Kenyans have been listening to country for 50 years -- ever since Kenya gained independence from Britain. The songs were especially popular in the country’s farming areas. But the homegrown country music industry in Kenya still has a long way to go. One artist driving the movement forward is Elvis Otieno, known as "Sir Elvis."
NICK SCHIFRIN: On a Wednesday night in Kenya’s capital, the music is flowing. We’re six thousand miles from Tennessee. But tonight Nairobi looks — and sounds — a lot like Nashville.
Elvis Otieno — that’s his real name — was born in 1977, the same year Elvis Presley died. Otieno’s parents named him after The King–sealing his fate.
ELVIS OTIENO: I tried everything I could in my life to be an engineer – an aeronautical engineer. But it was never to be, because I think music was my calling.
NICK SCHIFRIN: He’s now known as “Sir Elvis.” He thought about becoming a rock musician. But he identified more with country.
ELVIS OTIENO: It’s down home stories that I resonate with.
NICK SCHIFRIN: When he started performing 10 years ago, he was the first Kenyan to sound like the original artists.
ELVIS OTIENO: If you’re playing Beethoven, you have to sound authentically Beethoven. If I sing Jim Reeves, it has to have a silky velvet way of it.