IDENTITY: There is something in a name and this is probably one of the reasons artistes find aliases when starting out. How they coin these artistic and creative akas leaves us wondering though! Isaac Ssejjombwe writes.
Think of five artistes and challenge yourself to name them by their real names… how many can you say out loud confidently? Two, one, none? Many artistes after finding popularity or even after one hit song, often become household names and in the process their initial identities are lost.
We compile some of our artistes and share their real names plus what inspired their pseudos/stage names.
Her real name is Hajara Namukwaya, so the stage name Spice Diana is quite fascinating. How does one with a Muslim name carry a Christian stage name? According to Spice Diana, she grew up with her Muslim mother who named her Hajara, but her father named her Diana Namukwaya at birth. The singer says the ‘Spice’ in Spice Diana simply means she has the ingredients for the music industry.
Although many think Chameleone came up with his own stage and laid a foundation for his other singing brothers Weasel, Pallaso and AK47, the story is different. Chameleone takes no credit for this brand, and he gives it all to his mother, who named him so because of his often unpredictable ways. His birth name is Joseph Mayanja.
Edirisa Musuuza got this name way before he joined the music industry. The artiste says he got the Kenzo name from a T-shirt. “I had gone to Nakivubo Stadium to watch a game but before the match, a man passed by wearing a T-shirt with the words ‘Kenzo Palace’. I was a child and all I thought about then was owning my own palace which I would name Kenzo. When I started singing, I adopted the name so that I could echo my dreams,” he said. The Eddy is short form for his name Edirisa.
Chozen’s real name is Patrick Musasizi and the Chozen came from church, where he was a musician and often got picked on to do several things. It was then that one of the leaders nicknamed him ‘the chosen’ guy. The Blood? He says he felt blood has always been special to him in a way.
Born Alexander Bagonza, A Pass got his name while in Senior One at Merryland High School. The singer says he had a good friend in Senior Six, who many thought was his brother. His name was Percy and he used to keep Alexander’s items in his dormitory to protect him from bullies. When Percy left a year later, students started calling Alexander ‘Percy’ and before long they had shortened it to Pass. When time to join the industry came, he did not scratch his head much; he just got the A from Alexander and added the Pass – A Pass.
Ray comes from his first name Raymond and the Signature was given to him by his White friend Paul after
realising that he was so talented in music and songwriting. His birth name is Raymond Joseph Mugerwa.
King Saha was born Mansur Semanda and his stage name was inspired by former France and Manchester United striker Luis Saha. The player was King Saha’s idol growing up and it was actually his childhood friends who nicknamed him Saha. The ‘king’ bit came from singer Jose Chameleone, who tagged him so in 2012 because of his immense talent.
Herbert Kityamuweesi is known as Crysto Panda on TV and Crysto stands for ‘Chances R Yet Supposed To be Opened so take heart’ while Panda was inspired by the song Panda by rapper Desiigner which is one of his favourite songs.
Geosteady’s stage name came from a chemical reaction where he shortened his name George and combined it with the word steady, thus Geosteady. His real name is George William Kigozi.
You might not know what it means but Big Tril says his stage name comes from initials which mean ‘Born In Greatness To Rise Into a Legend’. He came up with this name after entering the business but his real name is Raymond Rowland Kaiza.
Richard Kasendwa is his birth name and his stage name Ziza Bafana came from his then South African girlfriend. She nicknamed him Bafana because of the love they shared. ‘Bafana’ was derived from the South African football team, Bafana Bafana which in Zulu means energetic. Ziza comes from the Bible; Ziza was son of Shiphi, a chief of the Simeonites in the reign of Hezekiah.
He started his career as Vampos in the duo Benon and Vampos. While at Namasagali College, Vampos used to often hide in the dormitory but eluded the administrators. This made the students nickname him ‘Vampire’ and because it stuck, he decided to swag it up to Vampos and later Vampino.
Sam Lucas Lubyogo started with the name Leviticus but changed it because many other upcoming artistes were using the same name. He chose Levixone in 2012, with Levi standing for Leviticus and then the Xone meaning ‘one time’.
Sasha Vybz is a video director, film maker and editor at Savy Films. He was born Ian Akankwasa but got the Sasha name in high school. It was about a character in a movie that he fell in love with, while Vybz is the feel he brings out in the videos he produces.
Many will assume the ‘Nutty’ is a spiced up way to say ‘naughty’ but no. The Nutty in Nutty Neithan stands for ‘Never Underestimate This Talented Youth’ or ‘Nice Ugandan Talking in Talent besides You’. Sounds too forged right? Well, there are different ways of being creative and that was Neithan Wamawungo Mukhwana’s way.
The singing trio seem to be living up to their stage name, a short for ‘Born 2 Conquer’. Their names are Peterson Ssali aka Bobby Lash, Julius Kassaga aka Delivad Julio and Richard Mugisha alais Mr Lee.
Coopy Bly’s name is Patois which translates to ‘Miraculous chance/favour’. According to the Gospel artiste, the name describes his life testimony; everything he has achieved is by the grace of God. His real name is Emmanuel Edwin Kusaasira.
Beenie is a Jamaican word that means Little or young while Gunter comes from Edmond Gunter, the German who invented a computer. It was because of his creativity that Crescent Baguma got his name.
Frank Mukiiza’s stage name was coined from childhood and he has jackfruit to thank for that. From his narration, the self-proclaimed Uganda’s smallest rapper used to pronounce fene (jackfruit) as Fefe, which had his family and friends nicknaming him that. Busi is just short business for him.
Fik is short for Shafik while Fameica was given to him by his headmistress at Kawempe Hill College. She gave him the name because apparently he was so fragile like China furniture. He was born Shafik Walukagga.
Born Sulaiman Ssebunya, Daxx is an abbreviation of Dream And Xperience Xplained while Kartel was a nickname he got for associating with everyone.
Tip is like a hint about something and Swizzy was inspired by a Seventh Day Adventist pastor who used it a lot in reference to today. And there was Nicholas Mukalazi aka Tip Swizzy.
Born Muhammad Ssali, Topic Kasente was always talkative at Kawempe Muslim School and would discuss various topics for his colleagues. The school then decided to name him ‘Topic’. The Kasente bit, he says he grew up seeing his mother hustling and always saying money is scarce so he adopted the ‘Kasente’ acronym to remind himself of that struggle.
Moses Ssali started out his career as Bebe Banton (We bet many of you did not know that). The Bebe Cool name came later after a performance at Nabisunsa Girls School when one of the students said: ‘That babe is Cool’. He picked it up and coined the ‘Babe’ to ‘Bebe’ hence the birth of Bebe Cool.
She is definitely not the Ugandan Amber Rose but Nina Kangunda was inspired by the American socialite and it is because of this that she decided to name herself
Roz – Nina Roz.