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11 Kenyan artists with top academic qualifications

Education as it is often said is the key that opens doors to many in whatever field one opts to pursue.

Artistes, Maureen Kunga, Holy Dave, Wahu and Nameless who are among the list of most learned musicians in Kenya

In an attempt to follow what their hearts love, most of our musicians landed in music despite having pursued academics to high levels.

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However, not all cases lead one into greener pastures that are in line with their area of study, there are those who find joy in a whole different field.

At the same time, in a changing world just as it is with other professions, people are finding it easy to juggle different careers.

Often, many people find breakthroughs in fields that are not related to their area of study while others are lucky enough to practice whatever they studied in institutions of higher learning.

In this article, we look into some of our local musicians who are top brains and have a well-documented academic life, and still find time to leave a mark in the entertainment industry.

TV presenter cum musician David Muthengi aka Holy Dave exited Royal Media Services after three years of hosting one of its popular gospel shows, Bambika.

He announced his departure from Citizen TV, saying that he had resolved to give his undivided attention to his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) studies.

Holy Dave, a former senior Computer Science student at Daystar University spent his formative years in the United States where his passion for music began to develop, influenced by groups such as DC Talk and MC Hammer.

The 38-year-old is a lecturer teaching Entrepreneurship and Community Development at a local private university.

If there is a man that every man leave alone artistes would want to borrow a leaf from anyone, it would be from Nameless. He is a man who has been tried, tasted, and stood the tests. He is exemplary and a man who wears many coats.

David Mathenge, 46, better known by his stage name Nameless, is a Kenyan pop artist, songwriter, and architect, which is his profession. Nameless is a graduate of the University of Nairobi with a degree in architecture

Nameless, through his musical talents, has paved the way for many artists in the country to be recognized globally and get opportunities to work with other African artists.

He rose to fame in the late 90s through a star-search contest on Kenya's hip-hop music station Capital FM which he won with his original song ‘Mega Rider’.

Rosemary Wahu Kagwi was born on March 22 in the year 1980 in Nairobi. Wahu attended Hospital Hill Primary school and proceeded to Precious Blood High School, which is located in Riruta. It is said that Wahu wrote her first song while still in school.

Wahu is a former model and University of Nairobi student, graduating with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Communication.

She started her musical career in 2000. She released her first single ‘Niangalie’, which received positive reception all over Africa and the world at large. Her first three singles were ‘Niangalie’, ‘Esha’, and Liar’. Wahu released her first major hit, ‘Sitishiki’ around 2005.

Wahu met her husband, Nameless while the two were schooling at the University of Nairobi.

Pastor T Mwangi started as Mr T, a gospel musician with a strong and fearless cut in his songs, speaking fearlessly of the rot in the church, youth, and society.

He has since turned out to be a charismatic and famous youth pastor in the expansive Nairobi Metropolitan area and beyond.

His preaching journey began with him doing gospel music with his song, ‘Maisha Finje Finje’ bringing him much into the limelight.

The preacher who is not afraid of speaking his mind in any congregation he is invited to speak to is the senior pastor of the Life Church International Limuru in Kiambu County Kenya and the Gathering of Champions an interdenominational fellowship in Nairobi.

The father of one studied geology at the University of Nairobi then later a Certificate in Theology. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in Divinity.

Elani member, Bryan Chweya is arguably one of the reasons the band has remained together up to this moment. It is often said that he is a big contributor to the writing of the songs that the band does.

Bryan is a lawyer by profession from the University of Nairobi. Chweya was admitted to the bar as an advocate in 2014.

Maureen Kunga who is also a member of the high-flying afro-pop band Elani followed in the footsteps of his brother in the band, Brian Chweya to be admitted to the bar.

She is also a lawyer by profession and a graduate of the University of Nairobi, where Chweya was a student. It is said that she gained more from University socially than academically.

One of the P-Unit members, Frasha who identifies himself as one of the top brains in the music industry and who refers to himself as ‘Dakitare’ is also an academician and a learned fellow.

Other than doing music, he is also good at matters of human health; he is a medical doctor who graduated from Kenya Medical Training College. Frasha majored in physiotherapy and specialized in pain management.

The singer worked as a doctor at the Aga Khan hospital until 2011 when he resigned to join the music and word has it that he operates a private clinic near Aga Khan Hospital.

Davidson Ngibuini who is commonly known by many as DNG is a man with many titles and professions. DNG, is a Kenyan radio presenter, actor, hype man, and entrepreneur and currently a politician and member of the County Assembly for Woodley-Kenyatta Golf Course.

He is also a former Kiss 100 radio presenter and One FM. DNG is also the CEO and founder of 254 Digital Entertainment.

He is a graduate of the United States International University (USIU) with a Degree in International Business Administration (IBA) majoring in marketing.

Sauti Sol band member Polycarp Otieno who does not like too much publicity is also a man of the books. The talented skilled guitarist and musician is an alumnus of Strathmore School where he completed his high school education.

Despite being a guitar enthusiast, he has a degree in actuarial science from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

The fancy-fingered Polycarp has also worked as a producer for known artists such as Lady Jay Dee, Dela, and Suzanna Owiyo among others.

The Rauka gospel music show host that airs on Citizen TV was born in Nairobi and where she studied before proceeding to Knox College in the United States. Her leadership capabilities were evident at her age then as she was a Sophomore Senator and a Knox Ambassador while in college

She was in college between 2006 and 2011 where she majored in both Economics and Integrated International Studies.

Bien-Aimé Baraza is arguably the most recognised figure of the boy-band group, Sauti Sol. He is a songwriter, guitarist, and pianist as well as a lead vocalist.

Bien is an alumnus of Upper Hill High School where he met fellow band members. After high school, he joined the United States International University (USIU) for Journalism and Media Studies and graduated in 2011.

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