LYRICAL SMITH: Blackskin is one of the biggest songwriters and he has been around for a while. He has written songs for artistes including Bebe Cool, Chameleone, Sheebah, Gravity Omutujju, Leila Kayondo, Vinka, Spice Diana and Irene Ntale. Isaac Ssejjombwe caught up with him.
1.What is the story behind the Blackskin name and how did you get here?
I am proud to be Black; it is an embedded software, it is a fact and my skin is Black so I combined both of these to come up with the name Black Skin. My birth name, however, is Fredrick Ssenyonga.
I started doing music at a young age. My father used to write plays and music for Buddu Cultural Players. I also worked as an emcee at some point. My first song, Am Sorry Dear, was actually a demo but turned into a hit.
Following its success, I made survival trips to Nairobi, hopping from music camps Twinkle Star with Coco Finger to Swangz Avenue. One day I met Jeff Kiwa through Diamond Oscar and he commended my work. He then asked if I could write a song for him and that was how Tukikolemu by the late AK47 was born. That song laid my songwriting career.
2. We have seen posts of you complaining that artistes do not credit you in their songs.
Crediting a person in the field of art is a moral obligation and Ugandans should start embracing. Look at a movie where even an extra who just took tea in a restaurant is credited at the end. It is not a sign of weakness for someone to write for an artiste. If you do not want to credit me, then let’s use discretion, you pay me a comfortable fee and I will not say a thing.
3.You just do not write but sing as well. Why not concentrate on one?
Why should I limit my options? Many public figures have more than one profession reading off their profiles; Michael Jackson, Mozey Radio, George Michael. I am well equipped in both and I can handle.
4.Is your latest song Munsasule featuring A Pass directed at someone?
No, it is not but was partly inspired by the pain I go through when someone badly wants lyrics and after receiving them, they disappear even without crediting me.
It is a song I want my fans to relate to.
5.What are some of the songs you have written?
I have written for so many artistes. Songs like Tukikolemu and Baluwa from the late Ak47, Sitani Tonkema by Rodney Y & Sheebah, Tunywe, Akusse, Ndi Wanjawulo and Muwe by Sheebah, Embuzzi Zakutudde and Ampalana by Gravity Omutujju, Twelageko by Irene Ntale, Spice Diana’s 32, Ex and Bagikona, Tokyayitaba by Weasel, Twegalile by Navio, Bebe Cool’s Katono and Up and Whine, and Tatizo by Chameleone, among others.
Why did you leave Swangz?
I realised I was not a priority there. I was in queue and naturally I could not contain it anymore, so I had an honest discussion with the directors and quit the label.
Most expensive song written?
Katono by Bebe Cool. He surprised me with Shs5m.