First ever concert.Toniks is youthful and his swag metre scale should surely be up there. This RnB artiste that has gotten nods on the continent scene is by no means in the category of new kid on the block. But even then tonight, he is holding his first ever concert four years down the music road. He talked to Isaac Ssejjombwe about his musical journey and the concert Tugende Tukyekole
Can you please give us a brief background about yourself?
I was born to Dr Berinda Edward and Mrs Berinda Josephine. I grew up in Mbarara and I have four siblings. I went to Mbarara Preparatory School for my primary, then joined Kings College Buddo for O -Level and Ntare High School for my A – Level. I graduated at MUBS with a Bachelors Degree in International Business Studies in 2011.
When did you kick start your musical career and with what song?
Beera Nange was my first single back then in 2008. But I had been doing background music though not on a commercial basis.
How has the music journey been for your?
Well, it is not been an easy journey for me because my first single came out during my Senior Six vacation and when it picked up, I was at campus in my first year so the journey has pretty much been about balancing music and education at the same time.
Who inspired you to join the music industry?
I grew up listening to great artistes like R. Kelly, Tyresse, Craig David, I didn’t think Ugandan music would reach to a kind of level that an artiste would survive on only music but when Blu 3, Michael Ross, Juliana, Ngoni, got their breakthrough, I decided to take my chance. So those artistes inspired me to join the game.
Besides music, what else is Toniks involved in?
Of late, I’ve embarked on music production and That Gal, Ningyenda Yoona, Tukyekole, Itaano and most recently Regular in which I feature Navio are some of the songs I’ve produced. I’m also part of Vibration Music which is a record label that does music and video production.
Why Toniks for a stage name?
Toniks was a nickname back then when I was still in school and I kind of liked it and when my first newspaper story came out in 2009, the name became popular but of late I’m Allan Toniks just to give it a personal reality.
How do you categorise your music and why that type of music in a country predominated by Afro beat?
I do urban R&B and it’s basically because every generation has its own style. Before Kidandali, there was Kadongokamu and everyone was doing it and now R&B and Hip Hop are overshadowing Kidandali.
Rumour has it that you and Michael Ross don’t see each other eye to eye over musical supremacy, give us an insight about that?
Where do you guys hear those rumours from? Anyway Michael Ross is a good buddy of mine; there is no way I can be at loggerheads with him. Let me tell you this, I’m the undisputed king of urban R&B in Uganda. It’s the music that speaks for itself.
How different is Toniks from other Ugandan artistes?
Toniks is so different from other artistes because he writes his own music, sings it, produces it and most recently directs his own videos. I’m also one of the few artistes in Uganda who plays the guitar.
Your latest song Itaano is having heavy rotation in most hangout places. Where did the idea come from?
I was chilling with my friends and we were reminiscing about childhood stories and suddenly we talked about folk songs in different cultures so the idea popped out of my head and on reaching home, I just grabbed a pen and piece of paper and Itaano was done.
We’ve seen many Ugandan artistes perform for empty seats on their album launches. What strategy do you have for a successful concert?
I believe it’s all about awareness. People don’t turn up to concerts because they are not aware of what’s going on. I also think it’s because of bad luck. I believe I’ve done enough awareness and I haven’t had a history of bad luck.
Don’t you think it’s a gamble to have an album launch on a date when high school students who constitute the biggest number of your fans are still in school?
The concert is not specificall for high school students. I have a huge number of fans among corporates and downtown people so my concert is for all people. I’ll do a day concert for the students sometime in the future.
Which other artistes are going to support you tonight?
Cindy, Coco Finger, Mun G, Lillian Mbabazi, Aziz Azion, Navio, Keko and a number of others.
We understand you are one of the few Ugandan artistes nominated in this year’s Channel O music video awards. Which category are you and who are you up against?
I’m in the category of Best Afropop video and I’m up against Brymo from Nigeria, Jozi from SA and DJ SBU alongside Zahara from SA.
Which song got you the nod and what chances do have to walk away victorious?
Money in which I feature Gal Level from Namibia got me the nod and I have equal chances like the rest of the nominees to walk away as the winner in this category.
You’ve changed management and joined Shadrack’s Platinum Entertainment yet he has previously handled Hip Hop artistes, isn’t that a risk since you do RnB? And what are his obligations in your music career?
I belong to Vibration music but platinum entertainment handles the management part of my career. I have faith in him because the principles of management are the same. It’s also a breath of fresh air for Shadrack because he’s now handling an R&B artiste.
Tell us about your success around the continent? Apart from Uganda, in which other countries do you have a huge fan base? In which countries have you performed?
I’ve been nominated in this year’s Channel O Music Video Awards. Last year, I was nominated in the Sound city music video awards and then previously, I got a nod in the MTV music video awards so I have the attention across Africa. I’ve performed in Zambia, Namibia, UK, Nairobi as well as Kigali.
You are launching your first ever concert this evening, what should your fans expect during the show?
What do you expect from the R&B King? Of course the best. It’s going to be a musical journey where I will take them through all my songs from the first one Beera Nange to the latest. So I owe this concert to my fans.
Many artistes have concerts after barely a year in the industry. Why has it taken you this long to hold a concert?
Well, it has taken me this long because I wanted to finish university first. I also wanted to have more hits unlike other artistes who come on stage on the day of their launch and perform two tracks over and over again. I want to have a quality concert, one that people will always talk about weeks after.
Why choose Garden City rooftop for your concert and not venues like Kati kati, Kyadondo and Africana?
I want to give my concert a different feel. Garden City rooftop unlike other venues has ample parking space, it’s not muddy, has better security and is easily accessible.
Evidently, Swagmeter has been your best selling single since joining the industry. Why did you name the concert Tugende Tukyekole instead?
I named the concert Tugende Tukyakale because the song is all about having fun. It’s a get crazy song where guys enjoy the company of girls and girls the company of guys.
Who is the lucky woman in your life?
Ummm. She’s very shapely, I like to hold her most of the times in the evenings and I usually pluck her strings. Her name is a guitar. (Laughs out loud). Anyway I’m nothing about women now. In simple terms I’m contented.
Your last words to the people out there?
I appreciate all my fans because they’ve always been there for me. As an artiste you can’t make a hit, it’s the fans that make the hits.
Last but not least, I would like to invite all of you to be part of “Tukyekole” concert tonight at garden city rooftop. We are charging 10k for the economy class, 30k for the VIP and 1million for the VVIP.