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What you dint know about Vybez Awards CEO Aleki Alex

Yesterday evening I went to the Vic Hotel to grab a cup of coffee – I am sort of a coffee addict and since the closure of KnK I have been to every joint they brew coffee in this town and yesterday was my opportunity to sample the coffee at this joint.

Alex at Vybez Awards 2013

As I waited for my order of cappuccino I noticed one Alex  walk in, he was apparently coming in for a business meeting with a client but because he had fifteen minutes to spare he decided to join me at my table. His main reason was to scold me for skipping a Vybez Awards Committee meeting which he had invited me to earlier – I profusely apologize for my not being able to attend.

I quickly change the conversation when the idea of writing about this guy who little is known of his personal life hits my mind – yes stories come from anywhere!

You all call him Aleki Alex but Uhuru Kenyatta knows him as Alex Owino. When he was growing up in Kisumu’s Argwins Estate he never had the slightest dream that someday he will be an entertainment and event’s mogul.

All that the young Alex ever wanted to be was a geek!

“I was fascinated by computers the first time I interacted with them. I will call it love at first sight and at that moment I knew I wanted to be an IT guru. That is how I ended up at KCA University to study IT, ” says Alex as a rather shy awkward smile escapes his cheeks.

“Ominde, you are putting me in a very awkward position talking about myself. I am not used to doing this kind of stuff,” he continues as he struggles to explain why he is reluctant to accept the angle am taking with our impromptu meeting.

Alex the Teetotaler 

I ask if he would mind a bottle of beer or a shot of whiskey so that we can be on the same level but poor Alex does not partake of fermented products.

“I don’t drink alcohol, but coffee would do just fine,” he calmly informs me.

Forgive me for being shocked, I know Alex to be somewhat a party animal, I don’t even know how he missed my list of Kisumu’s top ten socialites but as you all know that list has of late been contested with one of the main guys being embroiled in a debt scandal that took Kisumu by storm a few days ago. One Fofona Bangale even called me this morning to ask me to do a fresh list of Kisumu Socialites.

The fun loving Alex does not drink alcohol 

How did he end up in events and entertainment, I ask

“It has everything to do with my first love – computers. I came across this software called Fruity Loops that producers use to make beats. I tried my hands on it and soon felt like I would give Dr. Dre a run for his money,” he explains.

Alex’s encounter with the music production software would see him work closely with then up and coming producers as well as musicians like Hycink and Kunoma at his Maboyz Records label.

Music was not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life so he went back to start a business he runs to date where he sells computers and computer accessories as well as doing programming and computer networking for clients.

He however dint loose touch with music having felt first-hand how the industry was like. In 2008 he formed Victoria Entertainment which hosted the first ever Benga Music Awards in Western Kenya. The ceremony held at Kisumu’s Kenyatta Sportsground was dubbed Victoria Music Awards.

He is however reluctant to tell me why we never saw subsequent editions of the awards. However in 2011, he came back with Vybez Awards and this year will be the third time that he is doing the event. More sponsors have come on board and winners get meaningful prizes on top of the beautiful trophies and bragging rights. I was delighted to emcee Vybez Awards 2013 alongside top model Ingred Awuor.

How much money does he make from Vybez Awards, I ask

“Ominde, my main source of income is computers and my other businesses. I do this for the love not for the money. At some point I was in this industry and I know just how far a pat in the back can push these artists who are struggling to make it to the mainstream market,” he says as he looks at me straight in the eye.

He has professed his love for computers and music but cheeky me can not go without asking him about his real-life love. “Is there anyone special?” I ask.

Lenga hiyo vivbe,”  is all that comes out of his lips. I try again and again but I get the same response.

His business partner walks in and he leaves my table but one thing is for sure, he is a very humble man who started from the very bottom but is definitely on his way to the top. His love for music and Kisumu artist is profound.

From Kisumu’s best kept secrets we wish him all the best even as we look forward to writing about the special someone he is reluctant to talk about.

                                              Click here to read about Vybez Awards 2014.

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                                                    Follow me on twitter @IamOminde



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