Swabri Mohammed, popularly known as Redsan, talks of the secret of being in the scene for so long and why the durag is here to stay

Do you sometimes feel that the name Redsan is bigger than you?

Sometimes yes, but not all the time because I knew what I was getting into when I started calling myself Redsan. I knew I was going to advertise that brand more than my character.

People always associate the name with the character, which is very wrong. So you will find people saying: “That guy feels so sweet”. No, that’s the brand. The brand has to sell, the brand has to feel sweet and be expensive. But the character is different.

So is Swabri down to earth?

Yes I am, that’s how I was raised. Plus, that’s how Kenyan people are, it’s our culture, we are very down to earth. But when you are already a brand like Redsan, it becomes very hard to associate with just anybody.

Did you know ‘Shoulder Back’ was going to be a hit?

We anticipated it, but we didn’t know. I have one policy: never to get into the recording booth if I don’t feel something is going to do well in the market. I’m signed under Sony Music, I did Shoulder Back in Nairobi and when they heard it, they were amazed

When I got here two weeks ago from South Africa, I was shocked. A security woman at the airport did the Shoulder Back for me. These things really make me feel good as a person and as an artiste. I’m all about giving Kenyans the best, elevating the

You don’t seem like you’ve aged since Julie, what’s the secret?

I thank God for that, thank you very much. We were given hands not just to touch, hold, and build, but to pray for better health, long life and good people near us.

What is your best body feature?

I love my body, I really work hard at the gym, so it has to pay off.

How many times do you go to the gym?

Six times a week.

Do you live in Kenya full time?

No, I’m based here and in Johannesburg. But my family — my brothers and my mum — are here and I miss them. I stay in Kenya for about nine months, then go away for the same period because of work. It’s what is required of Redsan because of thealbum and the collaboration. But East or West…

What do you miss the most when you are away?

I miss the food, I miss the women because they made me big here. I used to perform at beauty pageants before I started performing anywhere. The gifts I was receiving; it was crazy!

What kind of gifts?

I once got a Nissan 110 from a woman in 2006. I value the love and appreciation a lot. I’d just like to urge Kenyans to support us, we need you guys behind us if we are going to take over the Nigerian, South African and Ghanaian market because they have

really dropped a bomb on us. Everywhere I go nowadays, it’s 80 per cent Nigerian music and 20 per cent local songs, which is not good. We need to change that.

Who’s your favourite Kenyan celebrity?

I have so many, I don’t want to say just one because I will offend others. If you asked me who’s my favourite deejay, I wouldn’t say who; if Stylez read that in the paper… (laughs).

Have you ever trimmed your locks?

So many times, I don’t like long dreads. One of the reasons is because my dad told me he didn’t want my dreadlocks to grow past my shoulders. Ever. He also did not want tattoos and piercings on my body.

So you don’t have tattoos at all?

No, people have different values. It’s a promise I made and I stuck to it.

In concerts, does it matter whether you close the show or not?

Anyone who closes the show is the biggest artiste, there’s no doubt about that. So if you want to be the biggest artiste over the biggest artistes, you have to close shows.