Jubilation: Singer Eddy Kenzo made history as the first Ugandan and East African to ever win a BET award. Having shot to fame with his simple collaboration with Mikie Wine, Yanimba, Eddy Kenzo is now a big name in Africa. He will be celebrating 10 years in music today and Lawrence Ogwal caught up with him for a chat.
1.You have never had a show at Kampala Serena Hotel. Was this your 10-year plan?
I have always wanted to do a VIP show and the right time seems to be now when I am celebrating 10 years in the game. I came from the ghetto and people who go for shows at Serena and other big places are those who have been in the ghetto and have made it. I join them now.
But it does not mean I will now be doing only VIP shows. My fans are divided and they have both been with me for the last 10 years, so I will make sure I balance by doing both VIP and ordinary shows.
2. 10 years is a long time, to whom do you attribute your success?
Indeed 10 years in not a joke and I can never take that for granted. I give credit to the almighty Allah and the fans who have always paid their money to come and watch me perform, given me hope and courage and enabled me do more music and more shows. I cannot thank them enough.
To me, 10 years is like a Jubilee. I have achieved a lot in just 10 years and I do not think there is any Ugandan artiste who has received all that I have received in 10 years. I have a big number of fans and God would not be happy with me if I did not celebrate. I am expected to put up a very good show and I pray to God to guide me because people bought tables and tickets in advance. I have awards from almost all West African artistes.
3. Talking of West Africa, how have you managed to win hearts there?
When I went to UK in 2011, I saw Wizkid on a UK billboard and this challenged me because he is an African like me. I sat down and said to myself that if Wizkid could make it, I would try to make it to. At that same time, Fuze ODG released Azonto, a song that was so big in the UK when I was there for four months.
The fact that Fuze was an African in UK but managed to stay African and hit that side, I decided to also see how I could stay original. The style of music in Uganda is not our own; it is ragga, RnB and Zouk, which is already international. So I decided to borrow Ugandans style, West African percussions and then language and melody from Uganda to come up with the style that I used to do Sitya Loss.
People say I have forgotten Uganda, but my music plays in Uganda and I sing with Ugandans but the media will not talk about that because I am mostly booked internationally. Although I am rare, my heart is home.
4. You have had several successful concerts in the past, why do you think an artiste with good music would register a flop?
Music business is no longer authentic, people are paid to talk about something and a lot of music will therefore be in circulation but in actual sense it is not good music. The other reason is that someone has to get people to push the concert but if you do not, no one will come for the show because they did not know about that. Fik Fameica’s show was good but the fans were not given a reason to come for the show perhaps because of poor marketing.
My advice to Fik Fameica would be that he calms down and gets back on his feet. Every successful person has had a worst moment in life. He should learn from the flop and know whether the problem is with the fans, the media or his music. He should do research and see how to attack the industry again.
5. You get several international bookings. How come this is not the case with other Ugandan artistes?
Ugandan artistes do not want to risk. If you want to reach where you have never been, then do what you have never done. Ugandans fear to make mistakes and fear criticism. I am always criticised but it does not stop me from winning, I have songs that Ugandans do not like but they have more than 10 million hits. I cannot stop performing these songs in other countries that love it just because it is not a good song in Uganda.