Anyiko Owoko is East Africa’s leading Entertainment and Music Publicist, with over ten years experience in the media and music industry. Her knack for promoting artists, coupled with a broad media network and diverse work experience, has elevated her to become one of Africa’s most influential women in music business.
Her journey, however, began in the small town of Molo, located in Kenya’s Nakuru County, where she was born as the last born of five siblings and raised by parents who both worked as teachers and farmers. The family’s demeanor – into adventure, music and culture, fuelled her dreams and ambition of making it big in the city. She eventually relocated to Nairobi to study French at Alliance Française and a degree in Broadcast Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Nairobi. Her career took off during her second year at university when she started juggling jobs between The BBC Nairobi Bureau working as a radio broadcast assistant and a TV host, scriptwriter and producer at KBC (Kenya’s national broadcaster).
Anyiko hosts and produces VIP ACCESS – her YouTube and podcast show on Travel, Music and Culture, also spotlighting her work behind the scenes. VIP ACCESS is dedicated to promong Africa’s most promising talent. In the same light, she reviews African music and curates music playlists. This propelled her to join Apple Music Africa’s list of independent music curators in 2020. She established anyiko.blog – an arts, culture and music blog in 2016. The blog was added among Top 25 Great Kenyan blogs to Follow in 2014 by Travelstart.
Some VIP ACCESS interviews include:
Anyiko’s accolades include being added in Rockstar Television’s 2021 #AfricanHot100 as a leading African publicist. She received a 2020 Kotex ‘She Can Award’, which acknowledges Kenyan women who have demonstrated passion, motivation and inspired many while breaking barriers to achieve their own victory and success. In 2018, she was added onto OkayAfrica’s list of 100 women honorees for her dedicated work and being a promising talent within the genre of media. Same year, she won the ‘Service Industry Award’ at the Young Entrepreneur Awards (Kenya), designed to identify upcoming and industrious entrepreneurs with great business acumen.
YouTube, Blog, Podcast & Playlists: https://linktr.ee/anyikowoko
Her induction into the PR world was through her ten-year stint working as Publicist of Sauti Sol, where she played a crucial role in building their brand, from an unknown quartet to Kenya’s biggest music export and Africa’s biggest music group. From 2015 – 2019, she worked as the Entertainment and Music Publicist of Coke Studio Africa, Coca-Cola’s African flagship music show, for four seasons in a row. Her role included managing PR and communications for the show in over 10 African countries and beyond, while creating market-specific content and strategies for a Pan-African audience. She also spearheaded high profile parties and media events that hosted various artists including the show’s international guests: NE-YO, Trey Songz and Jason Derulo. She was also editor, a contributor and a founding member of the Coke Studio Africa blog.
In 2017, she branched out to set up Anyiko Public Relations (Anyiko PR)—an avant-garde PR agency, with a mission to represent African stars and connect audiences in unique ways. In 2021, Anyiko PR worked alongside WFP (East & Central Africa / Southern Africa) regions to execute PR and host Twtter Spaces on the linkages between climate change and genderbased violence as part of the broader 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign. From 2018 – 2021, she worked alongside Scope Impact as a communication and PR strategist on Form Ni Gani (a platform for young Kenyans to explore and discuss the crucial issues and decisions surrounding contraception and the future of Kenya) and Kizazi Chetu (a campaign and movement aiming at creating a generation of cervical cancer free women who are bold, autonomous and fully protected from cervical cancer).
Anyiko has worked as a publicist to various African stars and on countless Pan-African projects. Her agency actively works with Platoon, Universal Music Group (South Africa and Nigeria divisions) and Effyzzie Music Group to provide East African PR for some of their artists. Other renowned record labels, talent agencies and companies that Anyiko PR has worked with include SoundCloud, Boomplay Music, Truecaller, Sony Music Africa, BMG, Empawa Africa, Africa Creative Agency, Sol Generation Records, The Nest, Embassy of Sweden in Nairobi, Navcorp, Flux Factory, Mdee Music, Soundset Africa Creative, Decimal Records and KV Online Talent. Since 2021, her agency has been working in affiliation with South Africa’s DNA Architects to provide PR for Apple Music in East Africa and Ghana.
