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Celebrity Profiles

The return of Gospel’s lost boy Seku Martin



COMEBACK: Remember Seku Martin? That guy who always scared revellers when he stepped on stage because his energy was too much? Well, after going AWOL for years, he says he is back and still has the vibe.

Where has Seku Martin been?

I have been doing ministry work. I have spent the last six months in different churches with my band as part of reinventing my music because people no longer listen to radio.

When did this ministry start?
The ministry started three years ago but I have been singing for the last 20 years. I do not just sing but I minister through music. I preach, talk about evangelism, pray to people and talk to them about what was written in the Holy book.

Before the last six months, what were you doing?
I was in studio recording and shooting videos for my songs Shine Shine and Nasuuze Mukidongo. I was also travelling out of the country and back. I was basically on a journey to rediscovering myself. But I have also performed once at the KCCA carnival.

You had made a name in Gospel music before your disappearance, no one saw that coming
I was off the scene then. I had started doing English songs targeting the international market and that is where all my focus was, but I realised that I needed a base back home. The challenge was that music keeps changing over time.

Does that mean you regret having made that decision?
I do not regret because it helped me get a fanbase abroad. Travelling also helped me learn new things and networks.

So should we authoritatively say Seku Martin is back?
I have nearly 100 tracks with nine albums and I can comfortably sing with my band like an international artiste. Matter of fact, I am organising a concert on September 8 at Kampala Serena Hotel and I want people to witness the difference. My music has matured. [We are guessing that is a yes].

From a commercial perspective, has gospel music been paying you well?
I have been doing music for ministry and I have been benefiting through selling books, magazines and albums. People bought my albums at Shs40,000. The beauty about gospel music is that it connects you to many people, who also connect you to others.

Have you ever been at a point where you wanted to switch to secular music?
With us, when you get saved, your whole body is purified and that means you start seeing things differently. I do everything because of conviction. So I am tied to that.

You have not been nominated in any awards for long. What do you think of Ugandan gospel music?
There is a level you reach and some things do not matter anymore. I cannot be under pressure because I am not nominated. My goal in the music industry is to minister the word of God.
I am the vice president of the federation of Gospel artistes and I was one of the organisers of the VIGA awards. I was last nominated in awards in the 2003 PAM Awards. I saw how disappointed people would get and I refused awards to define my life.

Lately, the industry is driven by music videos. Is it in your plan to also start shooting expensive videos?
I have two videos so far and I plan on releasing five more. But my main aim is for people to receive the word of God.

What challenges have you faced in the last 20 years you were away?
Family; the person you decide to spend the rest of your life with should know what your dream is, lest you are bound to conflict. As men, we are often driven by the person we stay with. Also, I have to stay relevant to my audience by adopting to new styles. Then there is pressure from the fans and sometimes you find yourself releasing inadequate songs.

What is your view on the 77 DOGS?
Pr Robert Kayanja has a heart that gives and what he does is welcome these people but it is the process that splits people one by one. He does what he is supposed to do but what the receiver decides from there, only God knows.

What do you think is Qute Kaye’s problem?
When you say you have gotten saved, do it with the whole of your heart. However, I would say that these people who say have gotten saved are not supposed to be given a platform. They need to go through mentorship first because getting saved is a process. Besides that, everyone comes with their own mindset, these musicians have so many problems and they need a lot of time to be rehabilitated before joining 77 DOGS.

When did you get saved?
In 1996 when I was 16 years old. It happened during a crusade at Disciples of Christ Church in Namungona, after I watched movies of how Jesus was persecuted.

Is Seku Martin married?
I have two children but I am not with their mother. But I am seeing someone and we shall soon make things official.

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