Multi-talented: The Mass Communication graduate has curved himself out a niche on the Jinja entertainment scene, Isaac Mufumba writes.
He is seated in a secluded corner on the premises of Jinja based Nile Broadcasting Services (NBS) FM. He is ferociously scribbling away on a not so clean notebook. The intensity of the initial gaze is an indicator that this interruption is something that Simon Peter Alideki, aka MC Crazy, would have preferred to have at a later point. He nevertheless flashes a smile.
“I was in the middle of one of my compositions, but you are welcome,” says the hip hop and Rn’B crooner.
MC Crazy, the first born in a family of five, three boys and two girls was born on November 8, 1978 in Kampala. He was raised by his single mother and grandmother in both Bukoto in Kampala and Mbiko in Njeru Town Council.
The man who was privileged to perform at the 2010 Pam Awards ceremony following his nomination in the category of the Best Artiste from eastern Uganda went to Victoria Nile School in Jinja, Rubaga Boys School and Kololo Secondary School before joining Makerere University for a Bachelors’ Degree in Mass Communication.
He has been a permanent feature on 89 Smart FM where he hosts the Breakfast Show (6am to 10am Monday to Friday), Friday Ignition (8pm to midnight) and the Saturday Countdown (4pm to 8pm), for the past four years. On Fridays between 11am and 1pm, he features on Kodheyo TV where he presents the programme Nsonga ku Nsonga, which focuses on current affairs.
When he is not on radio or TV, MC Crazy is either composing a song, emceeing or performing at a concert. How is he able to keep the fire burning year in year out?
Secret to success
“It is really about passion. It is what drives me. I wake up every morning feeling like I should do better than I did yesterday,” he says.
The seeds of the crooner in him were sowed during his childhood days in Mbiko where his mother was a member of the choir of the St Karoli Lwanga Church.
“My mother loved music. I wanted to be like her and when I was about 10, I started miming other people’s songs. It was mostly Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s hits such as From Me to You and Umqombothi. I did not really understand or get the lyrics right. I would simply throw in my own words. What mattered was that I got the rhythm right,” he says.
His musical breakthrough came in 2005 when he recorded his first song Doreen, which he did with the Street 5 group, at famous producer Steve Jean’s studios.
That was followed by a host of other collabos such as the remix of Amagaraganje (Without You) with Phillippe in 2007. He then released Hard To Get, Matilda, Babiri and Njagala Omukyala, in 2008. It also featured Phillippe. All those were later constituted into the album Matilda. Crazy says the songs were inspired by real life experiences.
In 2010 Crazy went solo, producing Sigenda (I am Not A Quitter). That was followed by Facebook Love (2012), Glass Etangala, which dwells on both the negatives and positives of consumption of alcohol (2013), Broken English which looks at the failure to communicate with a loved one due to lack of proficiency in the English language (2013), Ndeete and Omuziki (2014) and the latest being Birthday Surprise, which was released early this year.
For many a folk in Jinja, MC Crazy is a finished product, but he does not think so, saying that he has to surmount a number of challenges before he can dine with the high princes and kings of Ugandan music.
He points at plagiarism, lack of resources to promote himself and his music and a poor public perception as the biggest challenges to budding musicians.
“It is true that attitude has slightly changed, but people still associate performing artistes with brawls and abuse of drugs and alcohol. Someone finds you leaving church, and says, “Eh you also go to church,” he says.
Every wizard would like a bigger stage on which to perform his magic. Musicians too look forward to that and MC Crazy is no exception. He is looking forward to doing his thing on both the national and international stages. With a new album in the works, hopefully that dream may come true.