Shoeshine Boy seeks to inspire Kenyan youth with new album

After a year of intense work, Kenyan reggae/dancehall artist Shoeshine Boy will launch his new album One Day at a Time on Friday 27 May at the Goethe-Institut in Nairobi.

Shoeshine Boy performing at the Nyege Nyege Festival in Uganda. Photo:
Shoeshine Boy performing at the Nyege Nyege Festival in Uganda. Photo:

Born Stephen Makokha in a small lakeside town in Kenyan's Western Province, Shoeshine says the new 12-track album hopes to encourage the youth of today not to give up - regardless of hard times, they should never lose hope; they must have a vision, take time to plan and work hard to achieve their dreams. “I grew up in one of Nairobi’s informal settlements and saw how many of my friends lost patience with life and turned into criminals, which led to their deaths," revealed the artist. "This album hopes to discourage the youth from taking shortcuts in life, such as picking up guns or even prostitution, for they can't get far with this kind of a lifestyle."

Speaking about the album's title, Shoeshine continued: “I am talking to myself, encouraging myself and my friends around the world that we should live life one day at a time."

After moving to Nairobi and completing his high school education, Shoeshine joined the Kenyan music industry and established himself as a talented dancehall vocalist influenced by Jamaican stars like Capleton and Sizzla. Since then Shoeshine has sharpened his skills through frequent live performances in Nairobi’s growing dancehall scene. He began recording and released his first album Look Beyond, followed by The African Way (2014) and Cool Shine (2015). He has performed alongside the likes of Jamaican reggae artists Chavelle Franklyn and Lt. Stitchie and has toured Europe twice in the last few years.

The artist says he settled on the stage name Shoeshine Boy as it represents leadership. “If you are a true leader then you should show your leadership by serving the people you lead," he explains. "As a musician I automatically become a leader, so I serve them by brushing off the dust of hopelessness and discouragement with my tunes that are full of life and encouragement.” 

Known for his energetic performances and socially conscious themes, Shoeshine will be backed by the TuneDem Band during the launch. The new album has been produced by EverBlaze Production and the TuneDem Band and is apprently a mixture of roots reggae and dancehall.  The album will be available for sale at the launch at a cost of KES 500.

For more details visit the Goethe-Institut Nairobi website.



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