Second coming. Jamaican dancehall star Konshens will perform in Kampala this evening. The artiste performed in Kampala last year and has gone on to release several hits that got Ugandans wanting to see him again. Darius Mugisha tells us what he has been up to.
Since early last year, Konshens’ name has grown in leaps and bounds. He is not that artiste that surprises his fans with a hit and fizzles off the scene for some time, but one who has produced hit after hit.
After his visit last year, Konshens has released chart-busters like Walk and Wine, I am Coming, Couple Up, Gal Sidung and Jiggle that have all received instant success just like his previous ones like Simple Song, Gal A Bubble and Stop Sign.
Konshens’ musical career started in early 2005 as part of the duo Sojah with his older brother Delus. At the time, he had a 9am to 5pm job, which he juggled with music. In the end, music triumphed over the other job.
At Cash Flow Studios, they recorded a string of demos until they stumbled upon Pon Di Corner, what would be the track to jumpstart their career. The single became an instant hit upon its arrival into the Japanese market of all places! It was number one on the Asian nation’s charts for most of 2005. This prompted a one month tour the same year, another three weeks tour in 2006 followed by the release of an album exclusive to Japan the same year. Konshens insists that he’ll be taking it one step at a time until his name and work is cemented in history.
He has also been one of the most sought for artistes for collaborations and in the past year he has worked with Jamaican artistes and others from all over the world. The dancehall artiste early this week teamed up with international rapper and producer Lil Jon for a remix of his Big and Sexy.
Konshens, who recently returned from a European tour, said “I could not refuse the opportunity to have Lil Jon, the crunk king, featured on one of my tracks. Lil Jon is known for producing many hits such as Yeah by Usher and Get Low remix featuring Elephant Man and Busta Rhymes.
During his visit to Uganda last year, Konshens recorded a duet with our own Jose Chameleone, but the song has not been released yet.
When contacted, Chameleone was tightlipped about the reasons it was not released but he told us that even the music video was already done.
However, ahead of his return, Konshens paid tribute to Chameleone on his Twitter handle when he thanked the Badilisha singer for his present, a silver necklace that he gave him during his visit last year.
And this time round, Konshens’ stay in Uganda will be more than just partying and performing. The singer will go out of his way to engage in charity as he will visit and donate some books and school supplies that he has received from his book drive to the students of Kololo Senior Secondary School.
“I just want to say thanks to everyone in the US and Jamaica who donated to my book drive for the students of Kololo Senior Secondary in Uganda. I appreciate it, and I know the students will too,” said Konshens in a press release sent to us.
SONGBIRD. Alaine will be performing alongside Konshens at Lugogo Cricket Oval this evening. She talked to Darius Mugisha about her musical journey, her love life and standing out in a musically competitive country like Jamaica.
Born September 21, 1978, Alaine Laughton, known by her first name, is a Jamaican American reggae singer and songwriter. Unlike several Jamaican artistes who were born in the Jamaican slums, Alaine was born and raised in the US state of New Jersey.
She worked as an investment banker for JP Morgan Chase in the US but she chose to return to Jamaica to focus on her music career in 2004. Alaine is an actress too and she has appeared in movies like Clara’s Heart which starred Whoopi Goldberg. She is also a song writer and has done songwriting and sung back up for Rocafella artistes such as Cam’ron and Freeway. Today, Alaine is ranked highly in Jamaica and the world over.
Why did you decide to leave the secure confines of investment banking to pursue the insecure world of music?
I was unhappy, so I took a leap of faith towards the direction that I thought I needed to take in order to fulfill my purpose.
Were your parents happy about your decision?
Yes everyone was very supportive.
Many black people including Jamaicans leave their homelands to look for greener pastures in the US, but you left the US and returned to Jamaica? Do you regret the move?
It was the right decision for me. I wanted to sing reggae music. Jamaica is the home of reggae music. The move was the first step in the direction towards my dreams.
You wrote so many songs for prominent artistes attached to big record labels; do you still write songs for them now that you’re based in Jamaica?
I have written for Marcia Griffiths and co-written with Tarrus Riley the hit single Gimmie Likkle One Drop. I am looking forward to writing for and with more artistes.
Have you heard of any Ugandan artiste before?
No, looking forward to hearing them and becoming a fan.
What was it like working with Kenya’s Wyre?
Great. He is a talented artist and our song Nakupenda Pia is doing well.
How has the song faired in Jamaica?
The video is played on the relevant stations. It can only get better.
Do you hope to record a collabo with any Ugandan artiste?
I look forward to collaborating with talented artistes from all over the world. Big up all the Ugandan artistes. We are all dreamers moving towards becoming greater.
You are talented and beautiful. Do you have a man back home, any children?
No. I am single.
In a country like Jamaica, competition in music is very stiff, how have you managed to stand out as a top female musician?
It’s all God. I trust God completely and I have never been let down.
And we have heard of so much beef amongst artistes even in Jamaica, are you beefing with any one?
Are you signed to any record label at the moment?
I have my own label. 1Thirty 1 Records.
Do you have any endorsement deals?
Yes, with First Global Bank.
You have been on HIV/Aids campaigns in Jamaica, have you thought of preaching the same in Africa?
It is always a relevant concern. We need to take care of ourselves to stay healthy. It’s important to make responsible decisions.
What’s your fondest or most eventful experience in the music business?
There are too many to mention. I am so grateful for all the joy music has brought to my life. I remember meeting one of my fans in Amsterdam who told me that my song Rise in Love, saved her life and made her believe in love again after having a very traumatic break up. She was considering suicide but my song brought her through. I give thanks for moments like these. What a blessing.
Do you have a favourite among your songs?
I don’t have favourite songs. They are all my babies and they remind me of specific times in my life. Different things inspire me to write and whenever I sing or hear those songs, they take me back to the time I wrote them. My albums are like my diaries.
Any message for the female Ugandan musicians?
Go for it. Never give up. Be the best you can be.