Rejuvenation: The Obsessions has been around for more than a decade. Talents come and go, and now they have new faces, writes Henry Mulindwa
It used to be one of the leading entertainment groups in Uganda. Tracks such as Wekuume, Jukira, Jangu Jangu and Mwekutte saw Obsessions winning lots of fans. However, there were several departures of girls who were replaced, but those who replaced them like Sheebah Karungi, Cleopatra Koheirwe, Hellen Lukoma, Brenda Nambi, Natasha Sinayobye, Fatuma Gulam and Daisy Muber, also left. That left Jackie Tusiime and Sharon Nalukenge as the only girls in the group. Later, they also decided to go solo and only come together for special projects such as plays. During their recent play, Goddess of the Nile at the National Theatre in December last year, the group’s creative director, Ronnie Mulindwa revealed to revellers that Obsessions rebranded to Obsessions Africa and as a result, new girls Tasha Amara aka Tasha, Josephine Jessica aka Jay J and Lilian Nabuuma aka Lianah were recruited to bring back the group’s lost glory. We caught up with the new crew.
When, how and where did you start your music journey?
Tasha: I started my music journey when I was five years old. I used to sing in school and church choirs hence picking interest in music.
Jessica: I can’t remember exactly when I started music but what I know is that I started serious music in 2013 during my S.6 vacation.
Lilian: I started music way back in school and church. I also participated in different music competitions such as the Coca Cola Rated Next season II. In that competition, I learnt many things musically such as how to associate with fellow artistes as well as promoting my talent.
How did you join Obsessions Africa?
Tasha: I was listening to a certain radio station and Obsessions Africa announced that they were looking for new talent, especially those who can sing. I applied and later I was called to participate in the auditions where I competed with other talented girls. I managed to beat them and that is how I joined the group.
Jessica: I joined this group in March last year after auditions.
Lilian: Like my fellow musicians, I also joined Obsessions Africa through auditions, which were not easy, as many talented girls turned up for the competition yet they were only looking for three people.
What inspired you to Join Obsessions Africa?
Tasha: Ever since I was young, I used to admire Obsessions because it used to nurture people’s talents. Also, it is one of the professional music groups in Uganda.
Jessica: I have been admiring Sharon O and Jackie and it is one of the reasons why I joined this group. Also, I saw this as the only group which can develop my talent.
Lilian: I was inspired by the way Obsession girls performed their songs like Wekuume and Tembere. I decided that come what may, I have to join obsessions and here I am. (Laughs).
I understand that your first serious performance as Obsessions Africa was in December during the Goddess of the Nile play. What was your experience on stage?
Tasha: I had fun on stage and as a group, we felt that people were enjoying our perfomance since we love what we are doing.
Jessica: To be honest with you, I felt nervous for some minutes because it was my first perfomance on a bigger stage infront of a bigger audience. I kept on wondering what am going to do for the people to be entertained. Lucky enough, I didn’t disappoint.
Lilian: While on stage, I realised that people will appreciate you once you do something interesting.
What was your parents’ reaction when you disclosed to them that you are joining Obsessions?
Tasha: My mum was very happy when I told her that I had passed the auditions and I was joining Obsessions Africa. She has been supporting me both financially and morally.
My parents were very surprised with the move but they encouraged me to go on with my decision.
Lilian: My parents were very happy since they also love music.
What advice do you give to the young generation who want to join music?
Tasha: They should follow their dreams like I did. I wanted to become an artiste and here I am.
Jessica: Young musicians should not give up easily when it comes to music. It is about hardworking, determination and remaining focused.
Lilian: Young and upcoming artistes should not rush, they should be disciplined and should know that everything comes with time.
WE WANTED TO GET BACK THE OBSSESIONS FANS
After realising that Obsessions was losing its fan base, the management decided to rebrand the group to Obsessions Africa under Sound Prints. The group’s creative director Ronnie Mulindwa (pictured), says in a bid to attract and bring back the group’s fan base, new and young talents were signed including dancers.
The singers that were recruited are Tasha Amara aka Tasha, Josephine Jessica aka Jay J and Lilian Nabuuma aka Lianah and Harry Lwanga. So far, the new girls have released three video songs namely Ddalu, Omwoyo and Mbulira. “We are going to do music as usual, as well as drama. We are trying to bring back our fans as well as restoring the group’s glory,” Mulindwa says.
He says the recruited singers signed a five-year-contract and when it expires, they can decide whether to remain in the group or to go solo. “Obsessions has nurtured many talents who later become brands of their own. For us, it is free entry and exit,” Mulindwa adds.
As a way of attracting more fans and promoting their new play Goddess of the Nile, Obsessions Africa is planning to translate the play into Luganda language as well as including more experienced actors and actresses such as Ruth Kalibbala and Patricko Mujuuka to spice it up.
The play will be taken to different places such as Royal Theatre, National Theatre and Bat Valley.