Sauti Sol's band member Bien Alusa is giving legendary veteran musician and voice coach John Katana his flowers for opening doors for Sauti Sol.
Bein during an interview with Cleaning The Airwaves beautifully recalled how him, Chimano and Savara met Katana of the Them Mushrooms band back when they were in form 4.
According to the globally celebrated artist, they had gone to the Village Market for a singing competition (which they won) during their last term as high school students
Back then they used to go by Voice in the light (so cheesy) and used to perform covers of other artists songs.
"After our performance, John Katana pulled us aside and told us 'you guys sound amazing and have the potential to have an amazing career but you do not have any culture in you.' He was disappointed we were singing Boyz 2 Men and songs from the West.
Katana challenged us to write Swahili songs and present them to him," Bien candidly recalled.
On his part, Katana who also had a sit down with CTA clarified that the boys never came to him for advice, he went to them because he'd seen something spectacular and promising in them.
"They didn't come to me, I went to them. I had a show at the Village Market and I hear these nice voices in the corner. They were singing to themselves and friends.
So I went to them and stood behind them listening, when they stopped kidogo I walked up to them and introduced myself," started off the Them Mushrooms band member.
Katana went on to add how in that moment he asked the young men if they had thought of recording and producing their music as he gushed over how beautiful they sounded. They hadn't...
However, he had one major concern that he couldn't help but share with the group. Katana, in as much as he had fallen in love with the bands voices he did not approve of them singing Western music.
"I gave them my card and told them to show up to a project on the spotlight of Kenyan music that was happening at the Alliance Française, come there and register.
Before I left I told them, you were sounding so awesome but I want to hear you guys sounding the same while singing your own song or an African song or songs with African styles in them and I left," John Katana added.
Luckily for them, they had zeal and headed Katana's words of advice. Not only did they write and perform Swahili songs, they also went for the competition and Alliance and yet again won.
On how the name Sauti Sol came up, yet again the veteran singer is at the bottom of it.
The boys had great voices, there was no denying that and they wanted it known but as usual Katana didn't want them "white washed."
"I asked them their name and they dillydallied before saying voices. I was like voices yes but why not call yourself Sauti. Jiiteni Sauti.
You see in Europe, Sauti they will ask what? That is how the name Sauti came... the Sol came in later," Katana said.
Honestly speaking you just have to admire this guy and his thinking process.
"Katana opened the doors for us to fully pursue music," Bien excitedly said as he recalled the journey he and his band members walked with Katana.