FAST RISING: Pato Loverboy, real names Patrick Okello, 25, is one of the leading dance-hall artistes in Northern Uganda. He opened up to Julius Ocungi about his career and the challenges in the music industry.
Who is Pato Loverboy?
My real name is Patrick Okello. I am 25 years old and the third born in a family of seven. My parents are Agnes Akello and the Late Soni Okot. I am a resident of Pece Pawel Parish in Gulu Municipality.
When did you start singing and what was your first song?
I started singing in 2010 when I released a song titled Kanamo which I recorded that same year. The song became a hit in Northern Uganda and gave me an easy penetration in the music industry at that time.
How did you join the music industry?
All along I had a passion to sing but before that I loved football so much. I played football in my high school at Bishop Angelo Negri College. In 2010, I thought of recording a song because I knew if I do not try, I would not understand how the music industry works. With the help of friends, we hit Complex studios and came out with that wonderful song Kanamo.
What inspired you to begin singing?
My inspiration has always been my passion. When you have that boiling passion for something, surely you cannot let it go. Besides, I wanted to be a messenger, not the one who moves from door to door but a messenger who uses music to communicate to people.
Can you define the type of music do you do?
I do Afro and dance-hall music.
Why have you chosen that genre of music?
Many musicians find it very hard to do dance-hall or Afro music and thus it has largely remained one less dominated by artistes. It’s like in high school, many students tend to run away from science subjects but the few who remain to take on science subjects know that they are brave. Afro and dancehall is also easily marketable to many audiences, people like dancing and this is the only genre that can keep fans on their toes. It’s also a genre of music that tends to entertain music lovers so much.
How is it doing music upcountry?
It is still challenging to do music in northern Uganda because we have greedy promoters who only want to use an artiste who is shining and when one does not have a good song, they drop them instead of nurturing them.
Besides, we still have challenges with music producers who have remained stagnant with same music production styles unlike their counterparts in Kampala. This has made some of the music locally produced unable to compete with those produced in Kampala by producers who are evolving with current music trends.
What are some of the best moments in your career?
One of the best moments in my career was when Fire Base Crew president Bobi Wine, now Member of Parliament for Kyadondo East Constituency praised my songs and told me I’m very talented. You know he is a big artiste and by him appreciating my songs, it meant a great deal to me, something that I will not forget.
And worst moments if any?
My worst moments were in 2013 when I organised three concerts for Album titled Akem Kwene song but surprisingly all the concerts flopped. I injected Shs6.3 million but only realised Shs800,000.
You have been doing music for a while, any achievement?
My music career has brought me very far. Imagine in the past while still hustling, I used to sleep in a grass thatched hut but it’s not the case now. Actually I have one of the best and most organised homes in Gulu District at the moment that cannot be compared to any other artistes. I am also able to help out my mother and family members from the proceeds I get from singing.
Who do you look up to in this music industry?
At the beginning of my music career, I was inspired by Shaba Ranks style of music and the late Lucky Dube. At the moment, I look up to Bobi Wine and Jose Chameleon. These two artistes inspire me a lot to move on with my music career despite the hurdles in the music industry.
Who are some of the top Ugandan artistes you have worked with?
I have worked with Fire base’s Nubian Lee on a song called Otwoo and with Coco finger called Delete Dem. I’m also in the process of recording other serious songs with three other top artists in the country who I cannot disclose right now.
How many albums do you have and who writes your songs?
I have five albums to my name and I have been writing my own songs.