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What celebs did before becoming famous

Eric Omondi

A little known lad travelled from Kisumu and took Nairobi by storm, becoming one of Kenya’s greatest comedians.

Eric tells us that he did a number of things to survive financially, but the one that he did for the longest time was working as a casual at KRA.

He used to arrange files and run errands whenever needed.

“That was in 2004, but I also used to get hired for children’s parties as a clown and, believe it or not, I also did some acrobatics.”

Jua Cali

Paul Nunda aka King of Genge aka Jua Cali has seen it all in the music industry.

Over the years, he has built his legacy, being a co-owner of Calif Records with Clemo and giving rise to artistes like Mejja.

Well, his fortune did not come on a silver platter. Before venturing into music, Jua Cali was an electrician.

Together with Clemmo, he used to mend his neighbours’ electronics to raise funds to buy studio equipment.

“The guys who live in California can confirm this. That is where we also got some of our first speakers and money to record songs,” Jua Cali said.

DJ Protégé

Disco jockeying has become the in thing with many DJs mastering the art at a tender age.

DJ Protégé (Yoram Mwangi) is one such person; he has built his name on the wheels of steel. His career has been one success story after another.

But before all this, he was what he calls a ‘telephone farmer’. He used to buy bananas from Kisii and re-sell them in Nairobi but he did all this using only his phone. He was about 21 years old then.

“Life was hard and to survive you had to do something, so that was my thing. Later, I worked for Insyder Magazine where I used to organise the Chaguo la Teeniez event. Telephone farming was my side job.”


Nemeye Khadija aka Mejja is known for his unique style of music and hilarious videos.

Born and raised in Nyeri, Mejja started hustling very early in life. He used to sell groundnuts especially made for miraa lovers.

He also used to paste up concert posters for other artistes.

“I remember putting up Jua Cali concert posters, never imagining that I would one day work with him.”


Singer and songwriter Amileena Mwenesi is one of the country’s most loved songbirds. With her strong voice and unique style, the former Tusker Project Fame contestant is the definition of never losing hope after a fall.

Her music career started after she left TPF4. Amileena spent most of her life in South Africa and, to make ends meet, took on odd jobs while in college. She worked as a waitress, a housekeeper and a baby sitter.

“I did this while I was in college. I needed to make that extra cash because as a girl there are a lot of things that you need and the pocket money you get from your parents is never enough,” she told NairobiNews.

Amileena has no regrets about her past and says she loves babies and would baby sit any time.


Cecilia Wairimu aka Amani started singing in the 90s and is known for her songs Missing my Baby, and Bad Boy.

She’s one of the few artistes who have been able to live in celebdom without many scandals and to remain relevant for a long period of time. Her strategy is to release single hits that really deliver.

The Kiboko Changu singer tells NairobiNews that she used to be a sales person at one of the supermarkets in the city.

“Many people think that we are different, but the truth is that we are not. We face challenges and triumphs like other human beings. Status just came after the fame.”