Against all odds: When his music hit a temporary snag, people started talking, but this did not frustrate Santid’s music dreams. The artiste from Kapchorwa shares his story with Derrick Wandera.
Who is Santid?
My real name is Mathew Sondit. I am a 31-year-old gospel artiste married with two children. I am a musician based in Kapchorwa.
What inspired the name Santid?
Having grown up in an orphanage, I couldn’t spell my name correctly. The people back home spell it as ‘Sondit’, but since I had made an error already, I decided to leave it as Santid when I needed a stage name.
What kind of music do you do?
I do RnB, reggae, Kalengin and dancehall. I keep changing from one kind to the other.
When did you start your music career?
I have always loved music since childhood, but I started singing seriously in 2011. For six years now, I have served my region with very pleasant melodies.
What are some of your hits so far?
All the music I do is good to listen to, but Kandoyi Shet and Kineyatah have been rocking in my region lately.
How big is your fanbase?
My music has been used during celebrations in my region, especially Sebeiland, but lately it has started sweeping across the country and crossing borders. Just recently I performed my song Level Go Change in Kenya and Tanzania, which is popular there. I did this song with Mawayo.
What future do you see for your music?
I see it going international because it has already reached Kampala. I perform at wedding and introduction ceremonies, universities and for all the Sebei people. I am sure this will take my music places.
Which Ugandan artiste do you wish to collaborate with?
Pr Wilson Bugembe – his music is inspiring. I also follow Uche, the guy who sang My God is Good.
Tell us about your background.
I lost my father when I was five years old and later lost my mother when I was eight. I knew this was the end of life. I turned into a street boy but when I was 12 years, a man called Peter Shama picked me up and took me to an orphanage called Teens Challenge Ministries in Kapchorwa. This is where I grew up and studied up to Makerere University where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree of Arts in Arts.
What has been your inspiration in life?
Music, but I have always looked up to people such as Exodus, with whom I sang in the youth worship team and seeing him grow inspired me.
What is your typical day like?
I go to the studio by 6:30am, where I work throughout the day. Sometimes I end work at midnight or even go upto 2am. I believe with hard work, all things are possible, especially when I take time to pray.
What do you do in your free time?
I do part time video production.
So how much time do you have for your family?
Mmmhh…well… (fumbles around uncomfortably)….man, I think I don’t have so much time for my family. Actually, sometimes my wife complains but I tell her this will end but I honestly don’t know when it will.
How would you feel if you lost your family to music?
(Laughs)….no, I don’t think I will. Luckily, my wife is also an artiste and she understands what I do and I know she supports and loves what I do.
Do you think female and male artistes have the same opportunities in this industry?
No. I honestly think female artistes have an upper hand in this industry. You know most of the managers and sponsors in the industry are men and it is quite automatic that they will want to support a beauty sometimes with a hidden agenda. You know for us men, for someone to genuinely support your work, they should have followed you and really love what you do.
Do you have a manager?
Yes. He is called Zik Kapsandui and he works with URA. He may not be the best manager, but he followed my music, supported me and attended most of my shows, so I was left with no choice but to make him my manager.
What was your turning point in music?
There was a time when I went silent for two years and people started saying I had failed. At a time when my music would have blossomed, I ran broke and couldn’t record, so I started making chapatti.
I did this for eight months, saved enough money and bought a motorcycle.
I used it as a boda boda and saved enough money to record my song Level Go Change, which turned out to be a hit.
The song is actually an inspiration from what I had gone through. So I am glad to say that chapattis resurrected my music career.
What are some of the challenges you face as an upcountry musician?
Modern music is something that is farfetched for the people in my region and this is the biggest challenge that I face. Marketing and promoting the music is too hard because one cannot buy a music CD at Shs5,000 and yet they can get music from libraries to their phones at Shs200.
What are some of the mistakes you have made in music and would change given chance?
I think the studios I used to record my music from. I couldn’t match the other artistes who did their music from good studios because when you take your music at a performance, it sounds like empty jerricans and metals. The fans will feel like stoning you off the stage.
What other things can you do?
I am a footballer. I have played for Police FC. But the love for music has surpassed all these talents.
Any last word for your fans?
Continue supporting my music and together we will go far. I am working day and night to make music very interesting for my people. May God bless all of you!