From 2012, Anyiko has written on arts and culture for various publications including Kenya’s Daily Nation, the highest circulated independent newspaper. Other publications include YUMMY Magazine, dstv.com, Goethe-Institut (Nairobi) and ARISE. From 2016 – 2019, she was East Africa head of content and contributor at www.notjustok.com/eastafrica In 2017, she attended a training by IGAD Centre of Excellence in Djibouti in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism at the Innovation Lab: https://bit.ly/2YO9zby In 2014, her poetry was published in the anthology “7 Shades of Love” by a London writer Daniella Blechner: http://ow.ly/J9CKY
Anyiko’s Arts and culture articles and op-eds for Daily Nation include:
“A triumphant return: D’Angelo’s second coming a big success” http://bit.ly/1JJu1uk
“Why Play Kenyan Music Drive is Going Nowhere” http://bit.ly/2kF3cWl
“Coke Studio could be the future of African Music” http://bit.ly/2peh8Dh
“Is Kenyan music really poorly composed” http://bit.ly/2Gf4pJ8
“Why Kenyan music misses the cut” http://ow.ly/J9DDG
“Vernacular plays rule the stage” http://ow.ly/JaBcq
“Project Takes African Film to the World” http://ow.ly/JaAYR
“Winners of Slum Film Festival headed for big screens” http://ow.ly/JaB24
“First Local play on Westgate horror staged” http://ow.ly/J9Fwe
“New Kenyan movie on plight of female athletes in the works” http://bit.ly/2nOwf4Y
She produced Yemi Alade and Angélique Kidjo’s 2019 hit video “Shekere” https://bit.ly/2xK6yO6
From 2009 - 2016, she worked as a co-host and co-producer of Grapevine on KBC—Kenya’s longest running entertainment magazine show.
The experience of working as an entertainment journalist, scriptwriter and field reporter, made Anyiko fall in love with documenting arts and culture. Her interactions and interviews with various Kenyan and international acts while on the show, matched with her dream to work more closely with artists, prompted her to start designing her own career path towards becoming a professional Entertainment and Music Publicist.
From 2009 - 2011, she worked as a radio program assistant and reporter for KIMASOMASO (Speaking Out Boldly), a program on sexual and reproductive health, under BBC WORLD SERVICE TRUST: http://ow.ly/JaArO
Anyiko spoke at Midem Africa 2021 on the panel “How to Promote Your Music?” and moderated the conference’s 2020 panel on “Covid 19 & digital music consumption in Africa”. In 2020, she also spoke at WOMEX conference on ‘Fostering South to South Relations’. In 2019, she was a speaker at Ongea Summit on the topic “Why Musicians Miss Big Money: It’s in their Brand Building & Publicity”. In 2018, she spoke at the Women in Music Panel on “Carving out a sustainable career in music by Women In Music Africa Forum and at DigiTalk’s Women In Digital on the topic: “Branding in a digital world”. In the same year, she moderated ONGEA Music Summit’s panel on “How to get rich and famous”. In 2017, she moderated Jalada Literary and Arts Festival’s panel on “Tracing Nairobi’s Benga Beats”, facilitated a one day ‘PR in the music industry’ workshop presented by Heva and spoke at the GoDown’s Creative Entrepreneurship class. In 2016, she was a youth mentor on Blaze - Safaricom’s mentorship platform.
As an event MC, she has hosted several events including in 2019: Westgate Mall’s Art of Fashion event: https://bit.ly/2YMjLBh and the launch of Oppo A series 2020 device in Kenya. She also hosted the launch of Shuga Down South in Nairobi (2017) and the Hennessy My Graffiti Event (2016). In 2013, she was among top stylists picked by Deacons Kenya Limited to curate a fashion show at the launch of Zara in Kenya.