Grandpa Records is dead, and it happened silently. Shocking, right? The stable that once represented the Kenyan industry’s prevailing sound is no more. There have, of course, been issues surrounding the exit of top artists but we thought, considering its muscles, it would manage to reinvent. No, it didn’t.
Actually, the breaking news is that the recording business model is not thriving in Kenya. It’s surviving under intensive life support. You see, the silence with which Grandpa faded into its current oblivion is quite telling. Our industry is characterized by personalities, not the content in the music. When you are on top, fans worship you, and by extension, your music, however meaningless it is. When you are out, your music stops too. Labels are supposed to live longer, so they should be run with such longevity as part of the plan.
Back to Grandpa, it was once labelled the largest in East and Central Africa. That was before Diamond’s Wasafi became what it is today. DNA, Visita, Kenrazy are some of the big names that, at one time, flew the flag. Well, wrangles are expected and a few exits are kinda unavoidable, but it becomes a shock when the last of the artists on the roster leaves. The past two years saw Dufla Diligon pick the baton. Although Uganda’s Cindy was also in the picture, it’s Gin Ideal that remained as another major signee. Fast-forward to today and Gin Ideal is signed to Taurus Muzik and Dufla has left to work with Visita (Granpda’s former Vice President) at Hela Records.
Who is left? Maybe, the President and his fimbo.