Jacob Obungo (Otile Brown), 27


Singer-songwriter Otile Brown has created one of East Africa’s most successful show business brands revolving around his ability to connect with millions of fans through romantic songs, a reputation as a lady-killer, an entrepreneur, and social media influencer.

2020 was a phenomenal year for him, as his song “Dusuma” recorded with the Burundian artist Meddy, was the most-watched video on YouTube in Kenya.

US music magazine Billboard named him the top music act in Kenya in a survey of the Most-Watched Homegrown Artists in 11 African counties. It is a small wonder that Otile has the largest following of any Kenyan artist on his YouTube channel, currently with 965,000 subscribers.

The last born in a family of four, Jacob Obunga, was born in 1994 and grew up in Mombasa where he started writing songs at the age of 13.

He arrived in Nairobi in 2015 with big dreams and ambitions to become a rapper but was convinced by his first producers that he stood a better chance of making it in the business by writing and singing songs. He still thrives as a songwriter and says his songs connect with fans because the emotions of the lyrics and the melodies are a genuine expression of his feelings.

Otile first came to national attention when the song “Imaginary Love” a collaboration with rapper Khaligraph Jones became a radio hit in 2016. That was quickly followed by a succession of hits including “Baby Love” and zouk flavoured cover version of Adele’s global hit “Hello”.

But the real breakthrough came with the release of “Chaguo la Moyo” a duet with vocalist Sanaipei Tande, which to date has 28 million views on YouTube, more than any other music video by a Kenyan artist.

Otile released his debut album “Just in Love” in 2020 which not just showcased his skills as a crooner but also drew in a host of major East Africa music acts.

The 10-song album features collaborations with Mejja, Khaligraph Jones, Tanzania’s Juma Jux, Meddy from Rwanda, and Kenyan-based Burundian singer Kidum.

This young artist is at the prime of his career and is focused on creating a formidable East African entertainment brand.

Bill Odidi