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Rema was born to sing

Rema during the interview.

Rema during the interview.

She was in P.7 when she sang backup vocals in Bebe Cool and Halima Namakula’s Sambagala duet. Almost a decade later, Rehema Namakula aka Rema returned as the featured artiste in the mega hit Cease & Seckle by her mentor Bebe Cool! Rema told Darius Mugisha about her life and her musical journey.

Where did you come from? We had never heard about you before your hit song.
I was always there, at home, at school and as part of the Gagamel crew.

When did you start singing?
I sang as a kid, but I started professional recording in 2009 after my S6.

So when did you join Gagamel Crew?
I joined Gagamel way back when I was in P7. I sang back up vocals in Sambagala which was sang by Bebe and Halima Namakula. From that day on, I’ve backed Bebe in studio and on stage.

Did you say P7? Were your parents aware of your dealings with Bebe Cool?
Oh yes! My parents have always known that I would be a singer. They have always been and still are very supportive. Actually they paid for my first song that I recorded when I was in P7. It was called Take a Look At Me. They were also not surprised that I was offered a bursary because of my music for the whole of my A- Level.

So did you finish school?
Not yet. I’m studying Administrative and Managerial Science at Kyambogo University. But I applied for change of course to Fashion and Design because that course was too much for my schedule. It requires a lot constant concentration, yet I have to perform almost every weekend.

Have you done any songs of you own?
Yes. I have three singles out, they include Taala, Sweetie and the latest called Give Me the Paper.  I am recording more and more in studio.

There have been tabloid reports that you and Bebe have some chemistry. Mbu you even don’t see eye to eye with Zuena?
Oh my God, that’s not true. It can never happen, that would actually be like raising a child and you end up having a relationship with them. I knew Bebe since I was a little girl in primary school. Bebe loves his wife so much and Zuena is like a big sister to me. Of course, people will always talk but Gagamel is my home and Bebe is my dad!

Well, tell us about your love life, are you seeing someone or you have a streak of lovers?
I’m not single and I’m not searching. The word is I’m contented!

Are you planning to get married, have kids?
Of course, I’ll have children but that’s in a few years to come. Yes, I’ll also get married before I have children.

We have seen artistes quit Gagamel with claims of non -payment, do you get paid?
I’m not complaining and I’ve never had any issues.  Those people that quit do not have a history with Bebe, but like I said, I’ve been part of Gagamel since I was a kid. I don’t think I’ll be quitting any time soon.

So what’s the meaning of Cease and Seckle, how did come about?
Cease & Seckle means Stop and Relax. The story of how its started is a funny one. Bebe had been silent, he hadn’t released a song for some time, so he came and told me he wanted us to do a song telling people to always take off some time to relax. And that’s how the song came about.

Come on, the words in that song, for example the line where Bebe sings “I wanna feel that nipple” are not about taking time to relax or are they?
May be you need to ask Bebe that question, he wrote the song!

So what next, Cease & Seckle is almost about to cease being a hit?
Cease & Seckle is still doing very fine, but we are also not seated. Like I told you, I’ve a new single called Give Me The Paper, its video will be out soon. I also did another duet with Bebe titled Missing You, it’s already out.  And I’m still in studio!

Which other artistes do you plan to do duets with?
I would love to record with Coco Finger and Peter Miles.

How about female musicians?
I don’t mean to brag or to offend anybody, but locally, I don’t seem to see a female musician I would kill to record with!

Would you record a song with Bebe Cool’s rivals, say with Chameleone or Bobi Wine?
That’s an abomination! If you don’t like my boss, I’m sure you can’t like me.  So, I am still extremely cautious when it comes to choosing other artistes to work with. I will work with those that respect and love Bebe Cool!

Does that mean you believe in beef?
Not at all! Beef leads to fights and that can never be good for the industry. Personally, I believe I’m not competing with anyone, so I’ll not have to abuse or fight anyone.

Tell us about your worst and best moments in music.
My best moment so far was when I performed and I heard people screaming out my name. That was at Bebe’s album launch last year. That had never happened before. I was too excited, I couldn’t even sleep that night.
As for the worst moment, I don’t think I’ve experienced any. I take everything that comes my way as a test to my patience and I make sure I work towards overcoming it.

What do you do when you are not at school or on stage?
I love watching movies and comedy. I also love going for dinner and coffee dates with my friends.

How about bars and clubs?
I don’t like hanging in noisy places. I rarely go to bars and nightclubs unless I’m going to perform or when I’m doing an appearance. But even then, I really never stay long in a night club.

Does that say something about your background?
Oh yeah! I was raised in a very humble but staunch Muslim family. I don’t drink and my father always preached to us to stay away from bars as a way to resist being tempted to drink. For the bar part, I think I took the advice but not for the dress code, I still put on revealing attire when I feel like.

So what’s your dream as a musician?
As an artiste, my dream is to win as many fans as possible across the globe. I want to become a respected singer and be remembered for that everywhere my music will play.

How long do you hope to be a singer?
I’m going to sing for as long as I live and for as long as my voice can still be heard.

Your last word to your fans…
For starters I want to thank you Sqoop for helping me with the publicity. I wanna thank all my fans and I promise I will not disappoint you.
Please keep up the support not only for Rema but for my mentor Bebe Cool as well. For the youth, please keep in school and take me as an example that if you insist and work hard, you will always achieve your dream!

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