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Elsa Tawa: 18 and making dancehall hits

DRIVEN: Elsa Tawa’s innocent looks cannot skip you, yet for an 18-year-old, her passion for music is huge. Having started out in a band, Tawa, in her Senior Six vacation, has embarked on a solo career.

You are just 18 years old, are you not too young for the music Industry?
I have always wanted to sing growing up and those who attended school with me attest to that. During my secondary school, students always wanted me to perform. I used to mime songs such as Agassi by Jackie Chandiru, Bring It On by Jose Chameleone, Sexy and Kawonawo by Grace Nakimera.

When did you realise you could actually become a serious singer?
In 2015 when I took part in the CBS Talanta competitions. I was among the top 10 of 1,000 participants. I was with the show for a while before leaving to pursue a solo career.

Where did your solo career start and how was it in the beginning?
In 2016 I joined Fusion Band and we used to perform at Water Front Beach in Entebbe. I left after a few months and went to Kenlon Hotel in Rubaga where I used to perform covers every weekend. I had not recorded my own songs then and many people liked my voice and the stage presence.

How did you start recording your own songs?
During one of my performances at Kenlon Hotel, a Chinese man known as Kim David approached me after my shows and told me I had a good voice and I could do well in the music industry. So in December last year, he offered to help me become a star and we signed a three-year contract under his management.

Didn’t you ask yourself what a Chinese knew about the Ugandan music industry?
For the time I have worked with him, I am surprised that he knows the local music industry well. He knows the right people and he has booked me performances in different places such as Game Club, Laftaz Lounge and Tal Cottages.

What else has he done to push your music career?
He pays for my audio and video recording sessions. I knew he was serious and the right person to work with when he contacted American videographer Jordan Hoeclin to shoot my video for Otamidde featuring Daxx Kartel. It cost Shs40m.

What else does Kim David do besides managing you?
He is a businessman but he also owns Speaking Global Entertainment, a company he has just started to manage and develop young talent. I am the only artiste in the group at the moment but he says he is going to sign other artistes with time.

How many songs do you have so far?
I have five songs, although I am yet to release the fifth titled Nyingiza. The others are Nvuga, Otamidde, Mwenge and Mukomboti.

Are your parents supportive of you singing at a young age?
My parents are so unpredictable. Today they will make noise about me being in the music industry saying I will get spoilt and the next day they are excited to see me on TV. I am sure that with time they will accept that music is my passion and they will continue to support me.

Being a new comer in the industry, do you think you will manage?
The music industry is competitive but I am lucky that I am being received well. I get feedback on my social media pages and ever since I started singing, no one has chased me off stage.
Do you have stalkers yet?
Many, but the good thing is I know where the block button is on my phone and how it works. I do not rush to block but when someone gets on my nerves, I block them. I also know how to do away with someone in a polite way, I tell some of them I am still young and I would not want them to go to jail because of defilement.

What are your dreams as a singer?
My dream is not to be famous or rich through music but to inspire other young girls like me and give them hope in life. I grew up in the slums of Entebbe but never got spoilt.

What local artistes do you wish to work with if opportunity knocked at your door?
Jose Chameleone and Julianna Kanyomozi are my best artistes. I like everything about them, from their personality to their music.

Are you still in school?
I am in my Senior Six vacation. I completed secondary school at Central College School where I was doing History, Literature and Divinity. I went to Sir Apollo Kaggwa Primary School and Aplus High School, Gayaza. I want to join Makerere University for a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication.

What does your name Elsa Tawa mean?
My name is Elsa Namubiru but since Namubiru was a common name, I decided to get an idea from my father’s name Sekatawa, hence Tawa to make Elsa Tawa.

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