I was off trying out acting- Raba Daba
BACK? They were once big and made headlines in entertainment circles but while enjoying the shine, they somehow withered, so did their music. It was so bad that the only mention they got was on someone’s social media page asking where they disappeared to. Lawrence Ogwal talked to Henry Tigan and Raba Daba who are struggling to make a comeback in the Industry.
Where have you been?
It depends on what you mean because I had not gone anywhere. I was doing some acting in a local TV series called Beneath The Lies. I had put my music on hold to try out acting and now that the series is on a break, I am back to do music.
Did they contact you for the series or you just auditioned?
There was nothing like auditioning. I have always wanted to taste the waters in the movie industry and when the chance came and Cedric Babu called me up, I accepted.
Were you there for the money or tasting the waters?
It was a bit of tasting the waters and the money of course. But I mostly wanted the experience of being a movie star.
If Beneath The Lies hadn’t come through, what would the case have been?
I have many audios out there and others are still in studio. But the way the music Industry works is that if you don’t have a video, it is hard for your song to become a hit.
You had a serious comeback with Body. How did the song come up?
I am someone who is always out of Uganda to meet friends and hang out. In April last year I went for a friends Bachelor party in Rwanda where I met DJ Pius of the Agatako fame. He told me about my chemistry with the ladies and he suggested I work with one of the singers in Rwanda.
So he linked you to Jody of all singers?
He introduced me to a number of girls, including Charly na Nina but because I thought Jody was humble and underrated in Rwanda, I decided to work with her and give her a platform.
How long did it take you to release Body?
It took us about five months before she came to Uganda and we recorded the song at Buddies Studio. When the audio did well, I called her back for the video shoot.
You disappeared four years ago after releasing Love Portion. How sure are we you are back for real?
I am going nowhere. Besides Body, I have another song titled Nzuuno and several others in studio which I believe are also going to do well. I am going back to the Rabdaba everyone knows, the one that releases hit after hit.
But this is not the first time you disappeared and returned.
I believe that an artiste needs to take a break after doing a couple of good songs so that you give the fans time to enjoy them.
So you weren’t musically dead like people claimed?
I took a break willingly. Let me give you an example of some of our own artistes whose names I won’t mention have failed to take a break and all they are offering the fans is not good music. Artistes are like chewing gum, time reaches when the sweetness is no longer there and all you have to do is spit it out.
You used to hang out with Young Mulo, what happened?
Nothing happened; we are not conjoined twins that we are supposed to be together. When I meet him, we talk but like I said, I am now focusing on rebranding myself although there is no bad blood between us.
Tell us about your relationship with Bad Black.
Bad Black used to be my biggest fan. We had no intimate relationship but as you know people, they always want to add things up.
There was rumour she paid you to sleep with her.
That’s what I was talking about, people come up with all sorts of stories. She never paid me for anything.
You used to own a bar and a BMW convertible, whatever happened to them?
I let go of that life. I sold off the BMW not because I didn’t want it but it was a hard car to maintain. I also sold the bar because it needed much of my managerial time. It used to bring me good money but it needed a lot of my time and I couldn’t change my career to bar management.
How did you end up under Mc Kats’ management?
Kats approached me a while ago and told me he had always believed in me and wanted to work with me. I told him to give me some more time because I was still sorting out and recollecting myself.
So how much time did it take you to get back to him?
Not long. When I thought I had songs to kickstart the comeback, I called him and we had a small meeting. I gave him all the songs I had recorded and he said we were good to go.
Was it after Body or before?
I started working with Kats after I had recorded Body. He is the one who pushed me to shoot the video.
Did Kats pay for the video?
That is between him and I.
You were once signed to UG Records, what is the difference between it and Kats?
I wouldn’t compare UG Records to Kats because UG Records was there six years ago and Kats’ I Love Music is a new label. UG Records is no longer in existence but it is evident I Love Music is a good management company.
What is the difference between the Raba Daba of then and the Raba Daba of now?
The Rabadaba of then was excited about fame and he didn’t know fame was a drug that gets into your head. The Rabadaba of today is a more mature person.
What are those mistakes you did then that you won’t repeat?
Back then, I surrounded myself with people who didn’t add value to my life. I decided not to have hangers-on again in my life and it is the reason people always see me alone in public places.
How true is it that your mother chooses your friends?
When I was in jail after an incident back then, my mother told me to cut connections with all friends who didn’t visit me in jail.
