The music industry is the most active in the entertainment sector. The answer could lie in the fact that all one needs is as little as Shs100,000, walk into a studio, request a producer to come up with a ‘beat’ and voila, you have a song. Unofficial statistics put active musicians in Uganda at 10,000. Isaac Ssejjombwe looks at some people who thought music was their thing only to find solace in a radio, wishing they were real musicians.
Hot 100 was the real deal back about 10 years ago. It was the radio station responsible for elevating hip hop and RnB music. Mckenzie, during his time at the station, was one of the ‘biggest’ presenters in Kampala. His love for music pushed him to start singing. Luckily enough, his first single ‘Sembera’ alongside Rabadaba and Nick Nola was a success. But the presenter went into early retirement thereafter. Today, besides being a Radiocity presenter, he is into events management and partly organising monthly silent discos. He will also be remembered for his 2016 project – a collaborative album titled ‘Rudeboy Music’ – which featured three producers and some of the best rappers in the country.
Being born with a silver spoon in your mouth sometimes means that your life story is well scripted. Abba Marcus is superstar Jose Chameleone’s second born. With a famous father, the youngster cannot be forgiven for trying his luck at music. He released Game Over and all of the sudden, the teenager started performing at different venues, acting as his father’s curtain raiser or vice versa. Then he got overwhelmed. During a past interview, the father claimed his son was intimidated by the industry. His was game over in music industry. He therefore switched to swimming where he has won several medals and events as well as a place on the national swimming team. But as his father says, “Every child has unlimited ability.” Abba Marcus made the right decision.
You can either be a successful comedian or a successful musician. Rarely can you be both. One has to be of exceptional talent to pull off the feat and one person who can attest to that is Fun factory’s Richard Tuwangye, who tried doing both to miserable results.
In 2005, Richard was part of VIP, a dance group turned music outfit. They released Can’t Live Without You and Tugendeyo. After a third forgettable song, the group disbanded and each member tried their talents elsewehere – Meddie is a videographer, Isaac is an architect and Tuwangye is into so many other things including freelance copy writing, visual arts, acting but sadly is not musician. This was manifested in his 2015 comeback song What Should I do? a song that sounds very similar to Can’t Live Without You.
When asked why he never pursued a solo career after the group disbanded, the comedian said.
“I wasn’t ready for the cashless push and shove that upcoming artistes went through at that time. I stuck to my other love which is comedy.”
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
Yes you read well. President Museveni has ‘musician’ scribbled somewhere on his glamourous CV. In fact, he could be the only sitting President to have released not one, but two jams.
His first Mpenkoni was a big success. Every radio station played the club banger atleast three times a day. It also earned him a mention on BBC. He went on to clinch the 2011 general elections, defeating his closest challenger by about 3.3million votes. As the dust was settling on Mpenkoni, the President hit us with another song titled Kwezi kwezi. You do not remember it? Well, neither do we because it was not as catchy as the first one. The President has since gone politics and farming, indeed a man of with many hats.
Edith Baganda alias Mya
When Cindy left Blu *3, there was panic. Aly Alibhai wanted to find someone as equally talented as Cindy but those were, still are so few to come by. After a long search, Mya, a former dancer with Kombat was recruited to fill Cindy’s very big shoes. Rumour had it that she was recruited because she would look good in videos and offer some dance skills her two groupmates did not have. Which explains the reason why she only showed face in videos like ‘Fly Away’, ‘Where You Are’ and ‘Prisoner’. It was only in ‘Nzijukira’ that she sung but definitely her talent was somewhere else.
The first lady of the Gagamel Phamily first came onto the social scene as a teenager in 2001 during the Miss Uganda competitions. It is then that artiste Bebe Cool set his eyes on her. As they say, the rest is history. The ‘Bebes’ now boast of a cool family.
That said, Bebe Cool’s music supremacy is not in doubt. This could probably be the reason his wife ventured into the industry.
With the backing of her husband, Zuena unleashed ‘Mata’ alongside the Eighton and Rain. The song was a success, receiving massive air play, which probably gave Zuena hope. She then released ‘Owa Boda’. For this, she received more criticism than praise thus the eventual demise of her music career after only two songs.
Bad Black aka Shanita Namuyimba. Where do we start from? Well, the socialite, who was convicted for fraud, returned from the ‘coolers’ a saved person. Before her local fans could get over the fact that their celeb was out of prison, she had embarked on a musical career, collaborating with Ray Signature to write and release ‘Mud guard’ and ‘Nkyamuka’. The backlash from even her tightest hangers on was enough for her to give up on music, quickly switching to ‘becoming a pastor’ at a ‘church she has been constructing for two years’. Of late, she’s just a ‘slay queen’ on social media and also changed her names to ‘Snail Baby’.
She is responsible for making artiste Big Eye popular. In fact, she facilitated his music career for over five years which resulted into a relationship. Then the two had a bitter split a few years ago. Don Zella then decided to pursue a music career. What Big Eye could do, she thought she could do better. She released a song titled Ndi wa Taabu which is believed to be hitting back to her ex. Then came Namirembe and Nyinizo. After realising that she was not meant for ‘the big stage’, Don Zella disappeared in oblivion, appearing once in a while at red carpet event
One of the reasons WBS-Tv was popular in the early 2000s was ‘Late Show.’ Every woman wanted to be like hostess Straka Baibe. Every man wanted a piece of her. Every up and coming artiste’s dream was to appear on the Late Show. Straka gathered a cult following. She tried her hand at several business ventures – a record label, a salon and a boutique among others – which all died in their first two weeks of operation. Having failed at business and her TV programme ratings fast dropping, Straka’s domestic bills started piling up. In 2015, she was arrested after she tried to shift from the house she was renting without paying over five months rent arrears. Upon release, she hit studio and recorded a song bashing her landlord titled Landlord. A video was shot afterwards. The song went like it came. It was never reviewed and received little airplay.
Just like lightning, Gasuza emerged from nowhere and hit our TV screens with a song titled Sexy Thing alongside Bebe Cool in 2009. It was a dope song with a pretty video. Everyone fell in love with Gasuza’s style and he got himself groupies and hangers on. His fans waited and waited for another track in vain. A few years later he released Party Tonight but, well, we had moved on. News emerged that was more into lighting and photography. He was also shooting a few videos here and there including Rabadaba and Atlas’s We Done. The end of his ‘bright future’ came down to his never ending partying ways and drinking habits.