EXCLUSIVE: Cathy Matete rises from CU to conquering reggae concert halls


Cathy Matete

Growing up as a kid, Cathy Matete harboured the dream of becoming a big name singer, with big concerts and enviable collabos.

Her path to this fulfilling career followed the beaten path that most of her idols trudged on. She started singing in Sunday School, joining her equally talented parents in belting out cover versions in church. She later led her high school’s Christian Union in praise and worship.

It seemed that her career was progressing well into the lucrative Kenyan gospel music industry. Along the way, however, she fell in love with reggae. And she never looked back!

She tells us why she chose reggae music and plans to drop more singles and an EP in the coming days. This is Cathy Matete.

How’d you get started with your music career?

I started singing as a career say a few years ago but music has always been a part of me. My mom and dad sang and so we were always singing when the lights went out and every other time. Followed that through high school, in the Christian Union then later the church and now pursuing it as a career. So far so good.
Why reggae music?
Reggae music is a genre that resonates with so many young people, our generation and everybody else from way back. I love its immortal themes like love, freedom, fighting for our rights, speaking about the injustices in our time,  and generally its social impact. I automatically gravitate towards this. Plus reggae music is just sweet 🙂 No doubt about that, it’s being played everywhere!
How many songs or albums so far?
I have five singles out, the latest one is called No Retreat and its video is already out on YouTube. Other singles are Take My hand, Eternity, Woman and Carried Away. I also have two covers. I’m currently working on an EP pretty soon so watch out for that.
Do fame and recognition come overnight or do you have to build your brand as you go?
I tell people it’s taken me years to even sing like this, I rehearse my heart out, I make sure I’m in the right place at the right time, building networks that are worth the music, looking for mentorship and just walking with people who have been there before me. It makes a whole heap of a difference. You appreciate the journey even more.
Cathy Matete
Who are some of your influences?
Mhmm, I listen to a lot of singers, mostly those that have a similar sound like mine, like Etana, Alaine, Erykah Badu, Chris Martin, Jazzmine Sullivan, Emeli Sande, H.E.R, Nikesha Lindo, etc etc
How is the reception of your new song?
Amazing! Just amazing! Receiving all sorts of messages in my DM’s, in the streets, and airplay all round, even outside Africa. U.K, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi! It’s crazy! No Retreat is a song that resonates with so many of us and I give thanks to everyone supporting the movement!
Are you planning any concerts or gigs soon? 
Yes! I am in the studio working on more content and rehearsing from time to time with my band. Next concert is in Jinja, Uganda from the 21-23rd of this month and one major one in December that I’m yet to announce.
What keeps you motivated and working on your music projects?
I’d say my support system, from family to colleagues, that’s my manager, producers, DJs and the fans. They keep on asking for new music. I can’t give them stones 🙂 Inner will is major of course, I’m a very motivated person, very self-driven. We nah sleep!
Who would you like to collaborate with?
Etana, Alaine, Chris Martin, Pressure BussPipe, Shamir and Lavosti! Top picks.
Do you think you will break the gas ceiling and join the big stage?
Most definitely, I’m in it to win it.
What are your plans for 2020?
Release an EP, do major collaborations and do rounds on major stages both local and international.
What’s your final word to the up and coming artists?
Watu wajitume. Go knock on those doors if you have to, and bring that dream that you’ve always had to fruition. Remember hard work Always beats talent.
Watch Cathy Matete’s No Retreat below.

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Chocha Writer is our roving and much read resident writer. He will write on several topics. Contact him on chochakenya@gmail.com or 0772 808 931