Shadrack Kuteesa, a talent manager and tattoo parlour owner meets his fan Moses Bwire, an upcoming musician and a song writer.
Hi Shadrack. I have heard a lot about you. For how long have you been in the music business?
It’s now eight years because I registered Platinum Entertainment in 2005, which was more of a talent management company but I zeroed it down to music with GNL being my first signing.
By the time you signed GNL, hip hop was not recognised in Uganda. Why would you risk to go for this style?
When I came back to Uganda, my strategy was to make hip hop the most selling genre in Ugandan music industry. I first initiated the Hip Hop Canvas in 2007 and made it East African by bringing together Babaluku from Uganda, AY from Tanzania and Jua Kali from Kenya to make the Utake Anthem song, which worked out. The GNL project also proved a worthy investment because by the time we went our separate ways in 2010, the Koyi koyi album had been the best hip hop album ever and the concert was the most attended by any hip hop artiste to date.
Why did you part ways with GNL after all the success?
It was more of a mutual understanding. He had achieved a lot in such a short time and it was time for him to move on . I, on the other hand wanted more challenge, that is why I signed Keko, who was an English rapping artiste.
How was your experience with Keko?
It was a bit complicated because I realised that for an artiste to be big in Uganda, they had to get local, but getting local doesn’t in anyway help in getting international. So, I decided to get Keko to the international level and when we remixed How We Do with Goodlyfe, it won a channel O music video award and a performance in Big Brother.
Many people have criticised Ugandan music because of the way Ugandan artistes copy others especially Nigerians, what do you think is the cause of all this?
From day one, we failed to find our own sound. Nigerians are so balanced because they mix English and African accents to get their own sound. If Ugandan artistes could at least use our traditional instruments, we could get somewhere. Our artistes don’t pay attention to content and I blame it on our industry that has no barriers. Anything is embraced in Uganda.
How is your day like?
I wake up at 6.30am, say my morning prayers, then read the Quran, shower, then head to work and follow up projects at Skia Studio. In the evenings, I go to my tattoo parlour and then do some exercise.
You now manage Toniks. What made you change from hip hop Rn’B?
I had achieved what I wanted to achieve in hip hop. I had made it reach to the next level. It is now considered one of the best genres in Uganda. And because I’m musical, I have no barriers.
Tell me about your background?
I was born Shadrack Kuteesa to the late Mr Kafumbe Mukasa and Ms Rita Kyega. I’m the third born of 10 children, with four sisters and five brothers. My father is responsible for making Idd day a public holiday in Uganda.
You are working at Skia Records. What is your job description?
I am the business development manager. I am so grateful to be working with my long term friend Silver Kyagulanyi. I make sure I get business connections and cut deals. Skia being a music house, I haven’t lost my musical element.
What else do you do?
I’m one of the founding members at Reach a Hand, an NGO that empowers youths. We help in social behaviour change. We also have a new idea of a Hip Hop Boot Camp where we gather upcoming talent in one place and teach them structures in the music industry, how to manage themselves, sign contracts and so much more.
What would tell the youths out there?
It starts with you.