MC Sharon, also known by her other monikers Decibelle, Alshaverb Mama Yao or Achieng Ajuoga is an interdisciplinary musical artist from Nairobi, Kenya.The singer, rapper, producer, contemporary painter, writer, author, cultural curator and genre bending hip hop connoisseur who originally hails from Muhoroni township epitomises a gritty blend of unapologetic hip hop, melodic afro fusions and ethnomusicology; a musical trend setter and a go getter in every sense of the word. Hers is an unparalleled, passion-filled quest for life-changing sound and potent prose intertwined into little artistic packages for her audience’s enjoyment.
The Oracle of Muhoroni town wears many faces and dons many a hat and each moniker is a reflection of her multidimensional, multidisciplinary existence. Alshaverb, for instance, is coined from the first letters her names Alai Sharon. ‘Verb’ is the to do word and in this case it refers to lyrical slaying with her pen being her sword. Decibelle represents her Sound engineering passions and sound production pursuits and its coined from Decibel the SI unit of sound amplitude. Belle is the French equivalent of a pretty girl and together those three monikers form a trinity within a brand.
Where are you based?
How long have you been making music?
For almost two decades.
What genre would you consider your music to be?
I am a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary artiste who bends and transcends genre; with hip hop beng my primary forte followed by afrosoul, afrobeat, afrojazz and a dash of Benga and spoken word. Some would also call it world music on occasion. Let’s just say that I am an amalgamation of genre bending, conformity-defying sound; hence my moniker Decibelle the goddess of sound.
What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
I come from a musical family and from childhood I was exposed to music from the SDA church. That is where I learnt my first hymns and that is where my love for melodies started. In high school I took up music as a subject and later on after high school I was inspired to pursue a career in music because I desired not only to express myself but also to become a voice for the voiceless; a beacon of hope for those who were unable to tell their stories and a beam of light which could illuminate human consciousness through elody and rhyme.
What are your biggest musical influences?
My musical influences are as diverse as they are plentiful. I play the piano and that is my number one influence from a young age. I have also been heavily influenced by powerful femcees such as Lauryn Hill, Rapsody, Sa Roc, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah and Rah Digga. On the other side of the spectrum I draw African inspirations from the likes of Miriam Makeba, Fatoumata Diawara, Oumou Sangare, Khadija Nin and Sade; not forgetting Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Wutang Clan and Amy Winehouse.
Are you signed to a label or are you an independent artist?
I am an independent artist who is currently building her own label: Alshaverb Music Group. Thus I am technically signed to myself. Nevertheless I’d still want to work with a big label someday.
What have been the biggest challenges in your music career?
Being an Indie Artiste in Africa is an extreme sport especially in terms of resources and support systems. My voice has always been othered from day one and I have often felt like an inside man on the outside. Then there’s the typical misogyny and misogynoire which has followed me up until today; as a producer, as a black woman and as a musician plying a predominantly male dominated field in which the male gaze and male expectations have been made to matter before my own.
How many songs or albums have you released to date?
Throughout my career I have amassed a collective 2500 songs and numerous albums, singles, tapes and EPs. Some of it I have released. Some of it I haven’t and this is one thing I am changing this year. Both imposter syndrome and the need for super perfection are to blame for my sporadic releases but all I can say is that y’all should watch this space.
Can you tell us a few things about your latest release?
Jambetre Ngolo is Luo for Musical Ambassador and this 10 track offering epitomizes the beginning of MC Sharon’s journey into the ethnomusicological realm. This is the first of at least 7 projects which have been created this year; featuring a fresh multilinguistic, sound which blends the unapologetic hip hop flows that she is traditionally known for with afrobeats, ambient music, afro fusion and enigmatic lakeside vibrations. All roads lead home with Jambetre Ngolo and MC Sharon performs her music in Luo and Agikuyu in addition to English and Swahili. From ‘Muhoroni’ which is an ode to the sugarcane township she hails from, to ‘Set me Free’ which is talks about liberation from a toxic and dysfunctional relationship there’s something in there for everyone.
Any plans for new music or upcoming projects we should know about?
After Jambetre Ngolo, there is Ugwe Romo Gi Yimbo, Ating’o Juogi Ramogi, Anecdotes from the Hearth, Sound Sage Kinda Vibe and Red Petals from the doorstep on the way. I am also working on a documentary and a third book and I am still working towards releaasing 500 songs before the end of 2023.