Mari Gikaru popularly known as Mari was born in 1989. Raised in Nairobi-Kenya, he underwent primary education at St. Mary's Academy. For his High School he was privileged to attend St. Lawrence Citizens High School and Bugema Adventist Secondary School- Uganda for his O-level and A-level education respectively. He came back to Kenya in 2009 to later graduate with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Nairobi.
Motivated by a desire to make music that acts as an instrument of change for better life, he found inspiration from what is considered “conscious music”. During 2009 he decided to pursue his musical passion as a recording artist. Between 2009 and 2010, Mari explored and developed his artistry during which time he worked with several studios, producers and fellow artists around Nairobi.
In January 2011, he finished recording his debut single, ‘Happy to be yours’, which was released later that year in September. The single debut proved to be a success garnering a fan-base all over Africa especially East and West Africa. The video was later released in September 2012. It greatly propelled his presence as a conscious music artist receiving airplay from the renowned South African Music channel ‘Channel O’.
At the end of 2011 Mari began reaching out to his fan base through live performances and showcasing previously unrecorded self-composed music. This widened his fan-base further accelerating his popularity as an acclaimed singer and songwriter, which later opened doors for his career as a professional songwriter. In the same capacity he has written songs for other individual artists and bands alike. His popularity brought him musical attention when he received recording deals among other offers. Some of his compositions went on to win national awards within Kenya consolidating his brand.
Interestingly Mari attracted international attention with record and distribution deal offers from the UK, US, South Africa and Kenya. As a confirmation of his prowess, in late 2012, Mari began working on his debut E. P project titled ‘Let it Out’ whose first single ‘Matilda an acoustic’ was released in late 2013. This was after a series of failed attempts working with numerous producers to achieve his unique sound. The single whose video is underway received “love” around the world and broadened his audience especially in Europe, Africa and the US.
In 2014 he followed the success of the single with interviews on both radio and television. The most recognizable being a feature on Zuku TV’s ‘Raw Sessions’ that recognized him as one of the Kenyan artists to watch out for in the years to come. The feature aired numerous times throughout the year through to 2015.
In 2015 Mari released the ‘Let it Out E. P’ which was released in January 2015 within Kenya exclusively. The E. P’s success climaxed with one of the tracks - Break of Dawn - being chosen as the soundtrack for M-net featured Kenyan movie ‘Flowers & Bricks’. He went on to release one of the singles from the E.P, ‘Dancing to the Beat of the Drums’ which was picked up by UK’s CONTROL Radio. Due to the its success, Mari released select songs from the E.P on major online platforms to reach his international fanbase.
After a hiatus in 2016 to work on the full ‘Let It Out’ album, 2017 saw Mari among 80 select artists chosen nationwide (Kenya) to participate in the 9th National Youth Talent Development Programme in Music and Dance hosted by the Permanent Presidential Music Commission - an initiative meant to highlight and appreciate local talent in the country. He was selected for his vocal prowess and amazing song writing skills.
In anticipation of the launch and release of the ‘Let it Out’ album, 2018 has been highlighted by several live shows among which include performances at the Embassy of Spain’s Residence Kenya and the 2nd edition of the ShinaFest. Mari has also been featured on several media outlets including the morning show KTN Life & Style, and popular music blogs Kenyan Musik and Celebvibestar in promotion of the album.
Mari’s passion in improving life for better is not only confounded to his music. This heart-felt appreciation of life has seen him give back to the community, particularly focusing on helping under-privileged children and motivating his fellow youth. He has partnered with several NGO’s within Kenya notwithstanding his own personal efforts to provide donations to and visit several children’s homes. He is also currently engaged in several community-based projects engaging in training and mentorship programmes focused on youth development.
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