Rufftone real name is Roy Smith Mwita, he is a Kenyan gospel musician,Goodwill Ambassador for Public Diplomacy of the Republic of Korea, a graphic designer and also the founder of Lampstand Music Record. He is popularly known for ‘Mungu Baba’ that he featured the GSU.
He started his musical career as a secular artist in 1999 but later in 2001, he gave his life top Christ and crossed over to do gospel music. Rufftone is also a graphic designer of some repute, he loves drawing. He had earlier joined the Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts (BIFA) in Nairobi pursuing a Diploma in Graphic Design. However he didn’t finish because of his burning desire to actualise his dream to be a musician.
Rufftone Music Career
He got into music in 1999 and recorded the song It’s up to you which received good airplay from the radio stations. Soon after he went back to the studio and did real men. In 2000 he joined up with Ogopa Djs to record Meeh a popular hit in the secular music industry, which established him in the East African region.
One of his most famous hits is ‘Mwikulu’ meaning “Heaven” in his native luhya.It proceeded to rule the airwaves in Nairobi and topped the daily chart show of a top secular station Kiss 100 on the top 7 at 7.It describes the noble desire of many to go to heaven once they leave this life yet they totally disregard the requirements stated in the bible to attain our heritage as God’s sons.
The musician uses Luhya as a way of appreciating his roots. Born in Nairobi ‘s Eastlands, he went to school in Western Province. Through his music he wants to dispel the nation that Nairobians are out of touch with their roots. Staying true to his roots Rufftone recorded Tsinyanga Tsiwere another worship song in Luhya: a highly successful crowd rocking song.
He has written hit after hit, all of which have received significant airplay and fantastic reviews across East Africa, with East Africans in the diaspora increasingly thirsting for more of his releases. He has released such as “By far”, Usichoke featuring , Tunajipa featuring SK Blue, featured in the Votaries hit Man of God-MOG and Yes indeed featuring Bamboo.
He was nominated for Kora Awards Male Artist of the Year 2003, Gospel artist of the Year 2003 and America Gospel Music Awards-International Artist of the Year 2004.
Rufftone Family, Wife and Children
Rufftone is married to Susan Njoki a.k.a Krystal who is a gospel songstress and together they have two children; Kellen Ogola and Jeremy.
He is a brother to Daddy Owen- Musician and his younger brother Raphel- is an upcoming artist.
- Mungu Baba
- Tsinyanga Tswere
- My Oh My
- Chant a Prayer
- Jesus is my Hero
- Mola Wangu
Rufftone – His untold story in the gospel music industry
Donning a box haircut back then, a stature aspiring rapper Smith Mwatia popularly known as Rufftone emerged when he came across the MC Hammer classic, ‘Hammer Time’.
But it was not until Jamaica’s Yellow man and Shabba Ranks visited Kenya in late 90’s that his interest in ragga music was struck.
At the time Rufftone had just relocated from Kakamega to Nairobi where he lived with his father in Umoja Two estate, having realized that he wouldn’t be able to impact the music industry from his home area.
As a student at Buruburu Institution of Fine Arts, he would often skip classes in a bid to pursue music.
He secured a bedsitter in the neighboring sprawling Umoja One estate where he paid Sh2500 as rent but even so life proved difficult as he would end up being locked outside by his landlord due to his inability to pay on time.
Although he never got the chance to work with Kalamashaka and Shadz O’ Black, who were at the time redefining Kenyan music, he worked with veterans John Karani and Ras Kiplagat on It’s Up to you at Hills Music Studio.
With performances at Scorpion club in Naivasha, Ikuuni club, Machakos and the popular Vybestar in Thika, he got to move to a bigger house which he shared with Daddy Owen, Ambassada and Harry G.
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“One could hardly tell the difference between the ‘sitting room’ and ‘kitchen’. All I needed to do was stretch my hands across to get whatever I needed from either of the rooms that were separated by a simple curtain,” he says.
He recalls on one occasion when his landlord almost lynched him for eating meat while he had not paid his rent on time.
But despite this Rufftone says he nurtured and guided a number of musicians from his bedsitter who have since established a name for themselves and are doing well.
