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Divas in their own right

Juliana & Rema

Songbirds Juliana Kanyomozi and Rema Namakula are both holding concerts tonight. Edgar R. Batte caught up with them ahead of their shows to talk music, their alleged beef and much more.

What was your last happiest day?
I do not count my days but I think it was my son’s birthday.

What is it like raising a son as a single mother?
It can be tough because you have to play both roles mummy and daddy, there are many questions you need to answer but you learn and as they grow older they also learn.

He sees him (his father) a lot they spend time together. They go for boy things, the rough things that I don’t mind. We are friends and we have always been friends even though we have misunderstandings. All in all we love our son. He is a great father and our separation has not affected the son.

In one of your last songs you sang about finding the right man, were you singing from the heart?
I do not sing about me, I separate my music from my life. It was a song for lovers.

You are beautiful, you mean you’re still single?
How do you know I don’t have one?

You are live in concert tonight, tell me about it…
It’s called Up-close and Personal, I wanted to sing for my mum. It’s been a while, a couple of years since I had a concert, it was supposed to happen two years ago but I had so many things so I have been postponing. I thank God that finally I managed to do it. It is a special event where I want my fans to get to know more about me apart from the woman they see on their screens, videos and weddings events

How close and personal will you be?
I will have time to chat with my fans. It is going to be very intimate between me and my fans

What is the organisation like so far?
We have been doing rehearsals for the last two months. We had a wonderful team that is organising the concert, it is going to be a wonderful event and we are just looking forward to tonight.

You have charged Shs100, 000…
Yes, what is the problem with that?

I mean, this is a fee we pay for some international shows…
If you pay for international acts why don’t you pay for your very own, why do you have a problem? Why don’t you trust your own musicians? You think they don’t have a good package that deserves 100,000? On a serious note, we thought it is a fair price.

We also have a special cause for this concert; it’s not all about having fun. Part of the funds will be going to a school I have been running with my close relatives who are helping me it is called Terpu which stands for Training To Eradicate Poverty in Uganda.

Why did you start this project?
We started this thing because I’m very passionate about young girls and it hurts me to see girls come out of their homes to start loitering on the streets and they have nothing to do. I saw many of them in Fort Portal. What we do is bring those who have not had proper education. We teach them life skills that they can finally use to create a future, we started small and we hope we can make a better future

You are holding a concert on the same day with Rema, are you competing?
Oh my God, I don’t want to insult anyone, but anyone who thinks I would want to do a concert competing with anyone, doesn’t know me, I don’t do stuff like that.

First of all I think it’s not fair for that girl to be put in such a mix. For her this is big because it’s her first concert.

Imagine this is the concert that is going to define me as an artiste and then I have to deal with rumours like this. I don’t think she did it to compete with me, I think it was a coincidence.

People need to understand that the industry has grown, there are a lot of musicians and many times artistes are going to collide on the same date and it doesn’t mean they are competing. Maybe some people are, but for others I think it’s an excuse for people to find something to talk about.

What do you think of Rema as an artiste?
She is beautiful. I love her voice. The only thing I don’t like about young musicians is that they come and have a few hit songs. I don’t know if it’s the excitement of the new found fame or they change they disappear. I hope she doesn’t turn out that way because with time she can become one of the best female artistes in the country.

I heard that she left Gagamel I don’t know how true it is but in my opinion, I thought Bebe Cool was good for her because he knows the industry and has experience. He discovered her, from what I hear. If I were her, I would have stayed longer. Maybe she wanted to get out of there and find her way.

Do you like her music?
I think she is a good singer. She has a strong voice and she has a bright future. I haven’t seen her perform live and have not met her personally, I have only watched her music videos. I like Fire Tonight especially, because she sang something different from the usual, which is good for an artiste. I think if she continues like that the future will be bright.

You recently shared stage with Iryn Namubiru…is I-Jay back?
It was a performance. We could not wait to see the people’s reaction because we had not done it in years. We are friends and when Michael Ouma called and told us to join him on stage with Moses Matovu we both said yes.

It was a wonderful thing though we knew what it was going to cause. We walked in together and everyone was whispering. It was fun, we loved surprising people. In the near future we are looking at doing something in studio together

Where do we see yourself in five years?
I do not really count years but I see myself continuing to grow. I have been blessed with success in my country and I want to take it beyond that and I would like to work with many people, travel around the world and perform for different audiences, God willing.

How much of God is in your life?
A lot. If people would say 100 per cent I would say 150 per cent.

Which religion do you subscribe to?
I am Protestant. I pray a lot and believe in God.

You have been in the UK for a show, how did it go and what else are you up to down there?
It went fine. People came around and had fun on Saturday. Right now I am waiting for some interviews with some of the media outlets here (UK), mostly with the Ugandans in the Diaspora. I will do some shopping thereafter and I will be back in time for the music show, Kukaliba.

Talking about the show, how prepared are you for it?
I am prepared. Before I left, I had done rehearsals for two months and had pretty much set myself for the show. On my return I am only going to meet with the girls who will be dancing with me on stage.

Why should your fans look forward to this concert?
I have prepared a lot for them. I am treating it as a special day for me because this is my first concert as an artiste. I pray that it is good on all fronts. I have so many surprises for them. I have prepared so much.

What time will you be on stage?
Latest 10pm. The show kicks off at 8pm.

Well you are holding a concert on the same day with Juliana Kanyomozi, are you in any way competing?
No, not all. It is only people looking at it this way. We are performing in different places and I am least fearful. God will give each of us revellers. No one owns a date on the calendars and it was only coincidental we chose the same date. I respect Juliana a lot and it is no big deal that we have a show on the same day.

What do you think of Juliana as an artiste?
She is a diva and she is someone I have a lot of respect for. I love her music a lot. People are saying all things to insinuate that we are competing but it is not true at all. She has worked very hard and she deserves her respect.

Of Juliana’s songs, which do you like the most?
I love all her music but I love Omutima Oguluma most. It is a beautiful song.

Until recently you were a member of Gagamel Entertainment Crew which is headed by Bebe Cool, why did you leave the music group?
No one knows the right time. If we knew the right time to do things then we would live an error-free life. I was like why not give it a try and go solo? It is all about believing in myself.

Why did you leave?
We had a misunderstanding, me and Bebe Cool, and we gave it a break. Such things happen in life, not just to me but to everyone else.

You talk about giving your professional relationship a break, are you planning on going back to Gagamel?
Everything happens for a reason. I embrace change and whatever happens I try to take the good from it. If I have to go back, then I will.

How prepared are you to fly solo?
I believe in myself and I know God has a good plan for me.

Is Kukaliba an album launch or a title of a concert?
It is an album

How many tracks are on this album?
12 tracks

Which artistes will be curtain-raising for you?
Jose Chameleone, Bobi Wine, Peter Miles, Cindy, Irene Namatovu, David Lutalo…many artistes are positive about coming to perform at my concert.

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