One good year. Entertainment is one of the fastest growing industries in Uganda. Entertainment is not only music, comedy, productions and dance. It is as wide as we can imagine. Every year has entertainers who will call it their best year ever. This is perhaps because it is when they become successful, when they achieve their goals or when the world gets to know they exist even when they were there for the last five years. Lawrence Ogwal brings you people who will be grateful to 2015.
The whole of last year, Sheebah Karungi used #Sheebarichthisyear on Twitter and Instagram as her social media name. This was after her break out songs Ice Cream and Twesana. The forever 26-year-old started her career as an Obsessions dancer at 16 years old. She left the group in 2008 and started struggling as a solo artiste. For the past two years, Sheebah is one artiste who has taken the music industry by storm. This year, she should have changed her social media name to #Sheebarichestthisyear. She has done great songs since the year began, some of these include By The Way, Go Down Low, Love Hater, Sili Zari and Otubatisa with Irene Ntale. She also recorded a remix of her song Nipe Yote with Nigerian star Korede Bello of the Godwin fame. Towards the end of the year, there was almost no concert or event without Sheebah on the line up. The singer’s breakaway from Team No Sleep was no doubt a blessing in disguise and we want more of her next year.
When Irene Ntale joined the music industry, she mostly appeared at the annual Mirinda Miss Teen competitions. This was in 2013 when she would show up with her guitar to do just two songs; Nkubukinze and Stay With Me. Gradually, she started adding songs like Eno Ye Sawa. After her collaboration, Love Letter with Bebe Cool, Ntale went on to do work with other artistes such as Chameleone on Easy. Her biggest songs this year could be Bikoola featuring Radio and Weasel and Otubatisa with Sheebah, which brought out another side of her.
When you ask Teenz who their best artiste in Uganda is, if they do not tell you Mun*G, then be sure to hear A Pass. Alexander Bagonza, is more of a teen darling and a social media artiste. When a post is related to or posted by A Pass, it will get more shares, likes and comments. His music has never been boring and it is the type of music you will go to bars and everyone is singing and dancing to. This year, A Pass has done songs such as Memories with Lilian Mbabazi, Wuuyo, Nyenya Omugongo, Mutuwulira and Tetubatya, among others. He has also done endorsements for Airtel.
On July 28, he was announced as the Viewer’s Choice Best International Act: Africa Act in the Prestigious BET Awards in US. How will Eddy Kenzo ever forget such an achievement? The Sitya Loss singer was the first ever Ugandan artiste to bring home the award in all the years that the music industry has existed. This not only raised Kenzo’s flag a notch higher, but Uganda as a country also got special recognition in the global music industry. It was about time that those who knew the country for only Idd Amin got to know that there are also musicians in the country.
Naira Ali’s father wants to get her out of the music Industry at a time when her career is getting to a point where every artiste wants to see themselves. Being a Muslim who comes from a staunch Muslim family, Naira Ali’s father thinks she broke religious rules by coming up with a song called Sinze (Ninja) which is a Christian gospel song. The song, which is doing well, was released just a few weeks ago. Naira Ali has been on top of her game this year with songs such as Shy Gal with Ziza Bafana, Okikola Otya, Muntu Wange and Binyuma, among others.
Known for his signature brown mohawk haircut, King Saha is also a darling to many music lovers in Uganda. Ever since he started doing music under Leone Island, he has been getting better each day. His final break came when he released Mulirwana last year, he there and then held a concert for the song and it was well attended. As if that was not enough, the singer released Gundeze at the beginning of this year. The song received massive airplay on TV and radio stations and his concert at Freedom City set a record as one of the few artistes to sell out. He has made UK music tours for performances almost every month. King Saha has gone on to release songs Such as I’m in Love, Gwanyuma and I Am On My Way, among others.
