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I am not a gold-digger

Former Blu3 member Jackie Chandiru spoke to Edgar R. Batte on her solo career, relationships and the re-union of the original Blu*3.

What have you been up to?
I have started working on my second album. I have been doing a lot of studio work, shows and also working with a couple of musicians that I am trying to bring up.

How much time will you be putting in to work on this album?
Probably about five months.

How many tracks are you looking at doing for this album?
It depends. What I do is I record as many as possible and I pick those that I think should be on the album.

Talking about tracks and albums, how many tracks did you release on your first solo album?
Mine alone are about 16 and then there are collabos and remixes, so the number gets bigger. It has many tracks and it is an album I take it as the birth of Jackie Chandiru.

What is the title of that album?
To Live And To Die.

Who lives, who dies?
Everyone has a beginning and an end. There is an alpha and an omega. So for me, it’s more like there is life and there is so much you can do, many decisions you make, but all that will come to an end one time and you might decide to shift to something else, so it is more like a recurring process for me – life, death, life death.

Is this the album that has Agassi?

Previously, when I asked what Agassi meant you said ‘I have refused’, so what are you refusing?
Incidentally, it doesn’t have to be me. That’s something people don’t understand. When I sometimes say ‘I’, I am saying it for the consumption of audiences. It doesn’t have to be me particularly.

And your hit song, Gold-digger, were you singing about yourself?
Like I said, I sing about situations, not necessarily about myself, but of course I am not a gold-digger.

In your stage performances and in your music videos, you flaunt your body in a sexy way. Is it something you love or something that sells your music better?
Actually no. I have a million insecurities about my body. The videos are about visual communication, so I don’t see why I should communicate with only my eyes and hands. It has to be visual and I allow the rest of my body do it.

And when you dance seductively, naturally stalkers would like to have their way into your life. How do you deal with them?
I know them, but there’s nothing new that somebody is going to tell me at this time that I haven’t heard before so it is no big deal for me.

Describe the artiste that is Jackie…
She is an artiste that is not afraid to try anything and I just believe in pushing the boundary.

There was word that Blu*3 is re-uniting, is this true?
It is actually true and we are coming together to do a few songs and then a tour as the original Blu*3.

Who is reuniting you?
Our original manager Steve Jean. He is the only one who can handle us.

Oh sure, why is it that it is only Steve Jean that can handle you?
I guess it is because he is the one who nurtured us and he helped us grow up in this business, so there is that respect we have for him.

You’ve all been solo artistes for a while, how easy will it be for you reuniting?
For me it is a piece of cake. It is not like I am going to stop my career and totally devote my life to Blu*3, no. I will do work with Blu*3 when it is called for and when it is not, I’ll be doing my own stuff.

How soon can we expect to listen to a song from Blu*3?
It will take a bit of time because right now each of us is up and down from Lillian to me, I will be travelling in a week’s time. Cindy has just been in India so it is a bit of a mish-mash. But it should be soon because music is made much better when all three are in the studio.

Where are you going?
I will be travelling to Eritrea in a week’s time.

Is it for music?
They will be celebrating their independence. I am one of people from other countries invited by the President of Eritrea. It is more like a week-long festival and we have days that we perform and on each day, each one of us from different countries showcases our cultures.

Will you represent Ugandan culture?
Yes, I did that last year and I am glad I was invited again.

Back to Blu*3, ever since each of you went solo, have you been in touch with one another?
We have been in touch. Actually I was on my European tour with Cindy and we were staying together.

You have a demanding life as an artiste, how do you find time for your love life now that you’re in a relationship?
Well, it is no problem for me because when I am at home that is time for personal life and when I am out it is work.

Are you engaged, married or just there?
None of the above.

What is the status of your relationship?
It’s complicated.

Tell us about the complication…
It’s complicated … as you know, once in a while or in a couple of papers, I have been portrayed as a very bad person, because of the relationship between me and Alaka (her partner, lawyer Caleb Alaka).

What are the stories about?
Well, apparently I stole him from somebody and I do all sorts of weird things – pour wine on him and tear his shirts, things honestly I didn’t know unless I was sleep walking or something.

Is it true that you have ever fought with your man’s former partner?
What? No. May be you’re talking about the incident at Club Pa Lui about two years ago when she pushed me. I have never met her again.

How did you meet Alaka?
We knew each other from way back especially because he was close friends to my cousins so most times I would hang out with my cousins he was there.

How far back was this?
About seven years ago.

How is it going between you two?
I guess it is okay.

You guess?
It is okay.

