In 1990, he quit employment to focus on music, which was then paying what can only be described as peanuts. Together with his friend Kafel Maina, Muthee was invited to perform at Pizza Garden, Westlands, for a modest fee of Sh250. Their equipment was as rudimentary as any could get. The duo had only one microphone and they made use of Muthee’s home amplifier.
“The people liked our country music, going by the ensuing attendance. However, one Professor Kimura asked me why I could not play some local music rather than just aping what the West had to offer. Despite my poor Kikuyu pronunciation, we were able to come up with our rendition of the then popular Kikuyu hits such as Mariru by Albert Gacheru. From then on, Pizza Garden was always full house whenever we performed the local jigs,” he says.
Yet another friend, Joe Mwenda, who had just returned from Europe, later joined the two and this marked the birth of what is today popularly known as the one-man guitar.
His life took yet another turn in 2002 when the family relocated to the UK after his wife, Jane, secured a job there as a nurse. Prior to this, she had worked at Kenyatta National Hospital for close to 20 years. In fact, it was through her profession that the two met in 1979.
In the UK, Muthee was employed as a high school Science teacher. The job presented yet another test for a man who was born and raised in Majengo, one of Nairobi’s slums where life was not for the faint-hearted.
Muthee may have gone through some of life’s most painful moments. However, music, his first love, lives on in his heart. With the help of local DJs, he intends to redo the song Dereva Chunga Maisha. Road safety, he says, should be a concern to all.