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Jua Cali: How fame denied me freedom

Kenyan rapper Jua Cali has explained how fame came and changed his life and his freedom of doing certain things was limited.

In a recent interview with CateRira’s podcast “POVPodcastKenya’ the legendary Genge artiste said nobody prepared him for fame.

Jua Cali, who began his music career immediately after school, also said he would never advise anyone starting their music as fame comes differently for different people.

His first recorded track was Ruka, released in 2001 and was followed by Nipe Asali in 2002.

“No one prepares you for fame. Fame hits different to everyone. It is a small thing that turns out to be big…” Jua Cali explained.

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After his songs started hitting the airwaves, Jua Cali says his freedom was taken away as he could not use matatus or walk freely in town.

“People used to stare at me and that would affect me. It is either you are strong or you lose it,” he said.

Jua Cali admitted that the process of adjusting was not easy as he had not yet bought a car and at times he was forced to use public transport.

To control that, he resorted to limiting his movements to escape public attention. Things only changed when he finally bought his first car.

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“You start adjusting slowly, you cant just walk with slippers in a supermarket. It took us time for us to start making good money and even buying a car. I had so much fun and we would go clubbing but the more my brand was growing, I reduced that,” he recalled.

Jua Cali also talked about his trademark locks saying as much as he stands out in music, he also wants to stand out in his appearance.

“In high-school, I had an Afro hairstyle and I took advantage of that and started plaiting my hair when I started singing.”

He said coming from a family of cool learned parents, it was easy for them to support his music career.

“My mum was a drama teacher and my dad was a chilled math teacher. They were okay and they supported my craft,” he said.

Jua Cali is promoting his fifth album dubbed Utu Uzima, a follow-up to the 2019 Mail Ya Umma album.

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