RIDER FOR LIFE: Peter Kanyike, known to many as Peter Miles, is among the musicians who defined dancehall music in Uganda. The artist has, however, been off the scene for a while, and he seems to be making a comeback with two albums underway. Isaac Ssejjombwe caught up with him.
1. What have you been up to?
It is true I have been lost. I was investing in my business as well as family, but I have also been in studio compiling both an international and local album. The international album is being done under a German record label to which I was signed in 2007, and on it, I have collaborations with Wayne Wonder, Honorable, Daville, among others. I have, however, not decided on the title of the album but some tracks are already done. The Ugandan album is also done but I am working on the videos.
2. Why a comeback now after all this time?
Music is something I do for the love of it and you do not retire from something you love. Even when I was starting out, it was not something I was doing for money, so when it started coming in, it was a bonus.
3. You are regarded as one of the biggest dancehall musicians in Uganda. What do you think of dancehall music today?
It is doing good because we see a lot of young talent coming out and they sound good but you know when we were laying the foundation, we would do lyrics with educative content and the same goes for my counterparts in different genres. We sent out a lot of positive messages but I see that lacking today because everyone seems to be doing commercial music, getting one hook and rhythm so that people dance to it. That means we are cutting out a certain bracket. It is only the mid-age people that are being targeted. The old people cannot relate to the storyboard.
4. What advice would you give to artists out there?
Music is educative, music is food for the soul, and it is something that brings back life. For example, the reason reggae and dancehall music crossed over from Jamaica was that the songs had content and a message. So if you cannot put it out there commercially, which involves record labels, it has to have some little bit of content so that people relate to it even if they do not like the rhythm. I always write and take my time to give the best of my ability.
5. We have heard that you are into boat business now. What other things are you into?
I have a company called ‘Miles Marines Uganda Ltd’, where I basically sell, refurbish, buy and charter boats, and I also did some humanitarian work with the UN where we evacuated about 2,000 Congolese refugees on Lake Albert. So far, business is good and it is something new and unique and because I grew up in Entebbe, I am very connected with the water and I love it. I chose to exploit the opportunity because we do not have decent water transport vessels on Lake Victoria, so I am concentrating on luxury boating where you have leather, carpets, music and lighting. It is costly but I do it for love.
What happened to Menshan?
He is around in Entebbe and actually part of the new Ugandan album.