NAIROBI : The pandemic crisis propels homeless Kenyan musician to R & B stardom :

For most of the past three years, up- and- coming Kenyan R& B artist Raymond Geroges Ndungu Jane slept under a bridge at the edge of the Nairobi's Uhuru Park.

Since becoming homeless after a family tragedy at 12, it had been the best place the former choir boy, 22, had stayed. There was informal work, generous strangers abounded. And when both dried up, there were he massive bald-headed marabou storks that were easy to hunt.

Things were stable enough this year for the artist, who goes by Ray Gee, to be in the mood to sing for his friends. And in March, after one stranger heard his silvery voice and recorded him, his life began to transform.

The clip of Ray Gee crooning a Justin Bieber cover went viral across social media just as the start of the coronavirus liockdown pushed Kenyans to spend even more time online.

''Some guys came over and said, ''Are you Ray Gee? Are you the guy that was recorded?'' Ray Gee recalled. ''Have you ever been famous and you don't even know you're famous?   

The first month was actually creepy because I was still in the streets and.....I'm going to interviews dirty.

Sometimes, I would even get chased away,'' he said, as music from one of his biggest inspirations, Boyz II Men, played out of taped-up headphones resting around his neck.

By the end of March, he got his second big break and first real pay, with a feature on a government  sponsored coronavirus awareness song.

With that the singer joined the growing ranks of Kenyan musical artists singing about the virus 

In September, Ray Gee was featured in a song with one of his idols, popular Kenyan singer-songwriter  Nviirii. ''I never even had this kind of dream,'' he admitted.. [Reuters]


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