Lucky Ones

A security breach compromises my log in credentials. The IT head on the line demands that I answer  a trivia question created with my account in November 2018.

‘Who is your favorite artist?

‘Could you please spell that?.’

‘N-Y-A-S-H-I-N-S-K-I’

‘Okay you are good. It should grant you access now.’

2018 

I attend the 10 year Blankets and Wine because the line up is too good to pass on. Muthoni The Drummer Queen who has set her on path of pleasant disruption brings together an event that history books will revere. We, my radio producer and I, are here to enjoy a break from the hustle of carrying the weight of a daily Radio and TV show. I mainly dragged her here because I experience anxiety in crowds as a chronicle home buddy.

There is an artist I am interested in watching live. I first write of his subtle return into the scene on a music blog that I previously ran with my friend. It is a dip toes into the water collaboration with Nameless. He keeps a low profile focusing instead on his craft.

A single follows explaining a 10 year hiatus. Nothing too detailed but enough to  stop the scrutiny. Back to work again. Each single is a hit. The fans are excited and yearn for album. More singles and tear jerker music videos. He is not back because he never left.

Live performances are the litmus of artist. Granted it takes a village, a financial investment and social capital to deliver quality. Stage presence, you either have it or not. His introduction is as mysterious as his personal life. Nothing too flashy. A spotlight, a mic and a head wrap. He is not fazed by the cheers and they are loud. A mastery that comes with life experiences.

I  wonder what the past decade away from his craft means for him. How do you stay away from the very thing that breathes life to you? That which you do effortlessly that you almost forget how much work goes into it.

He delivers a stellar performance. With each song  a careful revelation of a journey that leads to this stage. We sing along (mostly screaming for me) to every hit.  Halfway through it clear that the audience is insatiable.

Exit stage left.

2020

Trump is president of the United States. Prince Harry is no longer the Duke of Sussex. Kenya has a 7pm curfew. Boris Johnson is the UK’s Prime minister. India’s skies are blue again. Animals are recalling cities. This is not a set up for a David Baldacci global thriller. It is 2020 and we are in the thick of a global pandemic.

The world is in self-isolation, Covid-19 patients are in quarantine, Zoom shares are on a meteoric rise and governments are in disarray. The arts are the lifeline to sanity. Creatives invent ways of expression. Tiktok, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and any potential of the World Wide Web becomes a stage.

08.04.20 – 9:30pm 

The performance is set for 2pm my time. I am on three hours of sleep, writing emails to my students and attending Zoom meetings. This performance is my treat for all the work forked out this week. It is an online stream album release party. All are invited. Hours earlier reminders are set. Ten minutes to the premiere of ‘Lucky You‘ throngs of fans and splattered on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. At one point during the half hour of pure brilliance, is a cumulative 17.9k people watching live across the three platforms.

Impeccable quality backed by a team of geniuses changes the scope of live performances. The standards have been set and social media is ablaze with excitement. The performance is peppered with surprises that distract from a global pandemic.

Comparison is a thief of joy. It is not time to use this performance to discount the efforts by other creatives. Nyashinski’s online album release is the culmination of hard work, craft mastery, support and investment. There is a journey to get to this point.

Ours is not to gawk at others for ‘falling short’ of the same performance. This is a realization on potential of the internet that has deemed physical boundaries malleable. It is an appreciation that we are alive to experience greatness. In a time of great uncertainty it is the artists who provide joy.

May we never forget that on this day we were the lucky ones.

Lucky you will be available on all digital platforms starting April 17, 2020.


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