NATTY - MY STORY
Youngest from a large family with western Kenyan roots I was born and raised in Kibera. My name is Simon, but im also known as Natty Chwani. I am reggae singer with a solid message: "Reggae music is ghetto music... the music of the slum, the healing of the nation”. The purpose of my music is to inspire our community love to listen, learn and live in harmony despite the culture or tribe.
My true talent is bringing people together, I love encouraging the youth and caring about others in the community. My passion is a combination between football, music and arts&crafts, I consider myself to be a conscious reggae musician as well as an experienced artisan: specialized in sandals, jewelry and furniture crafting. I believe that education is key, and therefore, as my main community work I am devoted in teaching the youth to develop hard skills in arts and crafts so that they can make a leaving out of their talent. Although I continue to evolve as an artist I trust that sharing with others our knowledge is essential for the community to thrive as a whole.
My profession as a carpenter together with my passion for music and community has inspired me to launch several initiatives and projects which unite both worlds. Together with a group of friends we launched Ghetto Youth Focus Foundation (GYFF) a non-political, non-religious, non-tribal youth foundation aimed at sharing ideas to find exchange and learn from each other ways to benefit from individual and group talents. In 2016 we founded Kibera Creative Arts to support the community's artistic talents. In this organization I am head of the Arts&Crafts department and Treasurer for one of the projects. Since the beginning, we have covered several milestones: building a music studio, launching an arts workshop, becoming an official filming agency, organizing several artistic events and touching hundreds of lives via mentorship programs and forums. Finally, due to muy love for football I have played in multiple teams as well as coached for many years.
Life as an artist
Live for an artist is hard, complicated and frustrating at times. I believe it’s important to understand the complexity of this profession in order not to burn out or despair. Maintaining a clear level of expectations is crucial to succeed. However, I think that with perseverance, honesty, determination and passion anyone can get anywhere they want.
My message to the community
Trust yourself, know yourself, be yourself and then give to others, because you can only give what you have in the first place.