Youthful Musician Dogged By Endless Challenges

Valencia Ishmael a.k.a UPReally

Faced with daunting challenges, but never giving up. Fighting on ever harder to surmount them right from childhood to his current youthful age status – that is just the beginning of Valencia Ishmael story.

With a divorced mother and a father lost in the business world of Dubai, the onus was on his mother to raise him up as well as take care of all his education needs as Ishmael grew.

The Youngman starts by saying: “I’m Valencia Ishmael from Western Kenya, born in Matungu Mumias but raised in Nambale Busia. My mother divorced my dad which has been a great challenge to me, I mostly stayed with my single hard-working mother beside dad being a businessman in Dubai.”

He laments that his Dad never supported him or his mother adding that he actually neglected them until now that he is trying to be concerned of their life something that he says always hurts him and his mother.

In Education, his mother struggled at least to give him the good foundation and which is the good Kiswahili and English he is able to speak. For Primary education he went to Bumala Junior Academy and later joined high school in Malanga Mixed Secondary where he did not finish his form four.

In 2013 when he reached form three his mother developed a serious illness that interfered with his education thus forcing him to drop out of school and find a way to take care of her.

Ishmael says: “I became a boda boda, an Agri-business young man selling ‘nduma’ arrow roots and did anything to get money. So this still remains a challenge in my life that I never accomplished my mission, “graduating” as it were and it is always in my dreams and my mum’s too.”

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He ventured into music because he had a strong passion for music and Deejaying since his childhood. He remembers he was very good at cramming peoples’ music and in some years ago when he was in class five he recalls that he used to sing the whole album of Mr. Nice’s ‘Kuku kapanda baiskeli’.

“With this passion I never missed any group Africa’s dancing competitions and also begun by practicing school music competitions which also awarded me many certificates. Also in high school I thank my music teacher who identified my talent and was supportive, guided me until when I composed my first class six ‘Shahiri’ titled mama,” he said.

From there he started practicing on his own until when he organized for a fundraising last year. He says he was embarrassed and disappointed but learnt a lot in that harambee.

That is because out of 74people invited only 6 came to that fund-raising and only managed to raise Kshs. 4,700 of the targeted Kshs. 20, 000. He never lost hope, instead went to Nairobi and struggled until when he recorded his music.

Ishmael says that what inspired him is that he liked the way artistes dressed, behaved and even changed their lives, sometimes he would even cut their pictures and stick them in his books and anything else and with that started following them closely.

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He says that there is this musician who inspired him a lot and that is “Bow Wow” who one day came to Kenya and really motivated him. There are a lot of challenges in Kenya’s music industry that requires only a hard determined heart for one to prosper.

The young aspiring musician says: “With me, the great challenge I have been at and maybe still going through is lack of recognition in the society. It is indeed painful that whatever you do as much as it is at the end of the day people around you never appreciate.”

He laments that they instead demoralize you and at the end you look like a lost sheep in a herd of cattle.  Another great challenge is when someone who is supposed to promote you uses your desperation to archive his/her benefits be it positive or negative to you.

For instance fake leaders claiming to be politicians and some media presenters, fake partners coming in the name of love is a challenge that musicians go through. Beautiful ladies will follow you some will even seduce you to the extend that  you will find it hard to handle such cases, that is because you will be at risk of losing a great fan and sometimes falling in a fake relationship.

“How I survive with these challenges… God is always my first priority when it comes to such challenges. Because I always believe He has a reason why He allowed them to face me. Another thing is that I never allow someone to know my desperations because I understand he/she will use me wrongly – meaning exploitation,” says Ishmael.

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He continued: “For my future plans in the industry, I always believe that when you put yourself and your best in what you do definitely you can change the world. Therefore I ‘Upreally’ Kenya have great plans one of them being to unite Kenyan artistes so that we can demand our rights and maybe improve our life styles whether currently in industry or not.”

The artiste argues that this is because being  a Kenyan artist in one way or the other you promote the country and even bring fame to your country globally therefore you are also among the important products in the nation.

He says what is painful is that when you are out of the industry maybe ill or old no one bothers about you and you may end up leading a very miserable life – Believing that with unity that will end and that just one of his future plans in music industry.

Ishmael concludes by saying: “My advice to fellow youths who would like to join the music industry, first and foremost put God first in anything you do, then believe in yourself – yes you can. Challenges are there but remember when you see a hill, there is a valley ahead, be strong enough never ever give up and love one another.”



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