Among them are Daddy Owen, Ringtone, Ambassada, Porcupine , SK Blue, Harry G, DJ Josh and Mr Googs just to name a few.
Rufftone grew in the music industry and the day he heard his song in a matatu is a cherished memory he will never forget.
Within no time he appeared on Mizizi, then a leading show by the national broadcaster and started landing performance shows alongside Majizee, Poxi Presha and the Gidigidi Majimaji duo.
While at Sync Sound, he bumped onto a producer from Pakistan with a couple of tracks. The producer, Lucas, would soon-to-be head honcho of Ogopa Deejays back then.
Within no time, Lucas and Rufftone were recording the song Meeeh, which gave got them media attention and that is when the star switched to gospel music.
Rufftone – Gospel Music
“Although many saw me as successful, I was not at peace with myself and my family, much as everyone out there looked at me like some hero. I thereby considered all my achievements as total vanity (Ecclesiastes 1: 12- 14),” he reflects.
His course that would forever change him began in 2000 when he was invited to church by Harry G. “I had been invited for a show but I did not have bus fare so I did not have much to do so I went,” he recalls.
After a whole year of reflection, in 2001, he joined other artistes who prayed for him and he joined them, as a gospel artiste.
He got the chance to work with R Kay recording Mwikulu and Usichoke a collabo with Henry Mutuku.
He also featured in a number of hit collabos besides recording Exodus to Stardom, an autobiography and Mungu Baba done with 75 members of the General Service Unit (GSU).
“Do not mince your message if you are a gospel artiste, do gospel music. That does not mean you cannot address universal social issues but be sure, if you doubt God, you will be erased from the industry- stick to what you do,” he says.
As many would ask what he is up to, he is busy setting up his studio dubbed Lampstand Records. It is this same outfit that produced the much-acclaimed Mungu Baba hit featuring GSU crew and the popular Confusion track done in collabo with MOG gospel group.
He recently released three new single among them Sirudi Misri, Katonda and Save the World.
“Let’s just say that I have lots of ministry to do through my music,” he concludes
Things you did not know about Rufftone
- Rufftone first drink was Changaa which he tried while still in Form one and ended up chewing a black out for the rest of the day.
- Rufftone hates pumpkin but loves kunde (traditional African vegetables).
- Rufftone is a refined artiste and interior designer who designed Ruffware and the Lampstand Studio.
- Rufftone is acrophobic (has a fear of heights).
- Rufftone is also a farmer who specializes in zero grazing.
- Rufftone likes wearing open shoes because he believes in letting his toes getting fresh air.
- Rufftone scooped the second position countrywide during the Marshalls Peugeot art competition held in Kenya, and emerged the overall winner at the Kiwi Arts competition.
- Rufftone was a fine goalkeeper for a local football team known as Stand Muhogo FC and adores cartoons and animated movies. His favourite cartoon character is Johnny Bravo.
- In Class Three, Rufftone won a basin and jug for the best drawing in a competition. In high school, Kakamega High School, he was nicknamed ‘Atom’ and landed girls’ roles in plays.
- Rufftone got saved in 1999 at Kenya Assemblies of God after being prayed for by Pastor Rod Parsley. At the time he was just about to release his debut secular album.
- Rufftone favourite personality in the Bible apart from Jesus is King David whom he describes as real.
- He was the brand ambassador for Vita 500 a Korean Energy for two years. Today he is the Korean Good Will Ambassodor.
- Rufftone makes his own outfits – courtesy of his Ruffware clothline.
- Rufftone did secular for six years before he decided to switch to gospel.
- Rufftone has released three albums and currently working on his fourth one. They are Mwikhulu, Jesus Is My Hero and Let My People Go. He has also collaborated with several artistes among them Henrie Mutuku.
- Rufftone most memorable moments of his music career:
- Huruma crusade where thousands of fans gave their lives to Christ. After his show and testimony among them now gospel artiste Eko Dydda.
- The second was during the inauguration of the President Uhuru at Kasarani. “This is a clear indication that my song went beyond the campaigns/ politics to the entire nation despite the fact that I was never and will never be part of political campaigns.
Rufftone Music Video – Mungu Baba
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