Former street boy trains his voice on audio ads

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Popularly known as ‘Ba Mkubwa’, the voice artiste is on a mission to create a better world for himself and fellow youth through his creative talent.

“Viatu na bei…viatu na bei…” you are probably privy to this musical but humorous voice urging you to buy shoes in various shops in downtown Nairobi.

The same voice will urge you to buy clothes at a boutique, dine at a hotel or walk into a supermarket. You will even hear him calling you to check out new silky handsets at a shop.

Collins Musungu, 28 years old is the man behind this voice. Commonly known as Ba Mkubwa in his line of business, he was born and raised in Mombasa and later western Kenya. He is talkative, kind with quite a sense of humour to boot. His story of grass to grace is typical of a Kenyan ‘hustler’ tale.

He was born to a not-well-to-do family. The death of his father while he was in class eight further subjected him to adversity at a tender age that would later shape his view of life in a major way, he says.

“Through God’s grace, I completed primary and secondary studies. Although, most of the time I was not in school due to lack of fees. My dream to enrol for a journalism course at the then Mombasa Polytechnic also crumbled due to lack of funds,” he recollects.

As fate would have it, he soldiered on trying his luck on casual jobs. He went to Kitale trying his fate as a taxi driver but failed. He returned to Nairobi to work as a casual labourer at industrial area and failed again. Lacking support, he ended up in the streets as a rascal.

Breakthrough

His dreams for a better life later started to blossom gradually when he was employed to sell shoes at a shop in Muthurwa, Nairobi. “A friend believed in me and hooked me up for the opportunity,” he reveals.

At the time, a trend had gained traction where shops would woo customers to their wares using music, mostly played at the shop fronts. His shop was not any different. He was determined to make an impression at his new job, and persuade more customers to buy.

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He recorded an audio ad for his employer. The employer was impressed by his uniqueness at the craft. It worked magic as they noted increased business. Other shop owners noted this and begun asking for his services. He recorded more audios and sold at a fee of Kshs 6,000. Clients acknowledged that his audio ads changed the whole customer experience in a foremost way.

He is now a leader in this line of business.

His audio ads run for 10-15 minutes, which can then be repeated. “I include humour in my ads. I also describe the products in such a way that it attracts the targeted customer to try out the products,” says Mr. Musungu.

He crafts the audio to fit specific needs of a customer such as types of goods sold and prices.

The youthful entrepreneur charges Kshs 150,000 for an annual deal for high end customers and Kshs 2000 every month for normal services.

He says his major pay was Kshs 2.2 million worth of deal with Safaricom for Skiza Tune. In the arrangement, individuals are able to set his audio recording as a ring-back tune for calls.

In a view to become relevant and increase his revenue streams, he plans to voice corporate ads, mceeing and venture into visual advertising. He has also worked as a presenter at Youth TV which helped him develop his ‘Bomba Bomba Show’. In the show he profiles young and creative talents such as celebrities and entrepreneurs. Currently airing on YouTube, he plans to sell it to a leading national broadcaster.

His growing popularity has seen him grace major TV stations and popular shows like the ‘Churchill Show’.

Mr. Musungu however says that all is not rosy in the industry. He resents the so called ‘brokers’ who exploit young talents in the media industry. “People are also trying to copy my craft but that unfazed me, as my style is unique,” he concludes.

What you need to know about him

  • Born Collins Musungu but commonly known as ‘Ba Mkubwa’.
  • Spent three years as a street urchin.
  • Married and has a young daughter, Angel Belle aged 8 months.
  • Major breakthrough came in 2014 when he started making audio ads.
  • First impression for him is everything as he likes to be presentable.
  • He encourages youth to work hard as nothing comes on a silver platter.
  • Can be reached on Facebook @Ba Mkubwa.