It's Not All About Music For Kenyan Student Attending Berklee College of Music
By Marsha James
It's through music where Kevin Mbugua found his voice.
Now in his last semester at Berklee College of Music in Boston Massachusetts, he shares how he got there.
“Music played a huge role in the sense that I feel and this is on a pretty personal level I didn’t really interact with many people my age probably all through the fifth grade to about the eleventh grade I went through a so-called awkward phase where I pretty much resorted to music as an escape, it pretty much gave me control over something, something I could exercise on my own time, something I could developed to my own liking and that is how I got into it,” he says.
“More and more I found sort of a voice as many artists would say through it and I decided to pursue that and when I heard of Berkley when I was about sixteen it sort of clicked with me then that the possibilities are pretty much endless and I decided to pursue that.”
Kevin Mbugua is from Mombasa, Kenya. Although music plays a big part in his life, his major goes beyond the core of music itself.
“The major I am pursuing right now is called the Music Business and Management major.
It is probably the most popular major right now at Berklee and for me it was a matter of looking at the most viable option considering that I was coming from very far away and it was something that was going to cost a lot of money I wanted to get into a major that I felt would be most practical and most applicable you know post college for me in the field so it ended up that it made most sense to go that,” he says.
“It covers a lot of things its actually grown from being sort of a music base major to a more general media base major so we deal with everything from booking management, to publishing, tours, merchandising within the music industry as well as other interactive media like video, television, the internet and such and it is pretty all inclusive.”
When it comes to playing an instrument, Kevin plays piano, guitar and a little bit of bass.
Principally, he is a vocalist. Going to Berklee Kevin says has been daunting, but he says the ups and downs of being there has been worth it.
“Boston is as a lot of people would say can be pretty detached as far as how people are with each other, you can feel pretty isolated and so the one thing I came to realize although a little late is that you can never been fully prepared for such an emersion,” he says.
“I think there are facts about the very fabric of American life that can never really be taught, I think it just have to be learned. Berklee of course being a very dynamic place was very exciting especially for the first couple of weeks a little daunting, but there is nothing like being surrounded by four thousand other people who had some level or interest in music,” he says.
“And so getting into that I was in pretty high spirits, it started to get a little bit difficult when I got into the more technical and more core aspects of it, but all together I think the experience has been definitely worthwhile.”
When it comes to American culture, Kevin says communication is the one thing his culture doesn't embrace and do as openly as Americans.
“I think the one thing I have come to appreciate most about the American culture is people’s ability to communicate pretty openly with each other quite honestly,” he says.
“I come from a culture where more or less certain things are assumed with interaction such as there are certain things you don’t really talk about to people of certain age groups, there are certain issues period that you really just don’t approach communication and words about what you might be going through on very many levels is usually very limited, it is not something that happens pretty often,” he adds.
“I wouldn’t say that we are a very expressive culture as far as sharing our feelings whereas in America I have actually had to learn how to do that I’ve learned how to force myself eventually to open up because I realize that in this culture people feel when it is necessary for them to talk then they will and they will share whereas where I am from you really don’t talk about something unless of course its brought up or you are asked to,” he says. “So I just had to get use to that, but I really thing it has been a plus.”
Playing music will not be Kevin's final destiny in life. He says “My pursuits have sort of learned more towards global strategies I would like to work there is actually some companies that I am looking into and one particular one in Washington, D C that a global communications strategies firm and I would like to get into that kind of work as far as helping countries especially because of my attachment to where I am from,” he says.
“I would just like to get into more the field of using my creativity to benefit people who are at a disadvantage in the ways that I can then myself grow in my art.
So that is sort of the road I am taking now.
I am looking at an MBA in marketing perhaps so I just definitely like to expand my palette at this point.
I know and I’ve always knew that music would not be the final resort for me I knew there would be more that I would want to pursue.”
Source - VOA - Listen to Kevin.