Born Owen Mwatia in Kakamega County on January 29, 1982, Daddy Owen is irrefutably one of the most successful gospel music artists the country has produced.
10 songs that cemented Daddy Owen's legacy as a gospel superstar
Award-winning gospel singer Daddy Owen, the King of Kapungala, has cemented his name in the music industry as one of the most successful gospel singers.
In the span of his musical career, Daddy Owen has won at least 28 awards for songs that were certified hits in Kenya and Africa.
He was the Groove Awards Male Artist of the Year consecutively from 2009 to 2011 and, he also performed and took home an award at the 2010 MTV MAMA awards in Lagos-Nigeria.
When he ventured into music in 2003, following in the footsteps of his elder brother Roy Smith Mwatia 'Rufftone', many were skeptical that he would succeed in coming up from under the shadows because Rufftone was a top gospel artiste at the time.
Having survived a mob beating over theft in his early days in Nairobi, Owen turned his life around and it inspired his entry into gospel music.
Through bespoke music videos and strategic collaborative projects, he rose to become an icon of legendary status for young Kenyans - especially those who were acculturated to avoid secular music.
At the height of his career, Daddy Owen had released seven albums and at least 10 hit singles which made him a household name.
This writer highlights the songs that built a name for him in the music scene.
1. Yesu (2004)
Released in 2004, Daddy Owen's 'Yesu' was the first song he released with a music video.
The song which featured singer She-Lah was also Owen's first song that received airplay on TV which slowly saw him enter the mainstream music space.
2. System ya Kapungala (2009)
Arguably one of the biggest urban gospel songs, ‘System ya Kapungala’ changed everything for Daddy Owen.
'System ya Kapungala' was among the first gospel songs to be played in nightclubs and took over the airwaves for months.
The track was a mix of Kenya's Kapuka and Congo's Lingala, hence, Kapungala.
3. Warn Dem (2009)
A joint project by gospel artists, Daddy Owen joined his brother Rufftone, Verbal, Danco, and others to make a song which was a hit.
4. Tobina (2010)
‘Tobina’ or ‘Kupe De Kalle’ was another banger that saw the singer bag awards locally and internationally.
The video was shot at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) rooftop and was popular due to Lingala vibe the singer brought out in the song.
So big was the song that it was played on MTV, making it the first Kenyan gospel song to be played on the station.
The song went ahead to win the MTV MAMA award the following year and landed him tens of live performance opportunities.
5. Kiriro (2010)
'Kiriro' a Kikuyu word for 'cry' was an emotional song that bagged Daddy Owen several awards including the Groove awards for song of the year, collabo of the year and central song of the year in 2010.
6. Saluti (2011)
After a successful year in 2010, Daddy Owen was back with an even bigger song 'Saluti' where he featured major female gospel stars.
Among the artists featured in the song include Emmy Kosgei, Kambua, Esther Wahome Masha Mapenzi, Jackie Kotira and Carol Nanjie.
7. Mbona (2012)
The song features Dennoh, a visually impaired but talented singer. In the song, Daddy Owen and Dennoh encourage the public not to stigmatise members of society abled differently.
8. Vanity (2015)
Unlike his previously danceable songs, ‘Vanity’ was a soulful track with a deep message and centred on the trends young people had begun adopting.
The song also became the title track for his album 'Vanity'.
9. Wewe Ni Mungu (2016)
'Wewe Ni Mungu' features Congolese Reagan Sarkozi and is Daddy Owen's best-performing song.
The track has more than 10 million views on YouTube.
10. Kazi ya Msalaba (2016)
The song featuring Danny Gift is among the top collaborations by Daddy Owen. The song releases in 2016 saw Owen feature yet another upcoming artist in what would be a great chemistry between an upcoming star and an already shining star.
List of awards won by Daddy Owen
- Best Music Video 'Shilingi ya Kenya' - Groove Awards (2004)
- Songwriter of the year 'Shilingi ya Kenya' - Groove Awards (2004)
- Album of the year 'Haijalishi' - Groove Awards (2004)
- Male artist of the year - Groove Awards 2009)
- Collabo of the year 'Hafungi Macho'- Groove Awards (2009)
- Best Anglophone artist - MTV MAMAs Awards, Lagos Nigeria. (2010)
- Male artist of the year - Groove Awards (2010)
- Song of the year 'Kiriro' - Groove Awards (2010)
- Collabo of the year 'Kiriro' - Groove Awards (2010)
- Central song of the year 'Kiriro' - Groove Awards (2010)
- Video of the year 'Kiriro' - Groove Awards (2010)
- Album of the year 'System ya Kapungala' - Groove Awards (2010)
- Song of the Year 'Kiriro' - Groove Awards (2010)
- Male artist of the year - Chaguo La Teeniz (2011)
- Male Gospel artist - Chaguo La Teeniz (2011)
- Male artist of the Year - Groove Awards (2011)
- Song of the year 'Saluti' - Groove Awards (2011)
- Collabo of the year 'Saluti' - Groove Awards (2011)
- Central song of the year 'Saluti' - Groove Awards (2011)
- Video of the year 'Saluti' - Groove Awards (2011)
- Song of the Year 'Saluti' -Groove Awards (2011)
- Best East African artist - GMA Awards, UK (2012)
- Male artist of the year - Groove Awards (2012)
- Song of the Year 'Mbona'- Groove Awards (2012)
- Collabo of the year 'Mbona' - Groove Awards (2012)
- Video of the year 'Mbona' - Groove Awards (2012)
- Song of the Year 'Mbona' - Groove Awards (2012)
- Best East African artist - Trumpet Awards, South Africa (2017)
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