We talked about him, eagerly rushing to spill whatever kind of gossip was said about him. His scandal glued us to our television screens, some series it was. But Hellon is making a come back in the music industry,in his opinion he listened selectively with discretion to what people said, he is less prone to discouragement that’s what keeps him going. An outspoken guy he is, speaks his mind… check out his interview an achiever who is making it beyond all criticism.
Who is Hellon
· Hellon is a simple dedicated and loving husband, father, musician, teacher, motivational speaker, relationship coach, preacher, politician, business man and farmer.
Tell me a little bit about your background-where you grew up and where you schooled?
· I’m the fifth in a family of nine. We are seven boys and two girls. Mine was a humble background in a poor area around Sony Sugar Company in Rongo. I learnt music at our local church and by the age of seven, I was already a lead soprano. By the time I was twelve, I was already the choir director of our church choir, handling songs like the Halleluiyah Chorus by Friedrich Handel and representing our school in Kenya Music Festival. I got a full scholarship to study at the prestigious Starehe Boys Centre where my music dreams came true. I found all the musical instruments I needed there. By form two I was already a member of the Nairobi Music Society which is the Nairobi Orchestra. At Starehe, I learnt voice to the level of an operatic singer and was number one in tenor solo, duets, trios, choirs and wood wind solo throughout my High School Days in my Kenya Music Festival Experiences. I was also privileged to learn the saxophone, flute, clarinet, recorder, piano, violin, trumpet, trombone, Tuba, Euphonium, and a whole load of other musical instruments. By then, I was already an accomplished player of the Orutu, a one stringed lyre. I participated in School Musicals, taking a lead role as Alice in “Alice in Computer Land”. Smita of The Standard was the Rabbit. It was a daunting task as I had to act as a girl even though every element in me smacked of absolute masculinity.
· After High School, I attended the Royal College of Music, England and studied performance, majoring on the saxophone. I later studied at Cambridge University and became a Cambridge University Music Moderator. My background is in Classical Music.
Did you always want to be in the music industry?
· I knew I was a musician right from childhood. Whatever produced good sound attracted me. I used to make my own reed instruments as a looked after my father’s flock of cows and sheep. Music is my key to everything I do. It’s my door opener. I will do it whether I’m paid or not. It’s my reason and calling here on earth. This is why I must play and sing music in any industry that is brave enough to accommodate my creativity.
Tell me a little bit about your journey into this music world, and jazz to be precise
· As a teacher of philosophy, critical thinking and music at the Aga Khan Academy, a post I held for six years, I loved teaching and counseling the youth. I was in charge of student’s welfare. It was so much fun for me that when I resigned in 2006 to pursue other interests, there was almost a riot in the School. They didn’t want me to go. It’s here that I composed very many songs for School Assemblies, Graduation Ceremonies and Price Giving days. Since the saxophone is principally a jazz instrument, I was approached by a great friend of mine, Kanjii Mbugua, who also was my voice student for years to record my Debut album at his studio. His dear friend Aaron Rimbui, an excellent and unequaled jazz pianist was the producer then. They convinced me to do a jazz album. It worked marvelously and my career as a jazz musician was born. That was in 2005. Since then, I’ve recorded five albums including two live videos so far. I’m currently getting my sixth album, Fish Conspiracy, mixed and mastered in France awaiting a massive launch any time this year.
So a lot has been said about you, scandals about the finger of God church and the whole Esther Arunga saga, did it in any way interfere with your music career?
· When one succeeds in life, people will surround them with different motives. I strongly believe that the 2010 saga was born out of envy and a strong desire in some of my ‘friends’ to bring me down. I was slandered, arrested, charged in court as a Cult Leader and many other things were spoken about me. The government took one and a half years investigating my finances, church, family, businesses with the aim of justifying their arrest. The good news is that no fault was found in me whatsoever and the cases against me were thrown out under section 210 of our constitution. The case was faulty right from the start. It was born out of vendetta and ill will. As I’m talking to you, the Kenya Government in compensating me in hundreds of millions for illegal arrest, illegal incarceration and illegal prosecution. The Esther Arunga issue was blown out of proportion without proper research. I was found innocent by the courts. Mark you, the investigators were from flying squad, NSIS, Serious Crimes Unit and Special Crimes Unit. For them to have found no fault whatsoever was a laughable episode. Yes, most people started seeing me as some devil with a horn ready to cause harm. It therefore caused my sales to go down, my gigs became fewer and fewer and most of my friends deserted me. When I finally discovered that Quincy Timberlake was a fraud sent by a Kingdom Hall in Hurlingham to destroy our church and reputation, I expelled him summarily.
What about your social life how did it affect you?
