PATRICIA KIHORO OPENS UP TO iN ON ALL THINGS PK
Amidst the management of hectic schedules and finding an opportunity for breathing room, I catch up with my old friend Patricia Kihoro. Here’s what went down.
Nik. Your hat collection embodies “PK” the singer, actress, radio presenter, and a brand in itself. How do you manage such a wide berth of creative diversity?
Patricia. I wouldn’t say I choose to embody all these roles. The life chose me!
N. Ok, so tell me, what are your thoughts on living sustainably as an artist/creative director in Nairobi?
P. It’s something that takes time and patience, but with intentional smart consistency. Mindfully pursuing whatever interests one has in the creative arts, things do eventually fall into place. There is no manual or formula.
N. You’re an outspoken ally to the LGTBQ community specifically in the context of creativity — what are your thoughts on the role gender/sexuality has to play when navigating Nairobi’s creative industry?
P. I don’t think one’s gender or sexuality should have any bearing on their success in the creative industry.
N. F**k yes, we all have to work harder to reinforce this narrative. Now, looking back to your time on Tusker Project Fame (TPF), what advice would you give yourself as a young person breaking into the industry?
P. Experience the show for what it was. Move forward. One thing that stuck with me long after my experience on TPF was the element of being judged. I felt like every time I was on stage, I was being picked apart, and so anything anyone had to say about me or my performances, I absorbed, and I let it affect who I was and what I did. It did, in a big way, take away the joy of performing. Now, I’d tell myself that people’s opinions should be taken with a pinch of salt. Seasoning.
N. That’s a tough journey to navigate… what has the evolution of your creative expression been since then?
P. I have definitely taken to being more of myself, unapologetically, on stage. I enjoy telling stories, whether in my singing or acting, and I really do enjoy laughing, so my creative expression has definitely taken on an element of comedy and laughter since then.
Most importantly, though, my biggest assets have always been — and always will be — a good network of people.
N. In your craft, you’ve curated “experiential” situations across our capital, which I’m sure come with both challenges and rewards…
P. Of course, challenges lie in finding the perfect location or venue. Most importantly, though, my biggest assets have always been — and always will be — a good network of people. People are the most important factor in this industry, so being surrounded by goodness is a value not to be overlooked.
N. Ok, so let’s talk Speaker Box. What does the space mean to you + what would you like it to mean to the city?
P. Speaker Box is a space that allows audiences to interact with artists that they love, and also those they may not have known about, while encouraging the artists to strip bare and perform to an intimate crowd and to share more about their processes when creating art. It’s also a space where conversations are held with innovators, creators, and culture shifters. Aside from musicians, we’ve also had sessions with folks like Wanuri Kahiu, Mutua Matheka (Truthslinger), Muthoni Drummer Queen, the Too Early For Birds team, The Book Bunk, etc. I’d like it to see it grow into a platform known for allowing the creators and consumers of art to meet, interact, and connect. And take it global.
N. Yes, the context of Kenyan creativity on a global scale is a whole narrative we need to interrogate. I’m so excited to explore this more in our upcoming podcast… but back to you, you’ve been hustling for days now — what’s next for 2020?
P. This year, I do want to take some time to slow down and ground myself. It’s been a few years of non-stop working, so I’d just like to take some time to reflect on who I am and what steps I want to take with regards to my career moving forward. So to sum it up, I don’t have any projects set in stone at the moment.
N. Project sundowners with Nik then! Tell me, mantra for 2020?
P. Be calm, Be consistent, and Focus.
N. I’m all over that for you, find room to breathe. Thank you for this PK, it’s been such a pleasure.
Keep up with all things PK on Twitter + Instagram | @MissKihoro