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ASTA 95: Dreaming big

Asta 95 says in 10 years time she hopes to be Uganda’s biggest brand. COURTESY PHOTO

ROCKING MBALE: Esther Nafuna aka Asta 95 is only 21. And even though she is still at university, she is already making an impact in Mbale’s entertainment circles. Denis Mukungu caught up with her.

Who is Asta 95?
I am a teacher in the making, a recording and performing artiste plus an actress.

What type of music do you do?
I am a versatile artiste. I do zouk fused with ragga, dancehall and urban music.

Why did you choose to call yourself Asta 95?
Esther Nafuna is my real name and 95 represents the year I was born – 1995.

What sets you apart from others?
I am the most flexible artiste; Most female artistes don’t write their songs and they usually don’t adventure other music genres like I do.

You redid Rema Namakula’s Lowoza Kunze song. Did you seek permission to redo it?
No I didn’t. It just inspired me. The Luganda version was awesome so I just translated it into my local language – Lugisu and people like it here.

Didn’t you think about copyright infringement and what could happen to your career?
No, I didn’t. I guess that would do as a good marketing gimmick for me as well.

Where do you draw inspiration to write your music?
Daily life experiences, friends and society. You cannot sing outside life.

Are you signed to any label?
I am just in the process of creating my own label. It will be called Gishu Incredible music.

So how do you foot your studio bills?
I am not so well financially, but I have a friend who acts as my manager. He helps me with the studio fees.

What do you intend to achieve with your music?
I want to bring positive change in my community through various activities that I am still working on.

How much do you charge for a performance?
It all depends on the events, but for performances in my region, I charge less.

Are you planning to move to the city someday?
No. In this industry, management and art are very key. What they have in Kampala is good management, which gives them time to focus on their goals and plans. But we are as good as they are.

Any achievements ever since you started out?
I am the first female artiste to shoot a video in Mbale. (Laughs)

Isn’t Sharon Sento’s Katiika video a solo project?
Well unlike me, Sharon has solid management that looks out for her.

Do you have beef with Sharon Sento?
Ha ha. No! We are actually working on something together. Watch out!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I will be Uganda’s biggest brand because I have what it takes.

Quick Bits
Schools attended
Mbale Town View P/S, Hamdan for O-Level, Masaba SS for A-Level. I am currently pursuing a Bachelors in Education at Uganda Christian University-Mbale
Would you date a fellow artiste?
No. I don’t have the urge
If you were First Lady for a day…
I would advocate for elderly homes.
Dream collabo
Bebe cool. I’m a big fan.
Favourite artiste
Juliana Kanyomozi

Tit Bits…

STARTING OUT
I started as a songwriter way back in the school choir but professionally I started in 2015. My parents, especially my dad were against me doing music but I am sure one day he will grant me his blessings.
Music: My first song was I Give You and it was inspired by a close friend. I recorded it during my first year at university and it is also the title of my first album, but some of my other songs include Mbeninawe, Unimba and Nsonyiwe plus collaborations.
Juggling music and school: I am a day student, meaning I have the whole weekend to do music. So it is not really a challenge.

BEST MEMORY
When the NTV team toured Mbale, they hosted various artistes on The Beat show and it seemed many of the guys while being interviewed didn’t even know what to say. When it was my turn, it looked like I was prepared, being the only female at the moment.

CHALLENGES
The biggest challenge down here is we carry a heavy load; the artiste is the promoter, manager and almost everything. You can’t deliver the best if you are your own management. I’m also limited by funds but all in all, I’m hopeful things will get better soon.

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