Are you a mummy’s boy?
I love my mother a lot but I am not a mummy’s boy.
Where are your girlfriend and the children?
They all stay in London but I am in touch with them. The good thing with technology is that there is Facetime and we chat a lot.
How does it feel being silent all this time?
The fans are always on our cases asking for new music, but I wouldn’t say it made me feel bad at all.
What should people expect from you?
They are going to see a lot of me on their TVs, hear a lot of me on their radios and see me more often at their hangout places.
What is your message to the fans?
I only want to thank them for the love and loyalty and all they should know is that I am not going to disappoint them.
I was never gone, just went broke – Tigan
Boss, it’s been a long time, what have you been up to?
Tigan has been around. I have never gone anywhere and nothing has changed. The only thing that changed is that I stopped putting myself on pressure. After all, my music is like Maddox Ssematimba’s.
What do you mean your music is like Maddox’s?
Maddox has not recorded songs ever since Namagembe but he is assured of a gig wherever he performs and the people enjoy. It is the same with me. For example, my song Abogezi still sells. I have been getting calls almost every weekend from people telling me to go and perform – mostly weddings.
But many say you are faded and have nothing new to deliver.
For Henry Tigan to be faded, I must have died and not in the industry.
Remind us again, when was the last time you released a song before you went AWOL?
This was around 2014 when I did Vum Vum.
How can you then convince your loyal fans that you are back because they must have moved on?
I have a new album with 12 songs and I have released two so far; Webale Mukama and Tulibawo. I released them towards the end of last year because I felt it was the right time to make a comeback.
You came back last year? How come we haven’t felt it yet?
(Takes a moment of silence) I must admit I haven’t settled down well yet because I am a songwriter and when I have life battles, I don’t focus. But if the two songs are not doing well, I am sure the other 10 on the album will be good.
What is that hindrance that has been going on in your life?
I will admit that I was suffering a financial breakdown and to be honest, it was the reason I put my music on hold, although the songs were still being played and requested. Music is very expensive because a good song and a good video need a lot of money, which was not there at the time.
Did the financial breakdown come because you parted ways with Suudi Lukwago?
Yes. Parting ways with Suudi affected me a lot both financially and in terms of focus because it always hurt me that we had to take separate paths.
Do you regret falling out with Suudi?
I wouldn’t say I regret because when the situation occurred, it was inevitable and I had to let him go, however much he helped me. I left because he disorganised me and he had started changing his attitude towards me.
So now that you are back, should we say your financial problems are over?
I would say I have enough money to make me do more music. I am signed under Freedom Entertainment management owned by Yasin Ssekkamatte and other guys.
Would you work with Suudi again if he asked?
I wouldn’t work with Suudi again because I am now signed under Freedom Entertainment. Suudi is a good manager but he is unprofessional and his unprofessionalism is the reason my career failed. Working with him again will be like a setback because he has his own battles that I won’t mention here but I don’t want to be part of them.
Do you hate him that much?
I don’t hate Suudiman because we still talk. He called me sometime last year when he was managing a young artiste called Ceasorous. He wanted me to write him two songs, which I did but I don’t know why the songs have never been released.
We heard after Suudi you ran to Bobi Wine, who they say also ruined your career.
Those who say Bobi Wine ruined my career are not sure of what they are talking about. It was only Suudi who failed my career. Bobi Wine was my friend even at the time I was working with Suudi.
But you joined Firebase, got misunderstandings with Bobi Wine and left.
I have never been in Firebase. I only hang out with the group because they are my friends and we do shows together. Bobi Wine even invited me to perform last month at Bob Marley’s birthday in Busabaala.
Your collaboration with Marlon Asher was big. Do you still have him in your contacts?
Yes, I communicate with Marlon Asher because we became friends after the collabo. He also connected me to an artiste in Trinidad called Tripple B and we have a song together.
Don’t you feel bad that young artistes have taken over the Industry?
Why would I feel bad when I am a singer who wishes good for others? This industry is like a loaf of bread where we all have small portions. I feel proud for singers like Eddy Kenzo because they started the music journey when no one believed in them but they are now big.
What challenges did you face sitting at home?
The biggest challenge was hearing my fans asking for new music. At first it exerted pressure on me until I learnt how to handle the pressure. Now I can assure them that new music is coming and they should be ready for the new Tigan.