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SNAPPY 7: Alisha Popat – I’m all Kenyan, in and out

Renowned Kenyan singer and songwriter, Alisha Popat, made a name for herself after singing during the 2010 Fifa World Cup on stage with some of the biggest global names.

Famous for some of her African inspired sounds mixed with soul and expression, Popat, who recently moved back to the country from her based in the United States, has worked with household names such as Lindsay Stirling and Peter Hollens.

The hitmaker of the song, We Found Love, which has 38 million hits on YouTube, and counting, opened up about herself in an exclusive interview with Nairobi News.

1. Who is Alisha Popat? – I am one of two siblings. My brother and I are very close. I went to Kenton College for my primary school. Later I spent a year in Premier Academy before I moved to South Africa when I was 14 to attend the Wykeham Collegiate School. I think by moving to South Africa was probably one of the best moves I could have made as a musician because there was so many opportunities for me than there were here at the time.

2. Is Alisha Popat Kenyan? – She is most definitely Kenyan. She’s five generation Kenyan from her mother and father’s side.She doesn’t have any Indian accent but even if she did she would still be Kenya. I’m as Kenyan as most are here and I’m so proud to be.

After my school I came back here, my home, to pursue my music career where it matters most. So when it comes to that question if I am Kenyan, I always get so defensive because when I read comments, most are not about my music or my voice but are about people telling me to go back. Go back to where? This is the only country and I know it is where my babies are going to born and raised.

3. Speaking of babies, are you dating? – Yes I am dating but I have no babies yet. He is Scottish and we are very happy.

4. Tell us about the inspiration behind your YouTube channel? – I started out six years ago by just making videos with my guitar. Back then, I had between ten to a hundred views and then I started doing covers of African songs. What I mean about African versions, is that I took popular songs and added African sound.

After my collaboration with Lindsay Stirling, the video went viral, so I started looking for other stars who wanted to do collaborations in Kenya and also wanted to help in the charities that I’m affiliated with. And so my YouTube channel stated growing.

Kenyan singer, Alisha Popat, during the interview with Nairobi News. PHOTO | FRANSOIR NDERITU
Kenyan singer, Alisha Popat, during the interview with Nairobi News. PHOTO | FRANSOIR NDERITU

5. What’s your style? – I have always been a boots and jeans girl, but lately I have changed to more of a bohemian, hippy style.

6. The most memorable of all your collabos? – There are two. Lindsay Stirling, because if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be where I am now. The other one is the song I did with Peter Hollens, Oh Africa. Peter has taught me so much and he evens sometimes takes his time out to just give me advice.

7. What is next for you and any advice to anyone who looks up to you? – I’m trying to get this performance Visa so that I can go back to the United States and start my second YouTube channel and also start working on finishing my album.

I have so much advice based on YouTube. I think it is such a great medium in which to build the gap between us and the rest of the world. There is so much potential here and we should take advantage.

Kenya is known for its social media hub, do not be embarrassed to turn the camera on you. When you open a YouTube channel you must always have enough content.