Richard Kasendwa, known to many as Ziza Bafana is a dancehall artiste who broke out in 2010. This was after appearing in a song titled Omutima Mugumu which featured Eddy Kenzo and David Lutalo. From then, the singer has never looked back and this year he seemed to have tripled his effort. Ziza Bafana is one of the currently celebrated local dancehall artistes with hit songs such as Pomini Pomini, Galuma Nasomye, Bad Man, and Agende among others. Mid this year, the 27-year-old had the guts to organise a concert at Kati Kati Grounds. It was unfortunate, though, that the much-anticipated Guluma Nasomye concert was cancelled by Kampala Capital City Authority for some unknown reason.
Diana Namukwaya also known as Spice Diana is a student at Makerere University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Art in her second year. Even when she is still at school, she has been able to hold her music career tight and she has never let it go. Spice Diana won Female Breakthrough Artiste of the year in the Hipipo music awards. This was when she released Onsanula, working under Twinkle Stars, a music group owned by Emma Carlos Mulondo. This year, Spice Diana’s music has grown and cannot be compared to last year’s. She has released songs such as Tekinanta, Koona with Pallaso and Nze Akwagala.
The self-proclaimed RnB kyabazinga Ronald Magada alias Maro is an RnB artiste who found the likes of Michael Ross in the field of music and we can say he is now better than him. Maro, who started his music career in 2009, thanks to Singer Mickie Wine (Bobi Wine’s young brother) can now make it on the nominations lists with top singers such as Maurice Kirya, Aziz Azion and Tonix. Unlike other young artistes, Maro has held three concerts in a row, all selling out. His song, Kamboyine, Julia, Embeera Zo, were hot this year.
Bakuwe Kyonywa is almost a household name now. It has been accepted in street lingual, and Nutty Neithan will surely never forget this. The dancehall artiste joined music business as a dancer last year. He had songs such as Bayaya, Good Feeling, Ondaba and Kokonyo. Everything changed at the beginning of the year for the artiste when he left Vocal Police and joined Supanova music group. He did songs such as Gwabise, Body to Body and Bakuwe Kyonwa which was among the top hits this year. Nutty Neithan, because of his talent also got an endorsement to be among the brand ambassadors of iDroid, a smartphone, he also featured on the all-star song, iDroid Town.
Rema started her music career back in 2007 under the guidance of Halima Namakula. Oli Wange was her first song after breaking away from Bebe Cool’s Gagamel and she has never looked back. It is this year that the singer has proved that she does not need to sing with a big artiste to stay relevant in the industry. This year, she has not worked on many songs, but they have received massive airplay. Rema has songs like Linda with Chris Evans, Katonotono, Lean On Me and Lowoza Kunze. What can we say, their baby with Eddy Kenzo came with many blessings.
Khalifah Aganaga born Sadat Mukiibi, is a dancehall artiste who broke out two years ago. He first made his appearance with his signature dresscode which has never gotten a name up to now; he came with songs like Minakonda, Aganaga and Ndabirawa. This year, the 24 year old organized a concert dubbed Guddy Guddy Gal Nassanga concert. The event, which was held at Club Ambiance parking had a moderate crowd; this did not let the singer down. It motivated him to produce more and better songs. This year, he has done songs like Guddy Guddy Gal, Nassanga, Dance Disco, Four By Four, Kazindalo and Love Story among others.
Winnie Nwagi is not only known for her well-shaped body that everyone started comparing to Desire Luzinda’s. She is also a good and fast rising artiste who started her music career mid last year but no one knew her until this year. The artiste who is signed to Swangz Avenue blew her cover at the beginning of this year. When she released Embeera, she became a known figure and she performed it at every event. The singer continued to be aggressive; she came up with more songs like Katono Katono, Science with King Saha and Gogo with Khalifa Aganaga among others.
It is hard for any local artiste who sings in the diaspora to compete favourably in the music industry back home. The case is different with UK-based female singer Zanie Brown. She is a Ugandan based in the United States of America. She became popular for her hit song titled Ndoowa in 2010. She disappeared and then came back in 2013 with a song titled Whatever. This year, she has released songs such as Sijja Kulya Mkyalo, Chimalo with Jackie Chandiru and Golo Golo. Her song with Ziza Bafana titled Friendly Match was one of the biggest songs this year.