Soldiering on: Dr Hilderman broke out on the scene in 2007 with his Double Bed Mazongoto hit. He moved on to campaign songs like Amelia and gospel tracks like Abita Ebikute. He talked to Edgar R. Batte about his fifth album.
Tonight, Dr Hilderman will perform live on stage, to launch his latest album titled Yekikyo-This Year at Hotel Equatoria parking lot. The title track, which he chose to dub his launch is a danceable track. It is a call for you to forget your troubles and enjoy life.
The notion that life is too short to keep worrying comes out alive in this song. “I was inspired to sing Yekikyo after realising that no one invites problems but problems are part of the course of life. My message is that once in a while, you need to forget about these worries and enjoy life,” Dr Hilderman, born Hillary Innocent Kiyaga, explains his inspiration for his latest song.
The song is a title track to his album which also has songs like Talindeka, Dembe Lyange, Nze Nawe which features Iryn Namubiru, This year, Kabaka Wange, Abafirisuuti and Kijja Kuggwa featuring King Michael.
Without a manager, Dr Hilderman has gone it alone organising his launch. On Monday, when this reporter met the self-styled music doctor, they were splitting roles with his wife, Cissy Kiyaga.
He says, “Organising my album launch is stressing in some way but it is through these challenges that I have to go through to get well versed with all angles of the system (growing and surviving in the local music industry). I have learnt that I needed to be a Jamaican (big companies normally sponsor fetes of international artistes) for companies to sponsor me,” he says, adding that even without a major sponsor, he is still optimistic to pull it off.
He has had to deal with the media, coordinate with the equipment service providers, make sure the tickets are printed and assemble a sales team.
On top of this, he had to personally distribute invitations to individuals who have shown interest in buying VIP tickets and also do rehearsals at the same time.
“We have to do all this yet day time only has 12 hours. The Lord should have seen this coming and allowed us a few more hours,” Cissy jokingly says as Dr Hilderman drives her to town to help him with some of the work of organising the music launch.
Then the car radio plays Yekikyo, a song which traces his roots having broken out as an afro beat/dancehall artiste back in 2007 with Double Bed Mazongoto, which earned him a place on countdowns and on playlists in nightclubs, bars and bufundas (seedy hangouts).
The magic in Double Bed lay in the cheeky lyrics. In the song, the artiste lamented about the minuses of a double bed in the relationship context drawing examples like the inability to solve problems because lovers sleep a distance apart, given the spacious nature of a double bed.
Before this breakthrough hit, Hilderman struggled for five years doing music that did not make it to radio or television charts.
“I knew my star was going to shine one day,” he says. To achieve this, I performed at the city boondocks, at karaoke sessions alongside the likes of Bobi Wine who I looked up to as a fan then. I learnt a few things and one of such things was presentation as an artiste and lyrical arrangement. So when I sat down to write Double Bed, I had a fairly good idea on what to do.
This song earned the young artiste his claim to fame and with it he rode on to do more music, which partly rallied masses for social change songs like Kampe (Give It To Me), which promoted use of condoms for protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
“In this song, I was also talking about the general fear by people who found it hard to order for condoms across the counter. In Kampe, I was coining a word that would make it easy for someone to buy latex for their protection in the fight against HIV/Aids scourge,” he explains.
Throughout his music career, Hilderman has proved his versatility in musical styles, genres and presentation of lyrics that has crossed from secular subjects to earnest and inspiring messages.
He says the change in his music style has always been as a result of the changing environment.
“Right now, many people are depressed and need redirection to get focused and be productive and it is people like us who can take on this responsibility,” Dr Hilderman explains. Some of his inspiring songs include This Year, Abita Ebikute and Sagala za Bill Gates.
The lyrics formation
When asked how he comes up with the lyrics in his songs, he says that music being a language, he speaks and sings about what is prevailing around him and his society.
“This has kept me alive because people associate with what I sing about so there is no way one can ex-communicate himself from my music,” he adds.
Recently, he joined the newly formed Golden Band, comprised of members who broke away from Eagle’s Production. “The band’s directors proposed to me to join them. The contract they made with me has the highest sense of focus musically. I expect to sing and earn from my music and not to simply sing to simply excite people,” he says of the contract he signed.
When further asked on how he will earn from his music, he explains this will be from his music being used for ringtones, in performances, and creative art directing services to different organisations among other things. Part of his investment from these earnings will be into his poultry farming project.
Dr Hilderman says he will perform songs off his other albums tonight. He has five albums to his name, namely Mazongoto (2007), Campus Gal (2008), Amelia (2010), Abita Ebikute (2011-12) then Yekikyo-This year (2014).
To the fans he says, “This album launch is a new Hilderman experience. My fans should come and witness how I have grown up musically. Their support is my future and sustainability.”
Away from music, Dr Hilderman is a consultant providing services to organisations that need to use the arts to reach out to their audiences.
He says, “I play an artistic director role to many organisations that carry out sensitisation in matters of health, human rights and development.”
He hopes that in half a decade he dreams of becoming a very big brand in the music industry, will come to pass.
Golden Band which Hilderman has just joined comprises of artistes Ronald Mayinja, Mesach Semakula, Fred Sseruga, Catherine Kusasira, Grace Ssekamatte, Stecia Mayanja, Maureen Nantume, Doreen Mutiibwa, Michael Kinene, and other upcoming artistes.