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Tyler Himself isn’t all about making hits

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Tyler Himself loves how dancehall music changes people’s moods. PHOTO BY Michael Kakumirizi

MAKING CHOICES: Why would a person who was among the top students in his class at Coventry University in the UK choose music? Well, like they say, when destiny comes calling, you follow.

Why the name Tyler Himself?
I am a sophisticated person that the only explanation for my character is just myself. My real name is Tyler Kahwa.

How did you start out in this industry?
I started while at university in 2010. In 2012 while on holiday, I did Tight Skirt and when the song did well, I decided to return home to establish myself.

Where did you get the money to record your first song?
My sister and her husband paid for my first studio session. They believed in me and always pushed me to keep trying.

You had a good education. Shouldn’t you be working in some good company?
I apply my business skills on personal and family entities but music has always been my passion. Since I was a child, people used to tell me that I would either be a musician or do something related to music.

How would you compare the UK music industry to Uganda’s?
Their music industry is young. You cannot mention 10 UK artistes. The difference, however, is that they have the resources. The few record labels they have are really professional and organised, unlike what we are doing. I am almost more certain that we are more talented than them.

What music genre do you do?
I am a dancehall artiste. I have always thought of it as music that easily changes people’s moods. It is one of those high spirited genres.
Tell me more about your music?
I have 75 songs, but I have only released about 20. When I release music, I try not to make a hit, but rather concentrate on making a good song because you can make a hit song out of something vulgar or dubious. If the song is good enough for me to listen to it then I know the audience will embrace it. My first single was Rugs To Riches, Handle Sikusobola, Some More, Sawa, Tell Me, Buck It Up, Fire, Tight Skirt and Bikula Ekintu.

We always see you moving with people everywhere you go. Are they fans?
Those people are among my team. As far as my word counts, they are the people who sieve the music and advise me. It is more of a team and it is called Extreme Entertainment and they are about 10 people.

How do you pay them?
Through music shows. We are involved in a lot of movements because I am a youth speaker, we have businesses such as sound, farming and other deals. But it is not like the team is supposed to get a salary or anything of the sort but they are doing it out of passion. It is people who know me as an individual, believe in what we do and want to build something concrete. It’s just about breaking the bread when it comes.

Are there any other artistes in the group?
I am not the only artiste. We have three artistes (Two guys and one girl) but for certain reasons, we are not quite ready to announce them in the media.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in this industry so far?
I am doing urban music and it is just of late that Uganda has started embracing it. Back then, no one gave dancehall music a chance.

Digging into Tyler’s life and plans…

BACKGROUND
Born to Justine and Ivan Kahwa. He is the second last born of seven children and has four brothers and two sisters. He attended St Mary’s College Kisubi, Aga Khan, then Kabojja before joining Coventry University in the UK where he graduated in Business Management and Accounting in the UK.

FUTURE PLANS
“This year is our year; next year is when we plan to push the music on an international level”.

ABOUT WORKING WITH PATORANKING
“There is a mutual respect between us because we do the same kind of music. I respect his music and so does he. We have been in touch for a very long time. I first connected with his manager over a year ago and we have been speaking since. And yes, we are definitely working on something”.

TOUGHEST TIMES IN THE BUSINESS?
Blending the music he did then to what he is doing now. “I used to do straight dancehall but now I am doing something that suits the market. I recorded a whole mix tape just to fit the market.

2012

The year tyler himself released his first song tight skirt
issejjombwe@ug.nationmedia.com

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