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John Junior -Kenyan Luo Benga Music Artist

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John junior( John Odhiambo) a known Kenyan Luo Benga music artist had the love for music at a tender age. He started liking music when he heard the sound played and the performance of the rhythm. During his schooling period, he would particularly participate in music and drama.

Earlier on, it was believed that musicians were those who could not flourish in this industry. Many certained they would get immersed in the music world and their lives not as promising. To him he said that he had found people talk about it and it was not going to deter him from his love for music. The fact still remains that he got into the music industry because of falling in love with it.

He had a mission when he got into it. He wouldn’t mind playing the guitar or even beating the drums. Most importantly, the drum became his favourite more than anything else. He is a self confessed drummist.

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His Interest in the Music Industry.

In 2004 John Junior joined a musical band managed by the late Otieno Ja Gwasi. He was his teacher when he joined the band. He told him that he had an interest in music band and he was delighted to give him the chance to learn from him. He taught him well until the moment when teacher Otieno Ja Gwasi at one point became ill. With his music teacher’s absence, the music band members didn’t get serious with it and the management was very poor. He saw the laxity and he was not happy. When his teacher came back, he noticed a massive growth change. He was in the music band until the year 2005 when music teacher passed on in the same year.

John junior later joined the late Musa Juma’s music band in the same year. With his zeal in music he stayed in the same band until the April the year 2009. It was from the late Luo Benga Legend musician Musa Juma’s music band (Limpopo) that John Junior’s Brilliant Voices ( B.V ) band was formed.

When he left Musa Juma’s band ,John junior never had an idea of starting his own band. After losing his job in that band, he had nothing to do and was jobless. He didn’t know what to take next and neither did he know what the future held for him. His friend Milton Ongoro ja Karachuonyo who is also a musician knew about his losing of the job. In a way, he had also participated in his lose of the job at the band in a positive and maybe a negative way as he quoted it. He convinced John Junior to join Jamnazi Africa Band telling him that he had a chance for him . Ideally he had to join the Jamnazi Africa Band from Limpopo band.

The switch on Bands

While at the Jamnazi Africa Band, he found that he knew some of the band members whom he had once been with at some point and a few others that were new to him. Most of them saw him as a leader in the band- something he never saw in himself. His band member would refer to him as “boss” whenever an issue needed to be addressed. He didn’t know how to come in terms with that but again he loved the team spirit and how they believed in him.He got his strength and courage from those whom he had worked with earlier. They encouraged him and he felt motivated.

John Junior’s journey at the Limpopo Band was also rewarded. He had a chance to record two albums while still working together with them. The song Kalisto Baba volume 2 and 3 , Osiepe, Nyar sakwa. The band members beloved that if he got to record the two albums, then he could now have his own band. That’s how he started his Brilliant Voices Band. At first, he felt it was too early to start his own band. His friends not being ones to give up, they encouraged him even more to start off. They decided to give it a try.

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Brilliant Voices Band Journey

When the Brilliant Voices Band started, assembling the team wasn’t that difficult. This was because it was the members themselves who encouraged him to do that and they were going to give the pivotal support. There was a will and therefore was a way. It is now 13 years since the Brilliant Voices band was formed.

Sustaining the band for more than a decade may as well have challenges. Just like any other group may have a challenge, they also faced the same. John Junior believes that discipline is the key in sustainable development of the band. He believes in teamwork at the Brilliant Voices and for a better result and that they are also allowed to leave at will when not ready to work with the needs of the band towards its success. This in result he believes makes even the music band funs to have more interest.

Marriage Life.

Sought after Luo artiste, Johnny Junior becomes the first known Kenyan, Luo musician to have a wedding thus breaking the mould in the Luo music industry where most people believed that artistes cannot commit to one woman since they are famous and women keeps on throwing themselves to them[Luo artistes].

The Rhumba maestro Johnny Junior, known professionally as Johnny Junior and B-V International Band tied the knot a couple of days later and most of his fans are so happy for him and his beautiful wife Nyathi Jogem who has been with him through thick and thin.

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Transparency and Teamwork in The Brilliant Voices Band.

John Junior also stresses on being transparent in the music industry and not taking advantage of the fans like never showing up for a performance because you want more. He says that what brings a challenge is greed and being materialistic. Some musicians get paid to perform for different people after a deal but they never show up. Others he said also go for those who pay them double what they have signed for.

Brilliant Voices Band is still together. Apart from the band, John Junior is also having his part time work which he knows is part of his income. Since 2009 till today, his band has been determined and he is grateful for his bands teamwork.

John Junior is encouraging the parents not to discourage their children who want to pursue their dreams in the music industry. He urges them to give their children full support as music is part of a profession. He concludes by saying music is a life to him.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Millicent Okello

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