You say the media has portrayed you as a bad person because of this “complicated” relationshiop status. So are you a bad person?
No, I have not been brought up to be a bad person. I was brought up as a person who respects elders and who would never do anything that breaks the 10 commandments. That is how my mother brought me up.

What of your dad, what role did he play in bringing you up?
My dad barely had time for us because it was always work, work, work. He was always up and down and upcountry but then whenever there was need for disciplinary action he did discipline us.

Briefly tell us about the family you were raised in, and where?
I was raised in Kololo, Wampewo Avenue and it was a very strong Christian family because my mother is a staunch Catholic and my dad is a staunch Protestant. Although through marriage my mother became a protestant, she was keen on prayers, like before going to bed and at meal times, she would come and pray with us. Up until now, I still say the prayers she taught me.

When were you last in church?
Wow … about three years ago.

Don’t you live with the conviction that you’re forgetting God?
No, I pray every time, before I go to stage, every morning, before I go to bed and throughout the day for strength. I have and I am still going through so many challenges in my life that I just cannot afford not to pray.

What are some of the challenges?
Musically and health wise. I am a patient of low blood pressure so most of the times when work gets too much or when I get too much stress and the attacks come in, it becomes too hard, then the media and all these false stories. It affects me in so many ways people don’t know.

What are they ways people don’t know?
At some time the stress became so bad I was put on medication of anti-depressants.

Since you say the media portrays you as bad person who has torn her hubby’s shirts, even when it is not true, what advice would you give to people in abusive relationships, like those who are battered by their partners? Should they fight back or tear their shirts?
I would probably be the worst person to ask because I, being brought up as a Muganda, my mother is a Muganda, they would teach you to withstand anything as long as you don’t get your man between another woman’s legs. As long as it is not like that, you’re supposed to bear whatever comes your way.

Even if you’re beaten?
It is not a good thing and something a man should not do because I believe a man’s strength is more than a woman’s, so the woman would hurt twice as much as when she hits back at him. But again I would just go the Buganda way, because if I go urban or the English way, then I guess there would not be any married people in the country.

You look a proud, urban girl, would you really stomach beatings?
Well, it depends. If I am already married then I have nothing to do about it because I am not going to be beaten after I am married for three months then want a divorce. There is nothing I can do about it but keep quiet.

Are you getting married soon?
That’s a weird question … when the time is right.

You talk a lot about being raised the Buganda way because of your mother, yet in your music you sing a lot in Lugbara …
Yes, my mum is a Muganda and my dad is a Lugbara. I am proudly Lugbara, from Northern Uganda.

What is your home district?

Have you been there?
Yeah, many times.

What is the reception of your music like there?
They have always been amazing. Even before my music had picked up in Kampala. It is the stage I step on and I feel yes I am at home. This is how it is supposed to be.

Your former Blu*3 members Mya, Cindy and Lillian now all have babies. Do you feel in any way pressured to start a family?
No, it is not in my plans now. May be in the next three years because it needs a lot of dedication.

Who is your favourite local artiste?
I like Jose Chameleone. The guy is a star. After Michael Jackson, he is the only artiste that can get my attention.

What are your views on the just read budget?
It’s an obvious one. There has been an increase on certain beverages which many Ugandans enjoy and much as the government will say they are allocating money for creating employment for youths, they never follow through with these plans. Nothing actually changes. So for me it will be about working harder and saving more to be able to live a more comfortable life.

Who do you think will win Big Brother Africa?
Oh my, most of the people in BBA are fake yet it is meant to be about who and what you are. I think it is only Prezzo who is real because when he is drunk he will be a nuisance and when he is sober he is more reserved. He takes it day by day and he is real, so I think he would be best suited to win. Everybody else is fake.

Do you think Fiona Bizzu was the best contestant to deserve winning the Miss Uganda crown?
To be honest, I don’t know what criterion is used to select the winner. I think the judges were convinced by her. Otherwise if it was a reality show I would have a better idea.

What was your last post on facebook?
“What do you feel when you realise you are sleeping with the enemy?” It is metaphorical.

Jackies’ top local songs?
1. Zaminamina – Hellen formerly of HB Toxic (still in studio).
2. Party- Cindy
3. Don’t Break My Heart- Coco Finger feat. Jackie Chandiru
4. Take it off – Urban Boyz
5. Valu Valu – Jose Chameleone
6. Owakabi – Jose Chameleone
7. Ngenze Nono- Iryn Namubiru
8. Various Songs- Woods
9. Susan Kerunen’s music

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