ALL FOR GOD: Coopy Bly is one of the top gospel artistes in Uganda and for him doing gospel music is no accident. He is here to serve God and without Him, he has no idea where he would be as he tells his fan Peter Kizza from Makindye.
Please describe who Cooply Bly is.
He is a Ugandan musician using the art of music to spread the Gospel and the love of God as far as it can reach.
Where did that name come from?
My birth name is Emmanuel Edwin Kusaasira Sserwanga. Coopy Bly is patois that basically translates to ‘Miraculous chance/favour’ and that describes my life testimony. Everything I have and everything that I am is by the grace of God. I don’t know how my life would have turned out without Him.
Why music of all careers?
I have always loved music but I decided to focus more when I realised the impact it can have on the world. I believe it is one of the most influential mediums one can use to further a cause or spread a message. It is one of the fastest and most effective ways of spreading the Gospel.
Why gospel music?
I chose Gospel because I believe God gave each one of us different talents as tools we should use to spread His love and the good news. Like I said earlier, music is a very influential medium and therefore should be utilised to build, encourage and inspire others.
How different are you from the rest?
I believe God created us all uniquely and diversely. In this way we all appeal and speak to different sets of people. I believe we all spread the same message tailor-made for particular sets of people; some appeal to older generations and others to the youths.
Others appeal to the ghetto youth, while some are corporate focused. Others appeal to urban crowds while some are most appreciated by those residing in rural areas. The lyrics I use and the style of music I do is inspired by my social background and therefore appeals more to the urban and ghetto youth.
I know your songs but don’t know their titles. Tell me some of them?
‘Nyweza’, ‘Ssida Mukyalo’, ‘Onsalangako’, ‘Beautiful God’, ‘Tondeka Mukama’, ‘What a Love’ ‘Akikwasaganya’ and ‘One Body’, among others.
Who inspired you to join the music industry?
Sunday school I guess, and also my parents used to sing in the church choir. However, while growing up I loved guys such as Sseku Martin, Pastor Bugembe, Papa San, Lucky Dube, Bob Marley, among others.
If it wasn’t music, what would you be doing?
Probably the same thing I am into right now. I run an NGO with my wife called YIMBA Uganda which runs lots of projects directed at social development, mostly with the youth. We also run a menstrual hygiene and education programme. We make and distribute re-usable sanitary pads to vulnerable girls in rural communities. That’s how I am putting my degree to practice.
I have seen stories saying that you are married. Who is the lucky woman?
They are not just stories. I’m actually married to Anne Marrie.
When did you get married and where?
We got married on November 26, 2016 at Watoto Church and the reception was at Nican Hotel. It was a very lovely day and I still remember it like it was yesterday.
What do you think of Uganda’s music industry?
I think it is so unique, rich, so diverse and surely deserves much more credit than the world is giving it.
Bits about Coopy Bly and hustle…
I discovered I could sing while in primary school. I was the scout troop leader and so I used to lead songs in scout camps at the camp fire, and my friends kept encouraging me. I recorded my first song in 2003 while in Senior One at St Henry’s College Kitovu, at Dream Studios. I went on to record music throughout my school life but all the time I kept it a secret from my parents. I knew they would think music would interrupt my education and I would probably drop out of school. But in 2010 while at university, I had my breakthrough song called ‘Bwaka’. It got some good airplay on lots of gospel radio stations. I have since seen lots of people come to Christ and change their lives positively, I have travelled around the world, I have won a couple of awards and I believe the best is yet to come.
I come from a small, humble, Christian family, with only one younger sister. Recently I was blessed with a foster sister. I spent most of my childhood in Katwe surrounded by lots of extended family, including my granny. I went to lots of different schools, including St Savio Junior School, St Henry’s College Kitovu, Seeta High School, Ndejje SS and I graduated with a Bachelors in Social Sciences from Makerere University.
The biggest challenge is the media attention. It becomes hard to live a private life. Besides that, music is very demanding and costly at the start. It takes pure love for it and determination to keep going.