Nikita Kering, 19

Musician

My Story

It has been roller-coaster ride in the last four years for 19-year-old Nikita Kering whose list of achievements and growing influence in the music business is phenomenal. This week, the singer, songwriter and actress celebrated another career milestone by winning two awards at the All-Africa Music Awards AFRIMA Music Awards in Nigeria: Best Female Artist in East Africa and Best Artist (African R&B).

Nikita was replicating her success at the 2019 edition of AFRIMA when she beat the likes of South African star Sho Modjozi for the Revelation of Africa prize and Best Female Artist in East Africa.

The singer also won the admiration of top music industry players with an emotional performance of her single Tragedy, written to create awareness about gender-based violence.

Her career breakthrough was in 2018 with her debut single Happy with You released when she was just a 16-year-old student at Brookhouse School in Nairobi.

In 2020, Nikita was signed to a major recording deal by Universal Music (Africa) through A.I Music Kenya, and released her debut EP A Side of Me in June this year, containing seven singles including the hit songs Ex, Where You Been, and Never Let You Go.

Nikita Chepchumba Kering was born in 2002 in Nairobi, the fourth born child in a family of five. Her parents say she started responding to music as a baby and by the age of three, she was already entertaining guests at kindergarten events.

She developed her stage performance during concert days at Riara Springs Academy, Kilimani Junior Academy, and Nairobi Academy, and later while she sang along to the music of Emmy Kosgei. Her dream came true when she was chosen as an opening act for Kosgei at her album launch in 2011 and the gospel singer became her mentor.

Nikita was selected for the #Empawa100 a mentorship programme for fresh talent across Africa spearheaded by the renowned Nigerian artist Mr Eazi in 2019. She was awarded funding of $3,000 (Sh337,000) to produce her first video for the single Tragedy.

In the last three years, her music has taken her to performances in the US, Germany, South Africa and Nigeria.

She has also enhanced her other talents, such as stage performance in the role of Deena Jones in the Brookhouse School stage production of the musical Dream Girls (the role played by her idol Beyoncé in the film). She also draws inspiration from powerful vocalists such as Whitney Houston and Adele.

In June 2020, Nikita graduated from Brookhouse International School after completing the BTECH Diploma specialising in music performance, marketing and production. Among her tutors at Brookhouse was the renowned singer and songwriter Eric Wainaina with whom she recently recorded a reworking of the classic anthem Daima as part of a #ChanjoKwaWote campaign to pressure the government to allocate funds for Covid-19 vaccination of the population.

Nikita’s career is still in its infancy yet the power of her music is already propelling her to the same heights as some of Africa’s biggest stars as was evident at the AFRIMA Awards in Lagos last weekend.

Bill Odidi