passed, Size 8 decided to pursue her ambition.

Even though Calif Records was the go-to recording studio at the time, Ogopa Djs was the most dominant stable, and to properly make a name for yourself and have it scribbled on the upper echelons of the Kenyan showbiz you had to record with them.

It was either you were at Ogopa or against them and the 36-year-old perfectly understood this.

“I made a bold risky decision, I gathered all my savings Sh230,000 thereabout. I paid rent for three months in advance and stocked my house with enough charcoal, rice, beans, and green grams (ndengu).

The rest of all the money I invested on recording audio and production of visuals for the Vidonge then left the rest to God. I was now broke. It was either the song hits or misses and I am back to poverty. With the risk, I was ready for anything”

When Vidonge was finally released it became an instant hit and Size 8’s life changed for good.

“Two months after the release of that song my entire life changed. I signed my first deals, I had deals I could have never imagined in a million years. I had a deal with Safaricom, Citizen TV you name them. I bought my first car and paid for it in cash, moved from a one-bedroom extension to a Penthouse in South B. I dare say I was one of the highest-paid artist in East Africa at the time. I was making lots of money I mean I was on Safaricom Live, I was on Sakata Dance challenge, I was on Mashtaka TV program. Every time you came on TV I was always there, if it’s not a performance, then it’s a program if it’s not that then a TV commercial advert Life was good” she recounts.

Now married to fellow entertainer Sammy Muraya alias DJ Mo, Size 8, who has since transformed into a preacher, recently opened up on how a change in career has cost her millions of shillings.

Also read: Government rolls out Soil Policy Management Plan

Police investigate death of man found dead in Imara Daima