The Engineer TikToker.
All Hail Sharon: The Engineer TikToker
She’s sort of like Clark Kent/Superman. Our guest on Influencer By Pulse is an Engineer who wears her Rapper cape; not to save lives but to save bars. Lyrically.
You know how they say women are badass, well she is a badass in every sense. She's a lovely paradox of engineer and rapper.
Sharon Kemboi or Sharon Vanessa is a Kenyan TikToker with one of the warmest personalities. Remember we said she’s a paradox? Well, Sharon comes both in warm and fiery. She’s well-natured and quite a force.
She starts us off.
‘My name is Sharon Kemboi but on Tiktok they know me as Sharon Vanessa K. I am a Software Engineer and on TikTok I do rap, with a bit of lip syncing and acting. I am a Business System Analyst and work for an international company called Carlton. We analyse prototypes before passing to developers so we are the people in between the testers and developers.”
One thing that stood out when checking Sharon’s pages is that a girl can spit rhymes. Do people often get fazed by that?
“My friends don't really get surprised when I rap but most strangers do. I never used to rap publicly and I just started last year during the pandemic. Back in campus, I used to sing along when vibing to songs; so when I got into TikTok and I did one song people would be like, 'yeah she got talent'. To me it felt like this was just what I used to do back in campus.”
One year into the pandemic, it would be natural for anyone to sort of branch out into the music scene. But not, Sharon, no. She knows what she wants.
“Fear.(Laughs). Kukuwa celebrity Kenya ni kujitolea. People will love you and what I fear is hate. Heh. I fear hate. I really am afraid of people hating me because sometimes when you do something, not everyone will like it. And I’ve seen it from being on TikTok and what I’ve done on the platform. Yes, some people are impressed and there’s just some that are not impressed at all."
"The other thing is my dad. Of course there’s this expectation that he took me to school and so he wants me to be in the field that he paid for; so to him music is a no-no; so unless I have achieved what I wanted to achieve in the industry and career that I am in. Maybe then."
Fair enough. But then TikTok had become a late bloomer in comparison to most social media platforms. Why not choose to step up 'big'?
“I didn't choose par say. I was on Instagram before TikTok. It wasn't well-known when I joined in 2018 but with the pandemic, it became very popular. At first, I thought it was one of those apps that would come and go then Instagram became more fashion/looks inclined but TikTok is for everyone. It's a nice platform to do your thing, that's why I put more time on it.”
I want Sharon on my team now because in just a year, she has managed to amass over 57,000 followers.
“(Laughs). Okay, thing is, by the end of last year I was still at 19,000 followers so this year I decided to do a video challenge; the Khaligraph Jones 'Wavy' challenge. So I think an online magazine (Nairobi Gossip) shared it and people saw it. I also did a Busta Rhymes lyric so it trended a lot as well. Then the last one I think was about hair and it became really popular. It even trended across the U.K and the U.S.”
So, was that the one video that done changed everything?
“The one that did was a sort of ‘rap duet’, like a back and forth rap thing. I did it with a famous rapper in the U.S called Token. I did it in Kiswahili and he did it in English so someone re-shared it and it went viral. I was surprised because I didn't think that it would go viral.”
Show us your ways, Sharon.
“Maybe because I am just myself. I don't change. Consistency is something I carry with myself and on Tiktok. I apply consistency when it comes to posting. And when I get a fan request to do something, I do that. I don't change who I am. I also follow my followers; I like being friends with them.”
Consistency. Let's speak about that.
“Before posting, I have to know my audience first. Normally I look at analytics and I have a 37% Kenyan audience and 20% South African audience so I lean towards videos that resonate with the audience. For example, Kenyans love Gengetone so more of that. Understanding my audience has really worked for me because I do something we both love.”
Has anything ever put you off TikTok?
“In Kenya, we don't have the creator fund and I've seen other countries do that. Like, once you get to a certain number of followers you get under the creator fund. It's a fund that's provisioned by TikTok. I don't think it's actually in most countries in Africa; actually I think only South Africa has it.”
So I should get into TikTok already, yeah?
“Okay, try posting at least everyday. Try 4-5 videos. Based on the TikTok algorithm. If you don’t post your videos frequently your numbers will drop. Hashtags also help you reach a lot of people across the continent as well as internationally. TikTok does not pay but once you get verified, you may start getting endorsements. Verification gives you a bigger audience.
"I think before, in Kenya, once you get to a million likes and you have 50,000 followers, you are highly likely to get verified. I know Safaricom has given an opportunity to some verified TikTokers so that's exciting and a good initiative by them.”
Sharon said something that stuck. Guys, how’s this for a punchline:
“I don't look up to any Kenyan content creators because nobody is doing what I do.”
Sharon spit some fire rhymes so definitely check the video out on our YouTube channel Pulse Live Kenya.
P.S: Sharon, since you’re taking requests, here’s a fan hoping to hear Sarkodie or Eminem on your lyrical flow.😊
And by the rap power vested in me...it's a wrap!
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