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Kenyan singer wins Sh3M in US songwriting competition

The competition saw over 15,000 entries in 24 different categories from 150 countries

US-based Kenyan singer Ondari

The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) has concluded its highly anticipated 2022 edition, recognizing exceptional songwriters from around the world.

With 24 different categories, the competition attracted over 15,000 entries spanning 150 countries.

US-based Kenyan singer-songwriter Ondara received the overall grand prize of $25,000 (Sh3.3 million) and other valuable prizes.

Expressing his gratitude, Ondara, who was at a loss for words, said, "I am very humbled and speechless. I don't really have the right words at this moment, but I am extremely grateful."

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His winning entry, 'An Alien In Minneapolis,' is from his third album, 'The Spanish Villager' a powerful and emotive piece that depicts his true-life experience of moving to America and feeling like an outsider in a foreign land.

Ondara, who was born in Nairobi, Kenya, developed a profound passion for music while listening to rock songs on his sister's battery-operated radio. Despite not having the means to afford a musical instrument, he found inspiration in artists such as Nirvana, Jeff Buckley, and especially Bob Dylan.

Following his success in the green card lottery, Ondara made the decision to pursue a music career while the US.

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With no formal training, he taught himself to play the guitar and began performing at intimate venues and open mic nights. His breakthrough moment arrived when a local radio station played one of his songs, which had been sourced from his YouTube channel.

In 2019, Ondara released his debut album, 'Tales of America,' which beautifully depicted the immigrant experience in the United States. The album gained widespread recognition, charting on the prestigious Billboard charts and earning a nomination for Best Americana Album at the 62nd Grammy Awards. Subsequently, he released his second album, 'Folk n Roll', followed by 'The Spanish Villager' in 2022.

Ondara's remarkable talent was acknowledged and celebrated by the ISC, which bestowed upon him the grand prize. His music captivates audiences worldwide, resonating with its distinctive perspective and compelling storytelling abilities.

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Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

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