Mbale star: He is an artiste, music producer, and radio presenter. How he manages to balance all the three, only Inspector Jill knows. Rebecca Kabuya met the Mbale star and he talks about what it means to do music upcountry.
Who is Inspector Jill?
My real name is Gilbert Jimmy Wanda from Mbale. I am a music writer, artsite and journalist. I am 25 years old.
Why the name Inspector Jill?
I always admired joining the police, so when I failed, I chose to call myself Inspector Jill on stage.
When did you start your music journey?
In 2011, a year after I finished my A-Level, but music has always been part of me. Throughout my school, I headed MDD houses that emerged winners in each competition.
How do you juggle your radio career, music and school?
I find it easy because I know how to manage my time. I work on radio only in the evenings, the rest of the time during the week, I attend my lectures and from Friday through the weekend, I focus on music.
How does it feel being an upcountry artiste?
It is really challenging. I have been in the industry for quite a good time, but some Ugandans don’t know me much and yet promoting my music in Kampala is hard since it requires one to be on the ground.
Do you produce your own music?
No, although I am a good producer. I feel I can’t do the best for myself so I work with producers Shafat, Zion K and J Power.
Are you signed to any music label?
Yes, I have been working with Blue Magic Entertainment for the last two years. They help arrange gigs for me, market my music and my welfare.
Any challenges so far?
The greatest challenge in the industry is promoting a product. Despite that, I do good music, it is hard for me to get airplay in Kampala media houses. The other challenge of course is that upcoming artists upcountry don’t have many connections.
Have you performed anywhere beyond Bugisu?
Yes I have perfomed in Kampala, Kalangala, Masaka and last year I performed in Nairobi and South Sudan.
How many songs do you have by the way?
I have two albums, each with 14 songs. I have shot six videos, including Awowo, Shinzina, Banana, Mayimuna, Juju Be, Ninawe, and Imbuka Yosi. However, I have very many tracks in studio. I’ll launch my Kawowo album in June this year.
What do you think of this illuminati talk?
Illuminati is a fallacy. Success is all about determination, confidence and hard work.
Away from music what else do you do?
I run a music library and a salon. I do some farming though not on a large scale and I also present on 103.2 Opengate Radio.
Where did you derive the inspiration to join the music industry?
My grandfather used to play piano, drums and xylophone as he sang along. He was a celebrated local musician and headmaster. I used to back him up so when I grew up, I had the music in me.
What message do you have for other upcountry artistes?
They should think beyond their borders and never fear, but above all, they should never say you can’t make it.