Jenkins Mukasa, spent a few hours with his fan at Laftaz Comedy Lounge and the two discussed the music industry.
Hi. What’s your name and what do you do for a living?
I’m Herbert Mukiibi, a marketing agent at one of the leading computer maintenance and distribution companies in Kampala. it’s been a while since I last heard a tune from you. Are you still in the music industry?
Yes of course. Music is part of me. I have two songs so far, Love Always and Celebrate Life alongside Tickitah, which I haven’t released yet. They are both nice reggae tracks that have a message to deliver to the community.
How many songs do you have so far?
Well, I have between 40 to 60 songs and three albums so far. I released my first album way back in 1996 with my longtime buddies Patrick Birungi and Messe. HK studios bought the album at Shs600,000. I released the second album (Suubi) in 2003 and I launched it at Ange Mystique in 2004. The third album named Jenkins Mukasa was released in 2008 and all tracks on that album are reggae.
What did you do with the money from the first album?
By then Shs600,000 was a lot of money. I remember we shared it amongst ourselves and we went and drunk ourselves silly. We bought stuff like clothes, and shoes because we had become stars and we needed a change in our attires.
Why reggae and not any other genre?
Reggae has a long life span as compared to other types of music. I did Rn’B on my first album but it didn’t cut across as I had anticipated so I concentrated more on reggae on the second and third album and it worked out. I believe reggae communicates more than the rest. It has a wide appeal to every class of people.
Which producers have worked with so far?
I have worked with almost everyone in the Ugandan music industry. But notably Steve Jean, Shaka Mayanja, Kingsley, Allan Okiya and Charley King, among others.
I was expecting names like Hannz Tactics, Paddyman, Didi and other contemporary producers, why haven’t you worked with them yet they are considered to be some of the best in production?
There are very many “producers” in Uganda but few good producers. In Uganda, we have lots of beat makers. The producers I mentioned do exactly what I want and they are so experienced in the field of music.
Apart from music, what else do you do?
Well I started a company called Offtake Solutions, which deals in consumer activations. We also do events management. It’s a small company but we are expanding slowly though it’s a huge challenge.
I heard you are working at Fenon records. What exactly are you doing there?
Steve Jean who happens to be the owner, is one of my closest buddies. So we do several projects together. I wouldn’t say I’m an employee but I partner with him on several occasions.
Which artistes would you consider doing collabo’s with?
Those on top of the list are Maddox Ssematimba, Tshaka Mayanja, Peter Miles, Cassanova and Juliana Kanyomozi.
What’s your take on the Copyright Law?
It’s a good thing to put in place and I pray hard it gets enforced soon. Artistes are the real violators of the Copyright Law themselves but claim their rights are violated instead. By the time it gets enforced, you will see people sweating because only the talented ones will survive. So many artistes will drop out of the industry. You wait and see.
I have been following your career but one thing has amused me. You have very few videos yet it’s one of the most essential aspects in music. Why is that?
I want to do quality stuff. I can’t shoot a low budget video which won’t play anywhere just because it’s a key aspect. Instead of shooting a Shs1m video, I would rather pay for studio time and record three songs. One of my songs Gunno Omukwano was number three on MTV Base and it was the last video I did. But never the less, I’m going to shoot two videos this year for the tracks I mentioned earlier.
Thanks for your time.
You are welcome. And thanks for the love and support.