· Well, most of my friends and acquaintances ran away from me and for a while I was seen as a dangerous person with intent to brain wash, drink blood and all sorts of cultic stuff. I got to know how people can reach uninformed conclusions without bothering to speak to the concerned parties directly. Not many people can be given a clean bill of health in so far as our judicial system is concerned. A lot of people bribed the police and the court system to get me nailed bu all that never proved their point. Many people now feel embarassed when asked pointed questions about the whole saga. They over reacted.
Am sure you have heard rumors about you, what are the craziest rumors that have been portrayed about you?
· Some of the rumors were that I ran a brothel, I dealt in drugs and used the same to brain wash people, that I dealt in ivory and guns, and that I ate placenta for rituals. Others are that I’m a Rwandese etc. All these were points of investigations by the CIDs.
How did you handle all this, I mean you are making a big come back in the music scene how do you do it?
· I simply ignored lies and slander and continued doing was I knew I was created to do. I always forgave hurtful things said by mean people about me and prayed for their forgiveness too. A good product creates a market for itself when properly marketed. This in spite of whether people like you or not. My key point is to focus on meeting needs in the music industry and never to pay attention to rumors. Of course where I made personal mistakes and misjudgements, I already apologized to the affected personally and through mass media.
Many young people rush to the studios to make hit songs, for easy money and fame, what is your take on this?
· It’s better to have a sustainable career than one hit song that fades away two years later. Having a hit song is not the issue. The issue is sustainability. Do the hit songs but learn the use of live bands and mature your music by recording a complete album, doing live shows and reducing over dependency on ‘lip syncing’ which is basic playing of a CD and miming over it.
You were once a teacher in Tusker Project fame, and I would like to get your opinion, why is it that after having undergone such music classes and creating a base in the industry why is it that this contestants end up in way different fields… is it just a reality show to boost the programming in our country
· Tusker Project Fame is about the tusker brand and they use their brand to give opportunities to talented and aspiring musicians. Having been a music director there, a position I’m forever grateful for, I came to realize that reality TV music shows are good for viewers but not for the contestants. The contestants are given a false sense of accomplishment. You see, the audience comes in for free, the make up is done for free, gym and counseling sessions are for free, outfits are given for free and the list is endless. Now that’s not reality. It is idealistic and not realistic. When these guys leave the house, all including the fortunate winner of 5 million come out with the mentality of super stars but completely lacking in the wisdom of music business. When their fans see them without the expensive out fits they always wore in the house, the fans are disgruntled. The contestants themselves are awakened to the rude shock that fame isn’t for free. They advertise shows and only a handful turn up. It confuses their superstar psyche and makes them lose faith and hope in their singing talent. Good news is that once one is well known, they can be assimilated into other careers. To that extent, project fame is a blessing to them. In the other instances, it’s a bane.
Politics are you still on the run for presidency with placenta party or what’s happening?
· I’ll be running for presidency in 2017. I just wanted to let Kenyans know that the saga of 2010 was all lies before taking on such a significant office. I have in my team, some very experienced consultants that are giving me good counsel in how to handle politics. In the mean time, I’m building up a strong network of followers through my music and other social activities I’m involved in. I know that having gone through baptism by fire and having walked out of it alive, I’m better qualified now more than ever to lead this country. However, i want to create the correct impression in the minds of Kenyans so that they can vote someone they trust. The backdrop of controversy isn’t a good one to use to launch such a major career. Now that I’ve been cleared by the government, I feel I should start afresh and build a brand new outfit that’s untainted by controversies. Placenta was Quincy Timberlakes’ and with his exit, so does his outfit!
Other than music what else do you do, career wise
· I’m in real estate, I’m an author, I run a stock exchange company with my father in law, I’m the preacher and leader of Finger of God Ministries, I grow Aloe Vera in large scale, I run a motivational company called Impact Empowerment, I’m in fashion and I rare chicken.
What does Hellon do for fun?
· I love window shopping, talking with friends over a meal and drinks, long distance driving, playing with my kids, singing for my beautiful and lovely wife, watching volley ball, watching National Geographic, working out at our home gymn, throwing bashes for my friends, meeting new friends, laughing and taking life easy. My career as a musician is also quite some fun.
What projects are you working on?
I’m working on my latest album called ‘Fish Conspiracy’. It will be launched in a couple of months from now. I’m building up Jazz ‘n Clad to make it an international festival. I’m also working on Jazz ‘n Jewels to be launched in a few weeks, I have an exclusive show once a month at Toby’s Club in Runda. Each ticket goes for 300 dollars. I’m about to put up some residential houses in our plot in Ruiru and the list is endless.
Three words to sum up what you have achieved?
· Predestined Mandatory Success!